PNCR WELCOMES THE PUBLIC DEBATE ON ALLIANCES, COALITION AND SHARED GOVERNANCE--PRESS STATEMENT Friday 25 June 2010




SUMMARY:
• The PNCR expresses its condolences to the families and friends of Ms. Milicent Isaacs and Mr. Basil Hamlet;
• The deteriorating state of the once prosperous mining town of Linden and the blatant neglect by the present regime were obvious on Saturday 19 June 2010, when a high profile team from the People’s National Congress Reform conducted an outreach exercise in the area;
• If the Public Procurement Commission was instituted, then the independent exercise of its functions, as set out in Article 212AA of the Constitution, would have made it very difficult for the Administration to foist the Motilall flagship, Synergy Holdings Inc, on our hapless nation;
• The PNCR welcomes the current public debate and discussions on Alliance, Coalition and Shared Governance;
• The PNCR made it clear, since 2002, that we stand ready and committed to a platform of Shared Governance and Inclusivity, that we are willing to share Executive Authority and to explore and negotiate imaginative forms of governance and reform of our national, regional and local governments to ensure that the goal of full inclusivity is realized.

CONDOLENCES

The PNCR conveys its condolences to the families and friends of Ms. Millicent Isaacs of Nabacalis, ECD and Mr. Basil Hamlet of Yarrowkabra, Soesdyke/Linden Highway. They were both old Party stalwarts who have given invaluable service to the Party and their communities and whose loss will be greatly felt by the Party. The Party, once again, wishes to extend sincere condolences to the families and friends of its fallen comrades.

DETERIORATING STATE OF THE MINING TOWN OF LINDEN

The deteriorating state of the once prosperous mining town of Linden and the blatant neglect by the present regime were obvious on Saturday 19 June 2010, when a high profile team from the People’s National Congress Reform conducted an outreach exercise in the area. The team, led by Party Leader, Mr. Robert Corbin, M.P., included Members of Parliament, Mr. Basil Williams, M.P. and Vice-Chairman of the Party, Dr. George Norton, M.P. and Shadow Minister of Health, Dr. John Austin, M.P., Ms. Amna Ally, M.P., Ms. Jennifer Wade, M.P., Mr. Ernest Elliot, M.P., Ms. Clarissa Riehl, M.P., Mr. Oscar Clarke, General Secretary of the Party, Members of the Central Executive Committee, Mr. Hamilton Green, Mr. Clement Corlette, RDC Chairman for Region #4, Mr. Christopher Jones, Chairman (ag) of the Guyana Youth and Student Movement (GYSM) along with members, Ms. Maureen Philadelphia, Mr. Adel Lilly and Mr. Ryan Belgrave, among others.

That team visited several areas including Christianburg, Wismar, Amelia’s Ward, Silver City and Victory Valley. The residents lamented over the neglect that has resulted in constant floods and damage to their farms and property. However, drainage is just one of the many problems facing those Lindeners. The major concern was particularly for the hundreds of youth who leave the school system annually. Among the other problems identified by residents are, the quality of water distributed by GWI to the Community which pose serious health hazards; the need for the extension of the market wharf; the inadequate size of the area for vendors in the new Mackenzie market to sell their produce; the absence of toilet facilities at the market; the unfair distribution of services in West Watooka; discoloration of water in Silvertown; the need for street lights on Farm Road in West Watooka; inadequate drugs and staff at the new “State of the Art” hospital; police harassment of youths; questionable land distribution; exorbitant water bills; inefficiency and favoritism in the provision of public assistance by the Human Service’s Ministry; infestation of the McKenzie Primary School by crocodiles; the deplorable state of the road to the burial ground.

The residents were fed up of the many promises to make things right by the current Jagdeo Administration. The residents highlighted the recent visit of President Jagdeo and some of his Ministers. They alleged that, instead of sticking around to hear the concerns of the residents, he only made a token appearance for the cameras then disappeared in his usual manner, leaving the ministers to address the problems. His promise to return to the area in two weeks has failed to materialize and their problems remain unaddressed.

The PNCR will continue its outreach programme to the mining town but urge the Jagdeo Administration to live up to their many promises to the people of Linden.

WHY IS THE ADMINISTRATION AFRAID OF TRANSPARENCY WITH RESPECT TO SYNERGY?

For a Government which, despite the objective evidence to the contrary, is unashamed to claim that its practices are consistent with public accountability and transparency, it is, for a rapidly decreasing number of innocent and unexposed observers, a matter of wondrous concern that there is such a determined resistance of the appointment of the constitutionally mandated (Articles 212W to 212FF) Public Procurement Commission.

However, this is not difficult to understand, when we observe the antics of the President and his merry band (including the Prime Minister, the Head of the Presidential Secretariat, the Minister of Finance and the amazingly corpulent and ambidextrous business conjurer, Mr. Winston Brassington), with respect to the questionable selection of Synergy Holdings Inc. for the award of the contract for the construction of the road from the Amalia Falls Hydro Power site.

