SHARED GOVERNANCE, ALLIANCES COALITION AND PARTNERSHIP--PRESS STATEMENT Friday 30 July 2010




SUMMARY:
• The PNCR extends Emancipation Greeting to all Guyanese and hopes that the occasion would be used for serious reflection, analysis of our present conditions and a resolution to act as our forbears did to remove the shackles of modern slavery and oppression;
• The future of Guyana and the prosperity of its citizens are too important to be sacrifised at the alter of partisan politics. Consequently, the PNCR remains committed to vigorously pursue its commitment to alliances, coalition and partnerships;
• The continued display of arrogance and unpresidential behaviour, including purile, unprovoked and irresponsible attacks on our citizens, must be condemned by all Guyanese;
• The PNCR invites all Guyanese to participate fully in the programme to commemorate the Life and Legacy of LFS Burnham, whose 25th Death Anniversary will be observed on 6 August 2010;
• PNCR’S Vice-Chairman, Mr. Basil Williams accompanied by CEC member, Ms Florence Bourne, met with the Friends of the PNCR Washington DC and updated members on the manifold issues being deal with by the Party’s Central Executive Committee.

PNCR MESSAGE ON 172ND ANNIVERSARY OF EMANCIPATION

The 172nd Anniversary of the Emancipation of Slaves, in the English Speaking Caribbean and Guyana, finds this country in the throes of its worst post Independence governance crisis.

The present rulers, quite reminiscent of the slave owners of that distant era, have resorted to the tactic of divide and rule and bribery to gain political advantage, in the run up to National and Regional Elections which are due in 2011. One Government Minister would be glad if a health crisis should break out in Georgetown, our capital City, so as to achieve the political objective of his party, which is to oust the present Mayor and Council of the City of Georgetown. Meanwhile, the City Council is being starved of revenue, to which it is legally entitled, from the Central Government and, at the same time, being refused permission to undertake legitimate revenue raising measures.

At the National level: there is widespread racial and political discrimination; human rights violations; a pervading sense of insecurity and helplessness, due to unemployment and the high cost of living; the burgeoning drug culture; and the descent into lawlessness and immorality.

It is, therefore, fitting that, as we commemorate this 172nd Anniversary of Emancipation from Slavery, the descendants of African Slaves should be joined by the thrust of Guyana in the noble task of rescuing this dear land from further descent into the status of a “failed state.”

Looking back in history, we note that the descendants of the enslaved Africans forged a social order and a community structure which demonstrated the resilience of the human spirit and their aspirations to live as a free and dignified people.

Perhaps the greatest manifestation of that resilience was the village movement which emerged after emancipation, as the freed African people combined themselves into cooperatives to purchase the estates of their former masters and laid the foundations for rural and agricultural development in Guyana. This spirit of overcoming adverse circumstances and disadvantageous conditions, is embedded in the spirit and consciousness of all Guyanese, of all ethnic origins, and remains a defining characteristic of our people.

The descendants of Slaves were pioneers in many aspects of life in Guyana: in the rise and expansion of basic education; in the rise of a Creole peasantry; in the growth and expansion of Trade Unionism; in the establishment and growth of social and cultural norms. In particular, the PNCR wishes to stress the importance that the African ancestors accorded to education and the powerful force that this discipline has exerted, not only for the development of the country but also for building national cohesion and racial amity.

It is fitting, therefore, that, at this time, the descendants of the African Slaves should be join by the rest of Guyana, as we commemorate the occasion and that we, as Guyanese people, recount the many contributions of the African people for Guyana’s Political, Economic and Social Development. The celebration of the ancestral foods, music, art, clothing and folklore, which our African ancestors have pioneered, are also an important aspect of generating a society, confident in its diversity.

The PNCR, therefore, wishes every Guyanese, of all races or creeds, an enjoyable and Happy Emancipation Day. As we do so, we ask all Guyanese to remember that our history is a vital engine for development and, therefore, the exploits and achievements of our Amerindian ancestors, as well as our African, Indian, Portuguese and Chinese descendants, must be remembered if we are to go forward with a confident stride into the future.

