THE JAMAICAN EXPERIENCE HAS RELEVANCE FOR GUYANA--PRESS STATEMENT Friday 28 May 2010




SUMMARY:
• The PNCR condemns and expresses its disgust and abhorrence at the bizarre and inhumane attack on Freddie Kissoon, University Lecturer, political activist and Kaieteur News Columnist;
• Recent events in Jamaica, over the attempts to extradite alleged drug lord, Christopher Coke, a.k.a. “DUDUS”, have great significance for Guyana, particularly for those who a few years ago felt comfortable with the PPP/C Administration being in bed with convicted drug lord, Roger Khan;
• CONTINUED SILENCE ON CLICO GUARANTEE: President Jagdeo Should Strive To Be Champion Of The People;
• Efforts to complete the long delayed reform of the Local Government System are likely to be revived following a meeting between President Jagdeo and Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Robert Corbin on Tuesday 25 May 2010;
• On Sunday 23 May 2010 last, the PNCR Regional Committee of Region Four, Demerara / Mahaica, successfully held their Annual Regional Conference at the Congress Place Auditorium, Sophia;
• The Chairman of the People’s National Congress Reform, Mr. Bishwaiswar “Cammie” Ramsaroop, CCH, will be continuing his outreach activities across the country when he leads a high-powered PNCR team to East Berbice over the coming weekend.

PNCR CONDEMNS ATTACK ON FREDDIE KISSOON

The PNCR expresses its disgust and abhorrence at the bizarre and inhumane attack on Mr. Freddie Kissoon, University Lecturer, political activist and Kaieteur News Columnist on the night of Monday 24 May 2010. This vulgar act of total lunacy should be condemned by all right- thinking Guyanese. The material, which was thrown in his face, is reflective of the fact that Guyana has descended into the pit; in essence, it is the lowest form of indignity and another example of the extent to which the present Administration would go to stifle the constitutional right of Guyanese to freedom of expression.

It is no secret that Mr. Kissoon has earned the ire of the PPP/C, and, more especially President Jagdeo, for his daily exposure of the atrocities committed by the regime on the people of Guyana. Their propaganda responses have not silenced the voice of Mr. Kissoon or frightened him to stop using his pen. Consequently, the attack on him clearly suggests that measures that are more desperate have been applied. If there was any doubt, the immediate propaganda spin of the state media, NCN, has confirmed that there was a sinister plan, not only to attack Mr. Kissoon physically, but also to damage his character, a recent trend as evidenced in the trumped up allegations against Mr. Peter Ramsaroop.

Within minutes of the attack, NCN was not only able to report the incident, but also had an informant who knew the motives for it. By the next day, NCN was allegedly able to find another person to corroborate their story that Mr. Kissoon’s sexual advances to a student motivated the attack. With such vast investigative capacity, Guyanese must question why the Network was unable to find any informant on the assassination of the late PPP/C Minister, Mr. Sash Sawh, or political activist and journalist, Mr. Ronald Waddell. More surprising is their failure, over the years of the “phantom death squad” murderous reign, to provide a single report from their mysterious investigative competence. Yet, within hours of the allegations against another political activist, Mr. Peter Ramsaroop, the NCN and Guyana Chronicle were able to publish sordid libelous material that was clearly intended at character assassination, as in the case of Mr. Kissoon, rather than to assist the police in finding the perpetrator.

Guyanese are not fooled and will hold the Jagdeo regime accountable for all these atrocities committed on the people of Guyana. The Guyanese proverb, “every long rope has an end”, will soon have a real meaning which the PPP/C will immediately learn upon their demise.

THE JAMAICAN EXPERIENCE HAS RELEVANCE FOR GUYANA

Recent events in Jamaica, over the attempts to extradite alleged drug lord, Christopher Coke, a.k.a. “DUDUS”, have great significance for Guyana, particularly for those who until now feel comfortable with the PPP/C Administration being in bed with convicted drug lord, Roger Khan.

Jamaica is currently experiencing a wave of violence following moves by the Jamaican Government to extradite to the United States of America, Christopher “Dudus” Coke, also called President. Significantly, the association of this Drug Lord with the ruling Party, to the extent that the Prime Minister was eventually forced to admit authorizing the hiring of a legal firm to lobby against his extradition, demonstrates how dangerous it is for any Government to associate with the drug underworld. The procrastination of the Government, because of its involvement, has led to significant loss of lives of innocent Jamaicans, damage to its infrastructure and more serious damage to its reputation as a CARICOM country.

The situation in Guyana is not very different from that of Jamaica, having regard to the “Phantom Squad” and the Government’s involvement with convicted drug lord, Roger Khan. Khan, in a paid advertisement published in a Guyana newspaper, confessed to being head of the “phantom gang” and claimed he was working in close association with the Jagdeo Administration. To date, this has never been denied. Instead, the then notorious Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Ronald Gajraj, who was fingered as the link between the Government and the “Phantom Squad”, stood defiantly in the National Assembly of the Parliament and proclaimed that he did what he had to do and would do it all over again.

