EVIDENCE OF THE PPP MISGUIDED POLICY OF MARGINALISATION AND DISCRIMINATION ABOUND THROUGHOUT GUYANA--PRESS STATEMENT Friday 27 August 2010




SUMMARY:
• The PNCR extends congratulations to all the students of Guyana who excelled in their performance at the CSEC and CAPE examinations;
• The PNCR has always been a committed advocate for the rights and protection of our women;
• The PNCR calls on the Commissioner of Police to hold a proper and impartial investigation into the matter of the murder/suicide of Assistant Superintendant of Police, Ivelaw Murray and Police Constable, Kevin Shepherd;
• Guyanese should not be distracted by the charade over Buxton and allow themselves to be distracted from the failure of the PPP throughout Guyana.

DELIBERATE GOVERNMENT STRATEGY TO DOWNGRADE PRESIDENT’S COLLEGE ON 25th YEAR OF ITS EXISTENCE

The People’s National Congress Reform extends congratulations to all the students of Guyana who excelled in their performance at the CSEC and CAPE examinations. The PNCR has always considered education as an important foundation to nation building and encourages Guyana’s youth to always strive for excellence. More especially, the PNCR extends congratulations to the management, staff and students of President’s College on their achievements since it was opened , as a “School of Excellence”, twenty five years ago, as conceptualised by the then Executive President, Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham.

In this year, 2010, when the PNCR is commemorating the 25th Death Anniversary of its Founder Leader, Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham, the Party is proud to note the continued excellence of the performance of the students of President’s College.

President’s College, in the true Aristotelian concept and tradition of a rounded education, was conceived as a residential Secondary School of Excellence for those gifted Guyanese children who could benefit from a very demanding but comprehensive educational curriculum. Therefore, although the College was founded by the late Executive President, Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham, it was always intended that every succeeding President of Guyana would be proud to be the Patron of this Guyanese College of Excellence.

Unfortunately, the attitude of the PPP Presidents of Guyana, since 1992, to the School is indicative of the backwardness and narrow-mindedness of the leaders of that Party to the education of the children of Guyana. In Guyanese parlance, their behaviour towards President’s College “would make Burnham turn in his grave”.

When President’s College was launched, it was intended for the top performers at the then Secondary School Entrance Examination (SSEE), now the National Grade Six Assessment. Therefore, The PNCR was appalled by the Kaieteur News article, dated 3rd July 2010, under the caption “President’s College no longer among Top Five Secondary Schools”. Though the school maintained a high percentage of passes at all the external examinations, including CAPE and the GCE Advanced Levels, Education Minister, Mr. Shaik Baksh, claimed that the school was never among those which competed for places nationally, and that the institution was simply a “dorm college” which, among others, takes in hinterland scholarship students. According to that Kaieteur News article, “a senior education official indicated that President’s College was dropped three years ago”. In response to this disgraceful discriminatory attitude of the Minister of Education, His Worship, the Mayor of Georgetown, Mr. Hamilton Green, asserted that “There is no way that President’s College, Guyana’s premier educational institution, can be left out from the list of top secondary schools in the country.”

All the available evidence confirms the political vindictiveness of the PPP/C Administration, particularly since the accession of President Jagdeo. Clearly, the campaign of vilification, as part of the PPP/C programme to demonise the late President Burnham, explains the approach to President’s College. The tenure of Mr. David De Groot, as Chairman of the Board of President’s College, and the various reports of his antics, tells the story of the attitude and intentions of the Jagdeo PPP/C Administration.

In 2008, former President of the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU), Mr. Colwyn King, expressed frustration, at what he described as blatant irregularities and financial misappropriation by a section of the Board of Directors and the management of President’s College. Mr. King referred to the illegal removal of the previous President of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), Dr. Simpson Da Silva, and the subsequent halting of the $9.5Mn European Union IT project, which Mr. Da Silva had initiated, because of reports of financial and other discrepancies at the school. Discussions between the then GTU President and the Minister of Education, Mr. Shaik Baksh, about the state of President’s College had proved fruitless; the former GTU boss pointed out that “President’s College is being run like a kitchen garden”.

The neglect of the School farm, which apart from serving the educational purposes of the School, enabled the institution to be almost self sufficient in the supply of chicken, eggs, beef and pork, is yet another example of the deliberate efforts to destroy the College. In addition, the fire, which destroyed one of the institutions dormitory blocks, in 2004, caused the loss of about $100Mn in books, cash, clothing and other valuables. Regrettably, in 2007 President’s College students were forced to engage in public protest action to draw attention to the deplorable conditions at the College.

