CLICO VICTIMS STILL SUFFERING WHILE STATE RESOURCES SPONSOR INTERNATIONAL ARTISTES AND PPP PUNISHES SMALL LOCAL PROMOTERS--PRESS STATEMENT Friday 3 September 2010




SUMMARY:
• The PNCR extends condolences to the Munroe Family in this time of grief;
• The PNCR extends Amerindian heritage Month Greetings to our Amerindian brothers and sisters and hopes that the occasion would be used to continuing championing the cause of Amerindians;
• CLICO victims still suffering while state resources sponsor international artistes and PPP punishes small local promoters;
• The 1 September 2003, Deadline has long passed for tabling of the Bill to Create the National Broadcast Authority;
• PNCR continues sensitization outreach in Region #3, noting the continued discrimination against Afro-Guyanese and PNCR supporters. Party General Secretary visits Jamaica on OAS Regional Stake Holders Consultation.

CONDOLENCES

The PNCR extends sincere condolences to Central Executive Committee member, Mr. Alan Munroe and his family on the death of his son, Ian Munroe. Mr. Ian Munroe died on Tuesday 31 August 2010 while both Mr. Alan Munroe and his wife were out of the country. They are expected back in Guyana tomorrow after which funeral arranged will be finalised.

AMERINDIAN HERITAGE MONTH MESSAGE

THE PNCR extends sincere greetings and salutes the Indigenous Community of Guyana on the commencement of their Heritage month of September 2010. On this significant occasion it is appropriate to reflect on the significant social, cultural and economic contributions which Amerindians have made to the development of Guyana.

Today, while much is still to be achieved, our indigenous citizens can boast of being treated as citizens with equal rights and opportunities like all Guyanese.

It is time, however, for the Jagdeo Administration to stop playing politics with issues relating to Amerindian development. Like every citizen the Amerindian is entitled to his share of the national patrimony and the PPP is doing no favor in providing adequate resources for their well being. The PNCR will issue a separate statement on Amerindian Heritage month.


CLICO VICTIMS STILL SUFFERING WHILE STATE RESOURCES SPONSOR INTERNATIONAL ARTISTES AND PPP PUNISHES SMALL LOCAL PROMOTERS

While President Jagdeo and his merry band continue to squander the people’s resources for politically sponsored activities, such as, the recent H&J entertainment and providing tax exemptions to foreign artistes, the victims of the CLICO debacle are still to be advised on the exact time and manner that the Government will honour President Jagdeo’s and the Parliament’s commitment that no policy holder or contributor would suffer any loss.

The sponsorship by the state of a major privately promoted entertainment event, including the tax waiver for foreign artistes, must be a matter of serious concern to all Guyanese tax payers. On what basis was that decision made when small Guyanese promoters, struggling to eek out a living and provide entertainment in village communities, are hounded by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) for the payment of taxes?

Only recently the nation witnessed the Court action taken by the GRA against Guyanese promoter, Gordon Maxwell, charged with tax evasion.

Mr. Maxwell plunged into the Mahaicony River to a watery grave after he was placed on bail by the Magistrate. While the nation has been advised that the Police are investigating this incident, where shots were fired by their ranks, the central issue remains the double standards and discriminatory policies of the Jagdeo’s Administration. The small village promoter being harassed for a pittance, while the PPP/C guarantees millions in sponsorship for big ones and remit millions more in entertainment taxes.

The National Communication Network (NCN) is subsidized by the National Budget to the tune of millions of dollars. Consequently, any sponsorship by this state agency amount to sponsorship by the state. The people of Guyana, therefore, deserve full disclosure by the Jagdeo Administration on the amount of tax payers money used to sponsor that event and to pay for international performer, NE-YO. How much money was remitted in taxes for the event? It is time that this lack of transparency be brought to an end.

The PNCR has also been demanding that the PPP/C Administration be equally transparent in disclosing the manner in which the Government guarantee to CLICO policy holders would be met. In several of its Press Statements, the PNCR called upon the Jagdeo Administration to provide a clear statement of the manner in which the guarantee given to CLICO policyholders and contributors would be honoured. President Jagdeo is reported in the media to have responded by stating that this will be done when the Company is liquidated. Surely, the President cannot expect Guyanese to accept such a shoddy response. The honouring of that guarantee will require funds to be found by taxpayers or from some other source. While there have been reports that the Government has received money for this purpose from Governments and other institutions, the victims of CLICO need to know the details.

Millions of policyholders’ funds are already 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, 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. In the absence of details the wastage of tax payer’s money must be a source of continued concern to all Guyanese.

The PNCR, again, calls on the Jagdeo Administration to come clean and make a definitive statement to the satisfaction of CLICO depositors and policy holders.

THE 1 SEPTEMBER 2003 DEADLINE HAS LONG PASSED FOR THE TABLING OF THE BILL TO CREATE THE NATIONAL BROADCAST AUTHORITY

Seven (7) years ago, when President Jagdeo signed the Communiqué, dated 6 May 2003, section 2.4.of which is entitled, Radio Monopoly and Non Partisan Boards, he agreed that, “The draft broadcasting legislation which will include provisions for the creation of a National Broadcasting Authority, would be ready for consultation within two (2) months and be laid in the National Assembly within four (4) months from 1st May 2003.”