SHARED GOVERNANCE, ALLIANCES COALITION AND PARTNERSHIP

THE commitment of the PNCR to Shared Governance, Alliances, Coalition and Partnerships, was fully explained in its Kaieteur News Weekly Columns, of 2nd July and 9th July 2010. This commitment remains unchanged despite the recent announcement by the National Executive Committee of the Alliance For Change (AFC).

The PNCR believes that it is the right of every party to determine its actions and programmes and, while we believe that the recently announced decision of the National Executive Committee of the AFC is short sighted, we will make no further comment on it. Further comments may not be in the interest of promoting the climate for the partnerships, which so many Guyanese have positively supported over the past months. There is still room for the AFC to identify with the desires of the people of Guyana and it is now left for the membership of that Party to determine its future role and actions.

The Future of Guyana and the wellbeing of its citizens are too important to be sacrificed at the altar of partisan politics. Any objective evaluation of the political situation in Guyana, since universal adult suffrage was won in 1953, will reveal that social and economic development became victims to political and racial polarisation. If Guyana is to progress and the welfare of its citizens is given paramountsy, a paradigm shift is essential.

In 2002, the PNCR declared that it stood ready and committed to a platform of Shared Governance and Inclusivity; that it was willing to share Executive Authority and to explore and negotiate imaginative forms of governance and reform of our national, regional and local government systems to ensure that the goal of full inclusivity is realized.

The Party posited that the compelling recommendations, in Chapter 3, “Governance”, of the National Development Strategy, were a useful starting point. Those recommendations were based on the premise that, a prerequisite for success is a change in the system of Governance. It is in this context that, in 2004, the PNCR reiterated 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.

Any alliance, coalition or partnership 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 all the people of Guyana. It cannot be based merely on a desire for political power and to replace the current repressive regime. The discussion cannot be merely 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 sordid performance of the PPP, and the state of Guyana, has primarily motivated the positive responses, by a wide cross section of our society, to calls for partnership, alliances, coalition and shared governance. 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 reprehensible behaviour of the President has compounded the problem and has, by itself, made the case for a review of Presidential powers and scope of Presidential authority.

The uniting of our many peoples is a pre-condition for achieving peace and national cohesion.

The PNCR has already stated that, any partnership or alliance cannot be premised on the selfish promotion of any individual party or group with a desire for expansion at the expense of others. That approach falls into the model that has been followed since 1953. Any alliance or partnership must, therefore, include a plan for political action which defines the principles and outlines the programmes that must 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. Any attempt to dismiss 40% of the electorate, despite personal feelings and ambitions, is to avoid the political reality in Guyana.

Today Guyanese are concerned about: the manner in which contracts are awarded; the manner in which people are employed in the public and private sectors; the manner in which social services are provided; the distribution of welfare for the needy; the provision of support for the disadvantaged; the manner in which house lots are distributed; the manner in which discretionary power is exercised in emergencies, such as floods; and, the manner in which communities are identified for developmental works.

Any political partnership or alliance must guarantee changes in the use of Governmental power and ensure 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. Coalition partners must be prepared to discuss these issues frankly with each other.

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 remain prepared to meet with all stakeholders around the table, without any pre-conditions, to fashion a mutually agreeable national programme that addresses the concerns of all.

The PNCR is pleased to be associated with the initiative announced by the Joint Opposition Political Parties, (JOPP), and will continue to work for its success.

UNPRESIDENTIAL BEHAVIOUR:

The recent unprovoked and vulgar attacks by President Jagdeo on outstanding businessman, Mr. Robert Badal, and the Pegasus Hotel, must be condemned by all right thinking Guyanese. While Guyanese have, by now, become accustomed to this un-Presidential conduct, we cannot remain silent, in the face of the obvious abuse of power, to the detriment of Guyanese citizens.

The silence of the private sector organisations, on such an important issue, is also alarming, but is reflective of the environment of fear that the Jagdeo Administration has spawned in recent times. The deliberate effort to punish voices of dissent by the misuse of state agencies, such as the Guyana Revenue Authority, the Guyana Police Force and the Tender Board Administration, has resulted in many voices, that should be concerned over these developments, being silent. History has shown, however, that, unless there is a resolve, by all affected citizens, to confront dictatorial behaviour, Regimes become more repressive rather than responsive.