The PNCR salutes the Old Student’s Association of President’s College on their initiatives to celebrate the achievements of the School and to raise funds for its support. Their reunion was held on the weekend of the 6th, 7th and 8th August 2010 and included students from the first batch in 1985. The Party is fully supportive of their efforts for the revival of President’s College as the “School of Excellence” it was intended to be. The PNCR, therefore, calls upon the Jagdeo Administration to cease playing politics with this important educational institution and provide the necessary resources to enable it to fulfil its noble objectives.

PNCR ENDORSES INTERNATIONAL CONDEMNATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

The PNCR wishes to endorse and support the efforts of Amnesty International in their fight against the abuse of women’s rights. The Party joins the call for Governments worldwide to take immediate action to prevent, punish, and eradicate violence against women and to adopt an attitude of zero tolerance to such behaviour.

Amnesty International also demands that, where such violence occurs, measures should be taken to protect women from being subjected to such abuse, and to aid their search for justice. The Amnesty International initiative comes in the wake of the recent violent attack against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo by armed factions who often use rape and other forms of violence against women as a calculated strategy to control and undermine community values, since 1998. In the last 6 years, more than 3.8Mn people have died as a result of organised violence. Women constituted 55% of persons who died due to violence, starvation, and disease.

The PNCR calls on the Government of Guyana to adopt a policy of zero tolerance to the upsurge in violence being meted out to our women in their homes. This week alone the media reported the deaths of Latchmin Mohabir and Trishawarie Ramdharie, the most recent victims of domestic violence.

Whether sexual or domestic violence our women are dying; women who are mothers, teachers, protectors and who are responsible for the reproduction of future generations. Domestic and sexual violence has evidently become endemic in Guyana. How many more of our women must succumb before effective action is taken to curtail this violence in our society? Far too many of our children are being deprived of the right to a mother’s care, love, and protection.

According to the government, they have adequately addressed Health and Education in terms of the benchmarks set for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, but they have failed to address the other aspects such as violence against women and girls outlined therein.

The PNCR wishes to remind the government that, as a signatory to the UN Charter, we are also obligated to meet all benchmarks set for the MDG by 2015.

The PNCR has always been a committed advocate for the rights and protection of our women. Therefore, we will continue to monitor the performance of the Administration in curbing the scourge of domestic violence in Guyana.

WHY IS THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE RELUCTANT TO CONDUCT AN IMPARTIAL INVESTIGATION OF THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF TWO POLICEMEN?

The reluctance of the Government of Guyana and state agencies to conduct thorough and impartial investigations on matters that affect the welfare of citizens is a matter of great concern to most Guyanese. The most recent incident is the mysterious death of two police Officers in Corentyne, Berbice, which the Commissioner appears to have dismissed as murder/suicide. Regrettably, the evidence available suggests that there is need for a full investigation of this incident so that closure can be brought to their grieving families.

The post mortem report of Officer Ivelaw Murray, a copy of which is in the possession of the PNCR, clearly indicates that there were two bullet wounds to his head, any one of which, experts have stated, would have been fatal. The possibility of both wounds being inflicted by the deceased is, therefore, remote. Consequently, this fact alone required a full investigation before any final conclusions can be made. In any event, the conflicting accounts by the relatives of both deceased policemen require that the Guyana Police Force (GPF) provide, for the benefit of the public, all the information in their possession. This is necessary so that the many rumours which abound, including one that a senior Police Officer in Berbice was intimately involved in their execution, can be put to rest.

The PNCR calls on the Commissioner of Police to hold a proper and impartial investigation into this matter. Until then, the credibility and the image of the Guyana Police Force would remain questionable.

EVIDENCE OF THE PPP MISGUIDED POLICY OF MARGINALISATION AND DISCRIMINATION ABOUND THROUGHOUT GUYANA

The recent visit by President Jagdeo to Buxton has shifted the wider issue of the discriminatory policies of the PPP to a single community, giving the false impression that there are no other examples of their tarnished record around Guyana. A brief visit to the many villages in Guyana in Essequibo, West Demerara, East Coast Demerara, West Coast Berbice and Corentyne will reveal the discriminatory manner in which the PPP/C Administration has undertaken infrastructural and other developments in Guyana. Guyanese should, therefore, not be distracted by the charade over Buxton and allow themselves to be distracted from the failure of the PPP throughout Guyana.