Today, the PPP/C Administration continues to defy all calls for an investigation. Their recent rebuff of the United Nations Human Rights Council, (UNHRC) call for an independent investigation into the “phantom squad”, with involvement of international advisers, should put the United Nations on notice that they are dealing with a rogue regime. No amount of distraction with environmental issues or with so called prestigious awards will purge Guyana from the stains of the murder of over two hundred citizens. Unless and until that International Inquiry is held, the Jagdeo regime will remain indicted. Guyanese must not give up the struggle, therefore, even if it takes as long as it took to bring former Liberian President, Charles Taylor, to justice before the Court of The Hague or former President Pinochet to account to the people of Chile.

CONTINUED SILENCE ON CLICO GUARANTEE: PRESIDENT JAGDEO SHOULD STRIVE TO BE CHAMPION OF THE PEOPLE

The PPP/C Administration continues to remain silent on how it will honour its guarantee to ensure that no policyholder or depositor of CLICO (Guyana) suffers any loss. The Government moved to the Guyana High Court to have a Judicial Manager appointed and subsequently to have the Company liquidated. Millions of policyholders’ funds are being spent daily to pay the Judicial Manager and the few staff retained by her. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the Judicial Manager receives over one million dollars per month and that the other staff is incurring a monthly cost of another million. This means that more than twenty four million dollars of policyholders’ funds have been spent since the Court appointed a Judicial Manager, while policyholders and depositors have not seen a cent of their hard-earned money. Surely, this situation cannot be allowed to continue. The Government has an obligation to honour its commitment and not hide behind the excuse of on-going Court proceedings.

It is the PPP/C Administration that resisted every call to have an investigation and they have refused to hold an inquiry into possible acts of malfeasance, despite the numerous rumors about the misuse of money from that Company just prior to its financial difficulty. For example, there were reports that large sums of money from CLICO (Guyana) and CLICO (Suriname) were paid to a certain Director of CLICO in her own name and that these funds were mysteriously not deposited in any account of CLICO in the Bahamas. In fact the allegations suggest that those funds were banked in Miami and Trinidad and Tobago, and that the Officer, who was subsequently fired by the Trinidad Government after they took over operations, purchased substantial real estate in Barbados. Meanwhile, the PPP/C Administration appears either impotent or unwilling to go further. Instead, they are comfortable with retaining a Judicial Manager who was involved in the previous management of the Company in circumstances where it is uncertain who were involved in any irregularities at that Company. As the dust settles, the attempted assassination of the Commissioner of Insurance, Ms. Maria van Beek, may not be so difficult to understand. Was there fear of her uncovering some of these matters and to whom the trail would have led? These and many questions remain unanswered while the Government appears to be more complicit rather than behaving as the guardian of the interest of Guyanese.

These matters apart, Guyanese are more concerned now about when and how they will receive their monies from CLICO as guaranteed by the Government. In the PNCR’s last Press Statement, (Friday 14 May 2010), attention was focused on the revelations in the report of the Liquidator of CLICO (Bahamas). He stated categorically that his preliminary view was that the premiums received by Guyana and Suriname were never paid to [CLICO Bahamas] and that the funds were remitted directly to a bank account held in the name of [CLICO Bahamas] at Ocean Bank, Miami, Florida, and to another account held by the company in Trinidad.

Any responsible Administration would have considered such a report as a smoking gun and vigorously commenced, albeit belatedly, an urgent investigation. At minimum, one would have expected to hear that the Government had dispatched a team to the Bahamas to obtain as much information as possible. The unusual inaction and silence by the PPP/C, therefore, leaves room for serious speculation. Is it that there is more in the mortar than in the pestle? Surely, the people of Guyana ought to know. The people of Guyana also have a right to know how much money has been put aside for the proposed payments.

The thousands of workers whose pension funds are in jeopardy, the thousands who invested their life savings and the thousands of policyholders and depositors whose millions are at stake also have a right to know.

The time has come for the affected persons to meet and discuss a common strategy to ensure President Jagdeo and the PPP/C Administration honour their commitment. President Jagdeo, instead of wasting taxpayers’ money celebrating Champion of the Earth would earn more accolades if he strives to be indeed a Champion, not of the Earth, but of the interests of the Policyholders and Depositors of CLICO (Guyana).

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFORM EFFORTS TO RESUME

Efforts to complete the long delayed reform of the Local Government System are likely to be revived following a meeting between President Jagdeo and Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Robert Corbin on Tuesday 25 May, last.

At that meeting, it was agreed that the efforts to complete the legislation to ensure the implementation of Local Government Reform should be resumed at the parliamentary level. The Opposition Leader emphasized that such attempts would be futile if there was no resolve on the part of the PPP/C to implement faithfully the recommendations of the ]Task Force on Local Government Reform. It is expected that the parliamentary select Committee would resume its work shortly. Attending the meeting with the President and the Leader of the Opposition were, PNCR Chairman, Mr. Bishwaishwar (Cammie) Ramsaroop, Central Executive Member and former Co-Chairman of the Local Government Task Force, Mr. Allan Munroe, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon and Presidential Adviser on Governance, Ms. Gail Teixeira.