Mr. Robert Badal should be applauded for standing up and being counted rather than cower due to fear of the repressive dictatorship.

It is evident that Mr. Badal has been a target of the PPP and, more particularly, President Jagdeo, for some time. This is evident from the information flowing from President Jagdeo’s lips as he berated this businessman on many issues which could only be known by the use of Presidential power and privilege. Such misuse of power is atrocious. More significantly, however, is the fact that a Government which boasts of promoting the private sector, or at least working in partnership with it, could deliberately set out to undermine its success.

The debacle surrounding the sale and purchase of the Guyana Pegasus is not unknown. Statements emanation from the Office of the President, at the time, clearly revealed that the PPP Government had a special interest in the deal and was seeking to undermine the negotiations at the time. They obviously failed in their quest and, for that reason, the nation is now witnessing the vendetta for which this Administration has achieved great notoriety.

The Government of Guyana has been a shareholder in the Pegasus since its establishment. The question which Jagdeo should be answering is: why, as a shareholder in that Hotel over the years, the Government had not sought to maintain it at the standard which Jagdeo now claims it ought to be kept? Why did the Government not allocate similar resources to upgrade a Hotel in which it was a shareholder, as it did to have Buddy’s Hotel completed in time for the last cricket World Cup? Is the Government still a shareholder? If it is, one wonders where the interest of President Jagdeo really lies.

President Jagdeo must not be allowed to get away with such unacceptable behaviour, because of his immunity under the 1980 Constitution. He did the same to Businessman Mr. Correia when he dared to suggest that some of the taxes collected on the special airline ticket travel taxes should be utilised for the improvement of the Ogle airport. Mr. Yesu Persaud became the victim of similar attacks when he dared to set the record straight with respect to Guyana’s economic performance. The fate of journalists, such as Freddie Kissoon, and newspaper Companies, such as Stabroek News and Kaieteur News, have been publicised. The suspension for two months of CN Sharma’s Channel 6 TV Licence will long be remembered.

As the nation prepares to celebrate another anniversary of Emancipation it is time that there be resolve to free this Nation from the barbarity and un-Presidential behaviour that has now, unfortunately, become a norm in public life. The PNCR condemns this recent barbarity of President Jagdeo against Mr. Robert Badal and the private sector, even as we urge their organisations to stand up and be counted in representing their legitimate interests.

THE LEGACY OF L.F.S. BURNHAM:

25TH DEATH ANNIVERSARY OF LINDEN FORBES SAMPSON BURNHAM, FOUNDER LEADER OF THE PEOPLE’S NATIONAL CONGRESS AND FIRST EXECUTIVE PRESIDENT OF THE CO-OPERATIVE REPUBLIC OF GUYANA

ACTIVITIES PROGRAMME FOR AUGUST 2010

1-2 August 2010: ACDA Emancipation Festival, National Park, Georgetown
Exhibition of books, photographs, biographical materials and memorabilia, depicting the Life and Legacy of LFSB

6 August 2010: 07:00 hrs: Mausoleum: Seven Ponds, Place of Heroes, Botanical Gardens, Georgetown: Laying of Floral Tributes

16:30 hrs: Headquarters, National Congress of Women, 44 Public Road and Stanley Place, Kitty, Georgetown: Formal launching ceremony for Month of activities for 25th Death Anniversary of LFSB.

7 August 2010: Mackenzie, Linden, Region #10: North American Regional Mid-term Retreat

8 August 2010: Regions # 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 10: Religious Services with Tributes

12 August 2010: Cocktail Reception

13 August 2010: 17:00 hrs Queens College Auditorium, Georgetown:
Symposium by Burnham Foundation:
Presentation by Brigadier (Rtd.) David Granger

14-15 August 2010: Mackenzie Sports Club Ground, Region #10
Cavalcade of Sports
Note: There will be Regional play-offs to identify the Regional Teams.

27 August 2010: 18:00hrs: Square of the Revolution, Georgetown
Open Air Variety Concert in Celebration of the Life and Legacy of LFSB

29 August 2010: 19:00 hrs: National Cultural Centre, Georgetown
Gala Concert, Celebrating the musical moods of LFSB
Admission: $1,000

Intra Region #4 Debating Competition focusing on the Legacy of LFSB
16 Teams of 3 Debaters each to compete.