The PNCR had cause to expose the recent initiative of the Jagdeo Cabinet Outreach at Linden where the Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, travelled with over five million dollars of tax payer’s money in cash to disburse to those willing to carry out the biddings of the PPP. That initiative, as the PNCR stated in a recent Press Statement, would not absolve the PPP of the dilapidated infrastructure and poor economy that is the legacy of that Party in Region Ten. The state of the roads, from Linden to Kwakwani and from Linden to Lethem, is only the most visible examples.

In Region Five, West Coast Berbice, the situation is no different. Recently, the PNCR was obliged to expose the unconscionable demand by the GWI for the Hopetown Land Cooperative Society to pay three million dollars, merely to connect the water supply line to their new housing development area at Catherina’s Lust. When the Minister of Housing and Water attempted to do damage control, after the PNCR’s Press Statement, his offer was to reduce the fee to one million, five hundred thousand dollars. This is another blatant act of discrimination that cries out for rectification. The Society did not ask GWI or the Government to provide the pipelines or install the network. The members of that society purchased in excess of five million dollars ($5,000,000.00), worth of materials to lay the entire pure water supply network in this area. The pipelines would be installed by the society and their only request was for, Guyana Water Inc., to facilitate the connection from the GWI main to their network. The eighty-four home owners will still have to pay their individual connection fee to GWI before they can connect from the network to their homes.

It, therefore, appears that they are being penalised for being self sufficient. Just nearby at Cotton Tree Village, residents not only had their entire pipe line network installed by Government, but recently benefitted from a new water treatment plant and pump station.

The society has, however, written the Minister requesting that they be given equal treatment under the law and that the decision to impose a penalty fee for connection of water supply to the network at Catherina’s Lust South, West Coast Berbice, be reviewed. The PNCR will be monitoring developments in this matter, but it is yet, another illustration of the policies of the Jagdeo Administration.

These are the matters that PPP General Secretary, Mr. Donald Ramotar, should be addressing, rather that seeking to divert attention to Buxton alone. The PNCR, however, wishes to remind Mr. Ramotar and the Jagdeo Administration of what was brought to their attention, since 2002, by the then Leader of the PNCR, Mr. Hugh Desmond Hoyte, on 10 October 2002. He stated then,

“Today, it is fashionable for some idiots to say that Buxton is a criminal village; Buxtonians are criminals; Buxtonians are violent people of no worth. The People's National Congress Reform and I reject this gross defamation of character of the people of Buxton-Friendship. For this is one of our premier villages. It is one of the oldest villages established by our ancestors. It is a village with a proud history, a history of great achievements and it is a symbol of the courage, discipline and achievements of our ancestors. Our ancestors left us at Buxton, a glorious legacy. It is a legacy of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. It is a legacy of service; it is a legacy of success. And this village has made a huge contribution to the development and progress of our country economically, socially and politically over a period in excess of 160 years.

Buxton is only a symbol, an overt symbol, of the anger and the resentment that has infected all the villages along the coast. Everything you are suffering, all the problems you are enduring are being suffered by the villages of Victoria, Plaisance and BV and Belladrum – for example. So that it is no use trying to suppress Buxton unless they are able to suppress all the black villages in this country. The suppression of Buxton would not eradicate the root causes of the disaffection that is pervasive in all the marginalized villages because other Buxtons will arise throughout the length and breathe of this country.

My friends, the problem at Buxton is not going to be solved by guns and force, cannot be solved by guns and force. What is required is a programme of genuine social transformation that would give hope to the communities and serve as a model for the development for the other communities. And it is this programme that I will outline to you this evening. And it is this programme that I will propose to the government, if they have any sense, a programme which will resolve the problems of Buxton and of similar villages with similar problems along the coast. If they were wise, the government would urgently discuss this programme with you and begin, along with you, to implement it. What is required is a socio-economic transformation plan which the government must develop in consultation with you, in cooperation with you, to produce a well-coordinated action plan for the economic and social transformation of Buxton. We are not talking about tinkering; we are not talking about filling a hole in one road and digging a little trench there; we are not talking about that. We are talking about a total plan for the rehabilitation and improvement of the entire catchment area. And the objective of the plan must be to restore your production base which has been allowed to decay, to rehabilitate and improve your basic infrastructure, to establish a sustainable programme of social services and re-invigorate the cultural life of the communities; to provide education, employment, to provide employment opportunities for the villagers especially the young people, and to lift and sustain the morale of the communities by vigorously addressing your grievances arising from the depressed state of the area so that your cultural and social and economic life can be improved dramatically.