PNCR REGIONAL COMMITTEE HOLDS SUCCESSFUL REGIONAL CONFERENCE

On Sunday 23 May 2010 last, the PNCR Regional Committee of Region Four, Demerara/Mahaica, successfully held their Annual Regional Conference at the Congress Place Auditorium, Sophia. The Conference, held in keeping with the requirements of the PNCR Constitution, was well attended by several hundred delegates and observers from the groups across the Region.

In delivering the feature address to the Conference, Party Leader, Mr. Robert Corbin, MP, reminded the participants that the major challenge facing Guyana was the removal of the dictatorial PPP/C regime. This he opined could not be achieved unless the Party remained fully united and committed to the task. He reminded the Conference that there were many with great ideas on how the objectives could be achieved, but it was necessary for careful analysis to be done of all such proposals to ensure their efficacy. He reminded the conference of the children’s fable, “belling the cat” and opined that the story had much significance in the context of the present situation in Guyana. There was no shortage of ideas on what should be done; however, the problem was identifying those who would be fully committed to ensure their implementation. He urged the conference participants to leave the Conference with the resolve of being more doers than talkers, so that the Party could fulfill its obligation to give adequate representation and leadership to the people of Guyana.

The Chairman, Mr. Ernest Elliot, MP, presented the Regional Report to the Conference. This report, along with the Leader’s Address, formed the basis for full and lively discussion during the plenary session. The elections were held under the supervision of Returning Officer, Trade Unionist and Attorney-at-Law, Mr. Randolph Kirton.
Those elected to Office were:

Chairman: Mr. Clement Corlette,
Vice Chairman: Ms. Genevieve Allen,
Secretary: Ms. Ann Greene
Treasurer: Mr. Dave Danny, M.P.
Committee Members: Ms. Joan Baveghems
Mr. Floyd Hendy
Mr. Heston Bostwick
Regional Representative to the CEC: Ms. Maureen Philadelphia

Party Chairman, Mr. Bishwaishwar (Cammie) Ramsaroop installed the newly elected officers and delivered the Charge to the Conference.

Following an inaccurate report of this conference in the media, the PNCR was obliged to set the record straight in a Press Release made on Tuesday 25 May, last. In that statement the PNCR rejected the report published in Stabroek News of Monday 24 May 2010, on the Regional Conference as very inaccurate, mischievous and very unprofessional. The Party emphasized that the Regional Conference was organized by the Regional Committee and monitored by the PNCR Central Executive Committee. All relevant procedures with respect to the Party’s Constitution were followed and the Elections conducted by an independent Returning Officer and scrutinized by all participants including, the candidates who contested the various Offices. At no time during the Conference were any objections made about the procedures adopted and there were also no objections made at the Conference about the outcome of the Elections.

The only unsavory occurrence at the conference was an unacceptable incident involving the physical assault on an elderly woman by a GYSM member, Mr. Sherwin Benjamin. The General Secretary of the Party, Mr. Oscar Clarke, who was present, promptly dealt with this matter. Witnesses to the incident were requested by the General Secretary to submit written statements about what transpired and Party investigations have already begun. The Disciplinary Committee of the Party will expeditiously deal with this matter. The matter has also been reported to the Police and criminal action is being pursued.

Whatever may be the alleged reasons for the assault, the PNCR considers this behavior as totally unacceptable and inexcusable. In addition to the immediate investigation launched into the above incident, the Party Leader, using the power vested in him under the constitution, immediately suspended Mr. Sherwin Benjamin as a member of the Party, pending the hearing and determination of the matter. Addressing the Conference before its conclusion, the Party Leader denounced the incident as shameful, unacceptable and contrary to the well-known policy of the Party of respecting and promoting the rights of all women.

The Peoples National Congress Reform reiterates its policy of being totally and inexcusably against any form of violence and abuse against women in society.

PARTY’S CHAIRMAN CONTINUES OUTREACH TO REGION SIX, EAST BERBICE

The Chairman of the People’s National Congress Reform, Mr. Bishwaiswar “Cammie” Ramsaroop, CCH, will be continuing his outreach activities across the country when he leads a high-powered PNCR team to East Berbice over the coming weekend. The programme will include visits and meetings at New Amsterdam, Port Mourant, Corriverton and Crabwood Creek, on Saturday 29 May 2010. The Party Chairman has been engaged in a series of outreach activities to several parts of the country to observe development or lack thereof in communities in Guyana, to meet and interact with members of the society and to renew his relationship with the Party’s faithful, throughout Guyana. The Party has publicized the itinerary of the Chairman in a separate Press Release.


People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Friday 28 May 2010