The President has mastered the art of seeking to mesmerise his audiences with numbers, representing the expected cost of electricity from the Amalia Falls Hydro Power Project, that magically change with each recitation.

We wish to remind the regime’s propaganda machine that the PNCR, in our Press Statement of 7 May 2010, stated: “The PNCR has never questioned the need for the development of the vast Hydro-power resources of Guyana, for the provision of cheap and reliable “clean energy”, for the industrialisation of Guyana, through the forward integration and processing of our rich natural resources endowment. The problem our Party has is the subterfuge of the Jagdeo Administration, along with their “friends” and cronies, operating in the “Carpet Bagger” traditions of the old American Wild West.”

For the PNCR, the issue is not whether hydro power is likely to be beneficial for the development and well-being of the Guyanese people, but whether this scheme, as conceived by the friend and crony of the Administration, is in the best interests of the people of Guyana.

Whether it is in the best interests of the people of Guyana to grant the contract to Mr. Motilall’s Synergy Holdings Inc.: “for the upgrade of approximately 85 kilometers of existing roadway, the design and construction of approximately 110 kilometers of new road, the design and construction of two new pontoon crossings (or bridges) at the Essequibo and Kuribrong Rivers, as well as the clearing of a “corridor” for the installation of a 65-kilometre transmission line.”

The Amalia Falls Hydro Power Project has exposed the corruption and nepotism with which the business of the People of Guyana is being conducted by the Jagdeo Administration.

If the Public Procurement Commission was instituted, then the independent exercise of its functions, as set out in Article 212AA of the Constitution, would have made it very difficult for the Administration to foist the Motilall flagship, Synergy Holdings Inc, on our hapless nation.

Available information shows that the following four Bids were shortlisted:

1. Synergy Holdings Inc – USD15, 400,000
2. A consortium comprising, B&J Civil Works, Ivor Allen & Dynamic Engineering Co Ltd – USD16, 650,000
3. BK International Inc – USD21, 037,500
4. Mr. Roopan Ramotar - USD26, 000,000.

The application of acceptable modern procurement rules would institute a transparent evaluation and ranking of these Bidders, using objective and publicly revealed criteria, including the Bid price. Since there is no compulsion to accept the lowest Bid price, the decision regarding which Bidder to select would have resulted from the evaluation of each of the four using the same evaluation criteria. Any reasonable person would agree that among the most important criteria for any successful bidder would have been their track record on such projects and their acknowledged competence. The PPP/C obviously have other criteria which make these pale into insignificance.

The Administration owes it to the Guyanese public, who will have to bear the burden of the costs which their decisions impose, to publish the evaluation and the resultant ranking of the Bids. For example, how did they compare with respect to relevant experience and expertise?

PNCR WELCOMES THE PUBLIC DEBATE ON ALLIANCES, COALITION AND SHARED GOVERNANCE

The PNCR welcomes the public debate and discussions on Governance that have intensified over the last two weeks, since the news of a possible alliance or coalition of opposition parties became the subject of extensive media coverage. The discussions and debates reveal that Guyanese are genuinely concerned about development and about a better quality of life and that they are aware of the reality of Guyana’s present dilemma.

After almost 18 years of the heralded slogans, “Time for a Change” and “Return to Democracy”, Guyana has retrogressed, particularly with continuing breached of the fundamental rights of citizens. After 57 years of Universal Adult Suffrage, 60 years of mass party politics and 44 years of political independence, Guyana remains politically polarized with continuing political conflict and ethnic divisions, and, with large sections of our population feeling alienated from the mainstream of economic and social activity. Additionally, the periodic/cyclical conflict, particularly during the election season, leads to no other conclusion than that, as a nation, we have a fundamental problem which if not addressed could lead to our total self destruction.

It is also evident that Guyanese will no longer accept the squandering of public funds without due regard for rules or regulations; the continued misuse, mismanagement of the nation’s resources along with the rampant and raging corruption, provided by taxpayers and by aid agencies; the trampling on workers’ rights; the repeated and reckless violation of the Law and the Constitution and the political vilification and vendettas that have become regular features of life in Guyana. Guyanese have also recognized that the major casualties of the present conditions in Guyana have been, regrettably, our youth who have become so disillusioned that many have lost all hope for a viable future in their native land and fervently wish for a future elsewhere.

These concerns are among the reasons that have motivated Guyanese particularly the young people who continue to lose hope in their country’s future, the poor, the powerless and the patriots who have refused to resign themselves to a future of despondency and despair, and, the rich, and those who with opportunity, leave and seek their fortunes in other lands; to the point where there is overwhelming support for united action for the survival of Guyanese and for genuine progress for the country.