These are the things that have to be done and I want to mention some specific projects because I have been talking in general terms. The government must construct a check sluice and crown dam aback Buxton-Friendship and also a check sluice or check sluices at Vigilance and Annandale in the central navigation canals to serve this entire area. They must clear and maintain the sideline dams to prevent flooding. They must clear 400 acres of farmlands and build farm-to-market roads so you can have access to your farmlands and bring out your produce. In the field of education and training, they must acquire the land for the Buxton Practical Instruction Centre so that the building could go up. You know they promised to buy the land for the Practical Training Centre, but they won’t pay the owner and since they won’t pay the owner you cannot put up the building. And they must do that and they must construct the multipurpose centre in the south of Buxton beyond this embankment road so that the people can have a centre for adult and continuing education, for cultural activities, for community meetings and for the training of young people and others. They must reconstruct the abandoned Bladenhall Multilateral School so that our children can have a proper decent place for their secondary education. And they must upgrade the six mud dams into all-weather roads, and provide adequate street lighting. They must improve the existing Health Centre by adding a delivery room, assigning trained staff and upgrading the centre to a Cottage Hospital. These are the things they have to do if they want quiet and peace and contentment in this Buxton-Friendship area.

We have here a well and storage facilities for potable water but yet the people south of here cannot get water. They must ensure that the people of Buxton-Friendship South have access to potable water, access which they don’t have now for no good reason. And they must rehabilitate the abattoir which is an eyesore and a health hazard. These are some of the specific things that they must do and you must call for so that they don’t come around fooling you and not directing their attention to your basic needs. And you know all of these things call for supportive activities. They must compile a list of skills available in this community and use the data for employment purposes, for organizing the people for self-employment and for mobilizing the villagers for self-improvement and community projects. They must encourage the establishment of co-operative societies for community economic activities. And as an immediate short-term measure, organize public works to improve facilities, using local skills as far as possible. They have to transform this community. They have to compile information about your history, your oral history, your folklore, about your outstanding people, some of the people I referred to earlier in my discourse so that the young people could know who are there heroes and can have proper role models and not walk about in idleness as if they have just dropped out of the skies. And we must encourage groups to read, to debate, to promote the arts and culture and above all, facilities for sporting activities. Have you got a playing field in Buxton where the children can play cricket and football? Have you got a centre? No, you don’t have but Annandale has. The things you don’t have, Annandale has.

My friends, now the advantage of this plan is that it can serve as a model for the development of all the marginalized and depressed communities in this country. And I believe that given political will and good faith, this plan could be completed in 36 to 48 months and its cost should be in the vicinity of $250 million spread over that period. Comrades this is a small amount of money to expend given the huge returns, the huge social and economic returns that would flow from this expenditure, it is an expenditure that is worth while. It would be more beneficial for the government to spend $250 million to do things which need to be done in this community than buying guns and bullets and bullet-proof vests. The acquisition of these guns and ammunition would only result in death. The plan we are putting forward is designed to sustain life and human well-being.”
(H.D. Hoyte, S.C., M.P., 10 October 2010, Buxton)

Would Mr. Ramotar point out to the Nation how many of these matters have been addressed by the Jagdeo Government to date, some eight years later? At his recent meeting in Buxton, the President, in response to a question from a citizen, had to shamefully admit that the PPP/C Administration had no development plan for Buxton. The answer to Mr. Ramotar, therefore, came from the lips of his President. It’s time for the PPP General Secretary and his President to either put up or shut up.

COMMEMORATION OF THE 25TH DEATH ANNIVERSARY OF LINDEN FORBES SAMPSON BURNHAM, FOUNDER LEADER OF THE PNC AND FIRST EXECUTIVE PRESIDENT OF GUYANA

REMAINING ACTIVITIES PROGRAMME:

29 August 2010: 10:00 hrs: Circle Tennis Finals: Carifesta Sports Complex
Ministry of Culture, Youth & Sports, Carifesta Avenue, Thomas Lands, Georgetown
11:00 hrs: Softball Female Cricket: Carifesta Sports Complex DCC Ground, Lance Gibbs & New Garden Streets, Queenstown, Georgetown.