Other activities organized by the Regions include:
 Self-help exercises;
 Senior citizens appreciation functions;
 Days of sports;
 Exhibitions; Symposia; and
 Exchange visits for social interaction between Regions.

NATION WATCH on HBTV Chanel 9: 12:00 -13:00 hrs: Panel presentation on selected themes depicting the Life and Legacy of LFSB, on each of the following Sundays:

 1 August 2010: Keeping Alive the Inherited Legacy
 8 August 2010: Education and Culture
 15 August 2010: Foreign Policy
 22 August 2010: National Unity: A Prerequisite for National Development
 29 August 2010: Providing for the People: Feed, Clothe and House the Nation

The PNCR invites all Guyanese to participate in the events planned for the commemoration.

VICE CHAIRMAN’S VISIT TO WASHINGTON DC, NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY PNCR GROUPS

PNCR’s Vice Chairman, Mr. Basil Williams, recently returned from a visit to the USA where he used the opportunity to visit groups in Washington DC and New York to brief them on matters relating to the Party activities and particularly recent efforts to form a broad partnership.

On the 17th July 2010, the PNCR’S Vice-Chairman, Mr. Basil Williams accompanied by CEC member, Ms Florence Bourne, met with the Friends of the PNCR Washington DC and updated members on the manifold issues being deal with by the party’s Central Executive Committee.

These issues included the state of the Party; Its preparations for the2011 General and Regional Elections; a Presidential Candidate for the Party, and the Party’s commitment to entering into alliances/ coalitions with political parties, Civil Society, Trade Unions and other NGO’S.

It was also emphasised that the pursuit of alliances/coalitions by the PNCR was nothing new as this position was adumbrated by the Leader Mr. Corbin way back in 2003 in his Congress address.

The members were also briefed about the 25th Death Anniversary Observances for the Founder-Leader of the PNCR, the late L.F.S. Burnham during the month of August 2010.

The ensuing question and answer session saw a healthy exchange between the members and visitors on the many probing and searching questions raised by the former.

These questions included:

- The Party’s readiness for the 2011 General and Regional Elections.

- The naming of a Presidential Candidate.

On the 22nd July, 2010 the PNCR’s Vice Chairman, Mr. Basil Williams along with C.E.C. Member, Ms. Florence Bourne also visited with PNCR New York No. 1 Group; PNCR Brooklyn Chapter and the New Jersey PNCR Group.

The meeting took place at the Cathryn Maculay High School in Brooklyn, New York, under the Chairpersonship of Ms. Joan Joseph.

These party members were also anxious to get answers to questions; they had uppermost in their minds about the state of the party.

The format was the same as in the Washington, D.C. PNCR Chapter meeting.

Members sought responses to the following questions:

• A party member’s right to criticise the Party without fear of recrimination.
• What the Party was doing about mending fences with Alexander, McAllister, Murray and Van West-Charles and bringing them on board.
• Who was the Party’s Presidential Candidate?
• Whether PNCR could win an election without a coalition.
• Concerns about the trustworthiness of the A.F.C.
• Party’s actions if any to empower its members to run barbershops, beauty salons and other small businesses
• Electoral matters including registration of supporters, I.D. Cards and Polling Clerks.
• Concerns that the Party does not have enough foot soldiers on the ground on Election Day.
• No representation on E-Day in Enmore and Enterprise in the 2001 Elections.
• Lack of leadership visits to Regions 1, 8 and 9.

The Party’s Vice-Chairman also responded to these issues with support from Ms. Florence Bourne; in particular, the characteristics of a coalition viz-a-viz Shared Governance.

The NY/NJ members were also updated on the Founder Leader’s Death Anniversary observances for the month of August, 2010.

The visitors were again confronted by deep, searching questions from the Party members, some of whom expressed their concerns about bringing back those comrades who had undermined the Party’s electoral chances in the last general elections.

The Vice-Chairman assured members of the existence of democracy within the Party’s forum but decried public excursions of Party’s business, which could hurt the party.

This meeting also ended on a positive note and Ms. Joan Joseph thanked the visitors for their efforts to be present to bring information on the state of the Party.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Friday 30 July 2010