The PNCR’s position on these matters has been well ventilated, particularly, in the 2004 Congress Address and in its position papers on Shared Governance, all of which are available for reading on the Party’s web site. Any alliance or coalition must, therefore, of necessity be welded by a common desire to take Guyana forward on an agreed platform that can guarantee justice and development for its entire people. It cannot be based merely on a desire for political power and to replace the current repressive regime. The discussion cannot merely be focused on the Presidency but on the programmes to be implemented.

Issues, such as implementing the Constitutional requirements, that would allow for the effective functioning of Parliament, respectful political interface, successful collaboration between public and private sector organizations, effective cooperation between our many different races and participation and involvement of civil society organizations in the tasks of building ONE GUYANA, are essential.

The PPP/C Administration has steadfastly refused to respond coherently to the most basic requirements for completing the Constitutional Reforms agreed since 2000. They refuse to recognize that they have chosen a path, which can only lead to further decay and destruction. The President and the Government cannot see that unless Guyana truly belongs to all Guyanese, the country can never gain international respectability. The uniting of our many peoples is a pre-condition for achieving peace and national cohesion.

It is in this context that, in 2004, the PNCR declared its commitment to build and strengthen alliances with those who, like us, also see brighter horizons and are willing to struggle for a more disciplined, orderly, productive and prosperous Guyana. A country in which all citizens, irrespective of race, religion and political persuasion can be freed from the threat of unchecked crime, can utilize public services without paying bribes, can tender for contracts knowing that awards will be made solely on merit, and can be guaranteed that their children will receive a sound education. It is a task that must, of necessity, involve all Guyanese. Not the PNCR alone or the PPP/C to the exclusion of all others. Our national poet, Martin Carter, puts it appropriately in one of his well known poems where he stated, “all are involved, all are consumed”.

Any alliance must, therefore, include a plan for political action which defines the principles and outlines the programmes that guide the leaders and people: not a mere list of promises but a solemn commitment and a set of standards and goals to which the participants will commit themselves.

The rights and aspirations of all must be respected, protected and enforced since they are the foundations of a stable society. Justice must be applied in the manner in which contracts are awarded; in the manner in which people are employed in the public and private sectors; in the manner in which social services are provided; in the distribution of welfare for the needy; in the provision of support for the disadvantaged; in the manner in which house lots are distributed; and, in the manner in which communities are identified for developmental works. There must also be guarantees for the security of our citizens. No country today can hope to prosper unless it utilizes to the fullest, the physical, intellectual and creative skills of all of its citizens, in a shared vision, to realize its maximum potential. National Cohesion has to include taking seriously on board and addressing the concerns of every ethnic or interest group and we must be prepared to discuss these issues frankly with each other.

No Preconditions
The PNCR’s recognizes that while we desire to change the system of Governance, we cannot adopt a dogmatic position that we have all the answers. We must of necessity be prepared to meet with all stakeholders around the table and fashion a mutually agreeable national programme that addresses the concerns of all, albeit we have already made public our program for development and modernization of Guyana in our Manifesto. The Central Executive Committee of the PNCR has, therefore, recently reaffirmed the decision of its 2004 Biennial Congress to develop a working understanding with any political party, any political organization, any social organization, and any nongovernmental organization; any members or groups, even from within the People’s Progressive Party, who are willing to negotiate, in good faith, the details of a platform for the transformation of the country without precondition.

Any alliance or coalition should undertake to negotiate and implement, with all the economic stakeholders in our country, a consensual Economic Policy Framework that is based on the maximum participation and support of all stakeholder groups and which addresses the overall developmental and growth prospects, in a holistic and realistic way. The Party has long expressed the conviction that the National Development Strategy document provides an excellent model.

An Alliance or coalition must also set out, in clear and unmistakable terms; a realistic Platform which defines how we will reform the way Guyana is governed to make our political landscape more inclusive, and more responsive to the needs of all sections and groupings of Guyanese. It must result in a government that is as broad based as possible and that is flexible enough to bring on board all ideas, all realistic proposals, all patriotic elements and all who are willing to work for a better Guyana.

The PNCR made it clear, since 2002, that we stand ready and committed to a platform of Shared Governance and Inclusivity, that we are willing to share Executive Authority and to explore and negotiate imaginative forms of governance and reform of our national, regional and local governments to ensure that the goal of full inclusivity is realized.

Assuming that the National Development strategy is accepted, as a starting point, we cannot escape the compelling recommendations in Chapter 3, Governance. Indeed the proposals suggest that a prerequisite for success is a change in the system of Governance.

Shared Governance
It is quite obvious that there is a compelling case for Shared Governance, though it is also recognized that it cannot be imposed but has to be mutually accepted. The PNCR, therefore, hopes that the debate and discussion would continue, eventually leading to decisions on how the important and needed constitutional and political reforms and the economic programme would be implemented, as well as the time frame for such implementation.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Friday 25 June 2010