30 August 2010: 19:00 hrs: Gala Variety Concert: Celebrating The Musical Moods Of LFSB: National Cultural Centre, Georgetown: Admission: $1,000
3 October 2010: Cavalcade of Sports: Mackenzie Sports Club Ground, Region #10:
Note: There will be Regional play-offs to identify the Regional Teams.

NATION WATCH PROGRAMME:

29 August 2010 12:00 -13:00 hrs: Panel Discussion Reflecting on the Legacy of LFSB:
HBTV Channel 9 Topic: Providing for the People: Feed, Clothe and House the Nation



People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Friday 27 August 2010

Visit our website @ www.guyanapnc.org and www.pncrguyana.com
Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/pnc.reform


SPEECH BY H. D. HOYTE, S.C., M.P.
Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform and
Leader of the Opposition at a Public Meeting at Buxton, East Coast Demerara
10 October 2002


Comrade Chairman, comrades from Buxton-Friendship and the adjacent villages, agents of the Special Branch, intelligence agents, members of the Fountain Squad, (you know what is the Fountain Squad), agent provocateurs, I bid all of you a very good evening.

I want to begin this discourse with you by asking you to observe one minute’s silence for Clive Duncan who was murdered not far from here. The Security Forces know that he was murdered and you know the man who murdered him. But they had put out a press release saying that Duncan was part of a gang firing at them. You know that that is a lie. So this evening, let us honour this young man of Buxton and express our deepest condolences to his mother and relatives, by observing just one minute silence. … I thank you.

My dear brothers and sisters, let there be no mistake about what this meeting is all about. This is a meeting of the People’s National Congress Reform in solidarity, total solidarity, with the people of Buxton-Friendship. Today, it is fashionable for some idiots to say that Buxton is a criminal village; Buxtonians are criminals; Buxtonians are violent people of no worth. The People's National Congress Reform and I reject this gross defamation of character of the people of Buxton-Friendship. For this is one of our premier villages. It is one of the oldest villages established by our ancestors. It is a village with a proud history, a history of great achievements and it is a symbol of the courage, discipline and achievements of our ancestors. Our ancestors left us at Buxton, a glorious legacy. It is a legacy of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. It is a legacy of service; it is a legacy of success. And this village has made a huge contribution to the development and progress of our country economically, socially and politically over a period in excess of 160 years.

Buxton-Friendship has produced citizens of quality, hundreds of distinguished Guyanese, hundreds of distinguished families who have contributed in no small measure to the development of our country in every field of endeavour. You go to teaching, you find distinguished Buxtonians. You go to medicine, you go to law, you go to the military, you go to the Police, you go to health and medicine, you go to agriculture, you go to sports, you go to hinterland pioneering, manufacturing, politics - in every field of human endeavour in this country, Buxtonians have made a mighty contribution. And we need to let our children know that they come from a proud and distinguished lineage. They are not worthless as some people would try to say today, but they are the descendants of extraordinary people who have achieved extraordinary successes in this country. And we must tell our young people about our heroes. Of Cornelius Kryenhoff, a man who built a sugar factory here to manufacture sugar out of cane juice in an effort to make this village self-reliant, and who became the first black Justice of the Peace in this great country of ours. Of people like Daniel Pollard, who made a white overseer dance behind the drummers in Buxton because that white overseer had applauded the invasion of Ethiopia by Mussolini. And the people of this village were angry and they made their anger known in no uncertain terms.

Think of people from this village like B. G. Nehaul, the famous pathologist and bacteriologist, Winifred Gaskin, people like Joy O’John who became the Headmistress of the Bishops’ High School, Gaston Fox, who became Chief Education Officer; people like Una Paul, E. F. Fredericks who founded the Negro Progress Convention; Joseph Eleazer, who became one of the early members of the legislature of this country. Within the more recent times, people like Colonel Brenda Aaron, people like Hugh Payne, people like Felix Austin and Carl Austin, Malcolm Parris and Michael Parris, people like Brynmore Pollard and George Younge, people like June Griffith, the athlete, people like Colonel Stephenson, people like Chander Paul Persaud, the famous journalist who only a few days ago turned 89 and is still in very good health with a great mental acuity. People like S. I. T. Persaud, Martin Fredericks and Martin Stephenson to name a few. Were I to give you a total roll call of the famous people of Buxton, we would be here for the rest of the night and I don’t propose to do that.

But this village has developed a proud reputation for self-reliance and for resisting oppression. I call to mind that famous Buxtonian woman, Nana Culley, who threw herself in front of a machine when the estates were trying to dig a canal illegally through Buxton village lands and she stopped it. And of course the famous incident where the Buxton women stopped the train with the Governor so that he could hear their complaints. Those were formidable women; they had no fear, and you are the descendants of those people. You have inherited their genes and there is no way that you are going to bow to oppression and injustice because it is just not in your character. And so today, comrades, as new oppressors arise, new violators of human rights, people who want to relegate us to the status of hewers of wood and drawers of water, you will resist them. You have always resisted the oppressors. You are resisting them today, you have resisted them in the past, and you will resist them in the future because no tyrant can quench your thirst for freedom. No tyrant can cause you to bend your knees to oppression. It is not just in your character. And so today in the tradition of your ancestors you are resisting strenuously - and rightly so.

Now your cause is just. It doesn’t matter who write long letters in the newspapers; it doesn’t matter who write long editorials in the newspapers. Those people can’t find Buxton on the map but they want to analyse your problems and make prescriptions and their prescriptions usually are as follows: pacify Buxton; send in soldiers and police to kill all of you. But that isn’t going to happen; because there is no way that they can kill all of you. As the Jamaican singer says “Killing me is a waste, another Rasta gon take my place”. Because the problem is not Buxton, it is in every village that is depressed and marginalized. So another Buxton will arise if they could suppress this Buxton and more and more Buxtons will arise and they will find themselves caught up in a maelstrom from which they themselves will not escape. Now consider this state of your village. This used to be a prosperous village. It was well laid out, well managed and very productive. They ruined your production base by neglect. Your drainage and irrigations systems were allowed to go to rack and ruin so you can’t farm your backlands; you have had to abandon your farms. And they allowed the basic infrastructure to run down. Your roads, your dams, everything that would make your village productive were allowed to deteriorate. And the result of this is that today there are some 4,000 people unemployed in your catchment’s area. You look around and you see decayed infrastructure and see how they have caused your social services to deteriorate. Until recently they had your children in the market trying to teach them, I say trying, because you can’t teach anybody in those foul, insanitary conditions, with the little children being put in the part where they used to sell fish. And then they wonder at the fact that you rebelled. It took a long time for them to rehabilitate the school and even so they have not completed it. You will have to insist that they put in the sanitary and other fixtures in that school so that the children can have a decent environment in which to learn.

But even as they try to do something about the primary school, they have allowed the secondary school at Bladenhall to fall down in ruin. So what has been the effect on your children? They are scattered to the four corners of this area. They have to go to other schools and they have to be content with only a short period of time for schooling and learning. Morale is low and the children are at risk. But that is alright because the people who are doing that want these children to grow up to be ignoramuses so that they would become hewers of wood and drawers of water. And the young people are caught in the grip of despair. They are angry, they are resentful and sometimes they express their anger and resentment in ways that startle people.

Comrades, you are a proud people. You want to work but there is no work for you. You ask for bread and Jagdeo offers you lead. You look around, is he offering you employment? Is he offering you education and training? Is he offering you jobs? He is offering you bullets, putting intolerable pressure upon you economically, politically and socially. And you know the reason why he is doing this so I don’t need to expand on that. His objective is to drive you out of the mainstream of national life; to neutralise you so that you become a cipher in the life of this country. You are entitled to ask yourselves what has become of our village. What has happened to agriculture? What has happened to its social and cultural facilities? What has happened to its social infrastructure? Everything has collapsed and decayed. And so you are right to struggle against these conditions to protest against the injustice of what is happening to you and to fight to achieve social justice for yourself and your children. You are fighting for bread and justice over the past decade. You have been crying out for relief and the government has been ignoring your cries. You have been crying out against police abuse and harassment and brutality; the criminalization of your young people and the murder of the youths. And of course the government has been using the notorious “Black Clothes” police to carry out their nefarious objectives. People with names like “Robocop”, “Gangsta”, “Golden Gun”, Guinness”, “Toots”, “Bald Head”, “Baby Face”, Comrades, this is a serious matter. You don’t expect policemen, law enforcement officers to have those nicknames. You expect the criminals to have those names. And the very fact that they have attracted those pseudonyms to themselves tells you about the character of these people.

Comrades, you have in your own way protested against these injustices. I myself have written on your behalf in March 1996. I wrote a long letter to the Stabroek News but they refused to publish it. In it I referred to all of these atrocities and I predicted what was going to be the outcome if the government did not do something to redress grievances. Everything I predicted has come to pass today. I wrote another letter directly to Jagdeo about Buxton, pointing out what were the problems here and the difficulties. He never even acknowledged receipt of that letter. And again on May 24 this year, I wrote another extensive letter to the Stabroek News analyzing the situation here, explaining to some people who were trying to say that Buxton is a bad place with bad people and should be pacified. Now, what is this pacification? You know after the last World War, the British had a general by the name of Sir Gerald Templer and he was sent out to Malaysia to pacify those people who were fighting against the British and who were said to be communist. And he was successful because he did some rough and violent things. But I don’t know who is this government’s Sir Gerald Templer. We don’t have any of them here. So this talk about pacification is a foolish notion.

Jagdeo and his regime have tried all kinds of nonsense. They started out with something called “Operation Hamburger”. The idea was they would mass security forces in the Georgetown area, they would mass them at Cove-and-John and you would be the meat in the centre of the hamburger as they crush you. Stupidness! And then they decided to garrison Buxton. They brought the soldiers in and the army got itself involved in stupidness. Why are they here, what are their objectives? They don’t know. They have these young boys in the trays of Canter trucks with the sun beating down on them, packed like sardines in the trays of these trucks and they drive round and round and round. And as I see them I feel very sorry for them. So they should ask themselves why are they here, what is the objective of their presence and when will it end? Nobody can answer any of those questions. So “Operation Hamburger” was followed by “Operation Plaster-of-Paris”. And Operation Plaster of Paris was followed by “Operation Tourniquet” (which some ignorant newspaper reporter of the Chronicle called “Turn de Key”). And Operation Tourniquet was followed by “Operation Saline Solution”. So it seems to me that there is somebody in the Security Forces who is ambitious of studying medicine. And so Operation Saline Solution was a huge joke. They came up with nothing because there was nothing to be found. And you know that all the people whose houses were searched were elderly women. One woman down the road there with her 10 year-old granddaughter, another old lady across the way there, decent inoffensive people who could no way be associated with anything unlawful. So you know what was happening? The informer was having a great joke at the expense of the security forces. But be careful, when somebody mounts Operation Death. It wouldn’t be your death because as I have said you cannot be destroyed. It is a foolish notion.

My friends, guns and force and threats of force cannot pacify Buxton. The regime believes that this is possible. But what are they doing? What message are they sending to young people when young boys and girls wake up in the morning and the first thing they’re seeing are men with guns? They come to the conclusion that guns are the source of authority; guns are the symbol of power; guns are a status symbol - and they want guns too. That is the message they are sending. And after a time the young people become accustomed to guns and they are not afraid. But the people who write about Buxton and what should be done and what shouldn’t be done don’t understand anything. If I may vary a line from a poet Robert Browning, I would say “What do they know about Buxton, who only Buxton know”. Buxton is only a symbol, an overt symbol, of the anger and the resentment that has infected all the villages along the coast. Everything you are suffering, all the problems you are enduring are being suffered by the villages of Victoria, Plaisance and BV and Belladrum – for example. So that it is no use trying to suppress Buxton unless they are able to suppress all the black villages in this country. The suppression of Buxton would not eradicate the root causes of the disaffection that is pervasive in all the marginalized villages because other Buxtons will arise throughout the length and breathe of this country.

My friends, the problem at Buxton is not going to be solved by guns and force, cannot be solved by guns and force. What is required is a programme of genuine social transformation that would give hope to the communities and serve as a model for the development for the other communities. And it is this programme that I will outline to you this evening. And it is this programme that I will propose to the government, if they have any sense, a programme which will resolve the problems of Buxton and of similar villages with similar problems along the coast. If they were wise, the government would urgently discuss this programme with you and begin, along with you, to implement it. What is required is a socio-economic transformation plan which the government must develop in consultation with you, in cooperation with you, to produce a well-coordinated action plan for the economic and social transformation of Buxton. We are not talking about tinkering; we are not talking about filling a hole in one road and digging a little trench there; we are not talking about that. We are talking about a total plan for the rehabilitation and improvement of the entire catchment area. And the objective of the plan must be to restore your production base which has been allowed to decay, to rehabilitate and improve your basic infrastructure, to establish a sustainable programme of social services and re-invigorate the cultural life of the communities; to provide education, employment, to provide employment opportunities for the villagers especially the young people, and to lift and sustain the morale of the communities by vigorously addressing your grievances arising from the depressed state of the area so that your cultural and social and economic life can be improved dramatically.

These are the things that have to be done and I want to mention some specific projects because I have been talking in general terms. The government must construct a check sluice and crown dam aback Buxton-Friendship and also a check sluice or check sluices at Vigilance and Annandale in the central navigation canals to serve this entire area. They must clear and maintain the sideline dams to prevent flooding. They must clear 400 acres of farmlands and build farm-to-market roads so you can have access to your farmlands and bring out your produce. In the field of education and training, they must acquire the land for the Buxton Practical Instruction Centre so that the building could go up. You know they promised to buy the land for the Practical Training Centre, but they won’t pay the owner and since they won’t pay the owner you cannot put up the building. And they must do that and they must construct the multipurpose centre in the south of Buxton beyond this embankment road so that the people can have a centre for adult and continuing education, for cultural activities, for community meetings and for the training of young people and others. They must reconstruct the abandoned Bladenhall Multilateral School so that our children can have a proper decent place for their secondary education. And they must upgrade the six mud dams into all-weather roads, and provide adequate street lighting. They must improve the existing Health Centre by adding a delivery room, assigning trained staff and upgrading the centre to a Cottage Hospital. These are the things they have to do if they want quiet and peace and contentment in this Buxton-Friendship area.

We have here a well and storage facilities for potable water but yet the people south of here cannot get water. They must ensure that the people of Buxton-Friendship South have access to potable water, access which they don’t have now for no good reason. And they must rehabilitate the abattoir which is an eyesore and a health hazard. These are some of the specific things that they must do and you must call for so that they don’t come around fooling you and not directing their attention to your basic needs. And you know all of these things call for supportive activities. They must compile a list of skills available in this community and use the data for employment purposes, for organizing the people for self-employment and for mobilizing the villagers for self-improvement and community projects. They must encourage the establishment of co-operative societies for community economic activities. And as an immediate short-term measure, organize public works to improve facilities, using local skills as far as possible. They have to transform this community. They have to compile information about your history, your oral history, your folklore, about your outstanding people, some of the people I referred to earlier in my discourse so that the young people could know who are there heroes and can have proper role models and not walk about in idleness as if they have just dropped out of the skies. And we must encourage groups to read, to debate, to promote the arts and culture and above all, facilities for sporting activities. Have you got a playing field in Buxton where the children can play cricket and football? Have you got a centre? No, you don’t have but Annandale has. The things you don’t have, Annandale has.

My friends, now the advantage of this plan is that it can serve as a model for the development of all the marginalized and depressed communities in this country. And I believe that given political will and good faith, this plan could be completed in 36 to 48 months and its cost should be in the vicinity of $250 million spread over that period. Comrades this is a small amount of money to expend given the huge returns, the huge social and economic returns that would flow from this expenditure, it is an expenditure that is worth while. It would be more beneficial for the government to spend $250 million to do things which need to be done in this community than buying guns and bullets and bullet-proof vests. The acquisition of these guns and ammunition would only result in death. The plan we are putting forward is designed to sustain life and human well-being.

My friends, in my Congress Address last August, I said that the Party should establish an organization, a non-political organization, to help people to develop their own communities, particularly people in the country-side and the villages. I am happy to be able to report to you this evening that we have made great strides in establishing this organization and in designing the modules for the work we would undertake. And before the end of this month, you will see the involvement of the Party in helping the Buxton-Friendship communities to start the work, through self-reliance, of improving their communities. You will notice this evening I haven’t talked anything about crime.

A lot of people when they heard about this meeting said “Hoyte going there to talk about crime”. I have already rejected the assertion that this is a criminal village harbouring criminals and everybody here is a criminal. That is nonsense. There is crime throughout this country and crime cannot be limited to Buxton. There are of course problems with crime but that is not my purpose this evening to discuss or analyse that. The responsibility for preventing crime and apprehending criminals is that of the government and the police. It is true that ordinary citizens also have an obligation to help in this regard but the primary responsibility rest with the government and the police and they must do their job and if they cannot do their job I would say like the late Eric Williams, “Get the hell out of here”. I have nothing more to say on this issue tonight. I have already spoken enough in other forums. And so this evening comrades, I want to exhort you to stand firm in your determination, to preserve your self-respect and your dignity, to promote the economic and social development of your community, to demand from the government what is due to you as citizens of this great country of ours. And be prepared to work together and with other communities to build a country that is prosperous and is well. Do not become disheartened, do not despair, your cause is just and in the end will prevail.

Thank you.