At the time, of the signing of the Communiqué, the Final Report of The Joint Committee On Radio Monopoly, Non-Partisan Boards And Broadcasting Legislation, dated 6 December 2001, was available for guiding the drafting of the required legislation. The Committee was co-Chaired by Ms Gail Teixeira and the late Mr. Deryck Bernard and was established on 15 May 2001.

• Part VI of that Report (pages 10-17), entitled A NATIONAL BROADCASTING AUTHORITY (NBA), spells out in detail, the provisions to be incorporated in the legislation to establish the NBA.

• Part VI A. entitled Mandate, recommended: “To serve as the guardian of the national broadcasting system and to regulate both the transmission and content, the committee recommends the establishment of a national broadcasting body, tentatively titled the National Broadcasting Authority (NBA). The NBA must be independent and autonomous within the framework of the constitution, true to the spirit and letter of its establishing legislation, answerable only to the National Assembly and must serve the public interest and the national good.”

It is instructive to note what was said, in the covering letter, dated 7 December 2001, to President Jagdeo and the late Leader of the Opposition, Mr Desmond Hoyte:

“The Joint Committee on Radio Monopoly, Non-Partisan Boards and Broadcasting Legislation wishes to advise you that it has completed its tasks. The members of the committee have compiled a report which was reached by consensus, and, which we feel correctly represents the level and depth of attention the committee paid to the tasks it was entrusted with by you.

Furthermore the committee pulled on technical experts acknowledged as such in the field as well as explored previous work done in the area. The committee also held a series of consultations with the broadcasters, although not all seized these opportunities; we feel that our recommendations reflect some of their contributions.

In carrying out its tasks the committee became familiar with the complexities of this sector and incorporated legislative and policy precedents set in other countries with similar pluralistic societies.”

It should be evident to all, therefore, that the fact that the Government prepared a Draft Bill which bore no resemblance to the recommendations of that Joint Committee represented a deliberate act of bad faith.

PEEPING TOM, in his I September 2010 Kaieteur News article entitled, SAME OLD STORY AGAIN, states, “The introduction of broadcast legislation will satisfy a campaign promise made years ago and will also silence critics who have been on the government’s case about the absence of such legislation. But it will not liberalize either radio or television. The legislation will therefore not make any difference when it comes to the broadcast media. The legislation has already been superseded by technology which has made wireless cable available. In a matter of five years, most of the television stations in Guyana would be forced to close shop because of the advent of cable.”

He goes on to claim that: “It really does not matter when the existing cable providers are licenced. They are not going to be able to compete with the few companies that are positioning to corner the cable TV, cable radio and satellite phone markets.”

PEEPING TOM also states: “The very purpose of broadcast legislation is supposed to be to allow market forces to decide on the need for new stations. The decisions as to whether there is a need for a new station should be left to these market forces governed by appropriate regulations. But the market itself is already cornered and like the airline business is soon to be, will become the preserve of a small, powerful and politically influential elite.”

The PNCR, in the Press Statement of 23 January 2009, pointed out that: “The machinations and manoeuvres, of the Jagdeo PPP/C Administration, to exercise total control over the mass media in Guyana, represent a drag on the overall development of this nation. It limits the sources of information available to citizens for the scrutiny and criticism of Government policies, the combating of corruption, and the promotion of ideas and programmes which can contribute positively for the development of this country.”

The track record and behaviour of the Administration suggests that the belated promise by the President may now cynically be guided by the calculations described by PEEPING TOM Let us wait and see!

SHOULD GUYANESE TAKE PRESIDENT JAGDEO SERIOUSLY ABOUT THE TABLING OF A FREEDOM OF INFORMATION BILL IN OCTOBER 2010?

President Jagdeo, whenever cornered on the matter of Freedom of Information legislation or, for that matter, any other issue of governance, has resorted to his usual promises. However, by now, as we mercifully approach the end of his tenure in Office, all Guyanese, including our children, know that they must place a very low value on his promises. In other words, his promises have little credibility!

Peeping Tom, in the his column entitled, SAME OLD STORY AGAIN, in the 1 September 2010 issue of the Kaieteur News, makes what must be the most telling point on the matter of the Tabling of a Freedom Of Information Bill, when he states, “As for Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation, this only works where there is already some basic commitment to transparency in government. FOI only works where there is already a culture of openness and accountability by government institutions and its officers. Such a culture does not exist in Guyana.”

The PNCR, in the Press Statement of 23 January 2009, pointed out that, “In most countries, especially those which are members of the Commonwealth, issues such as a Freedom of Information Act, the Broadcast of Parliamentary proceedings, and legislation for the issuing of Broadcast licenses are part of the democratic fabric of the nation. Indeed, these matters are regarded, in these states, as essential to providing citizens with the requisite knowledge to scrutinise public policy and take important decisions which could have important consequences for their lives.”

It should be recognised, by all, that the Government has never tabled such a Bill. However, Mr Raphael Trotman, the Leader of the AFC, Tabled a Private Members Bill, No. 26 of 2006, FREEDOM OF INFORMATION BILL 2006, which, though fully supported by the Parliamentary Opposition Parties, is yet to have even its First Reading, because of clear indications that the Government will use its majority in the National Assembly to defeat the Bill or else to so emasculate it that what is passed will bear no resemblance to the original Bill.

In addition, the Jagdeo regime has a well established track record of passing legislation which they then fail to fully or, in some cases, even partially, implement. Therefore, Peeping Tom is right when he states, in the same article that is quoted above, “The proposed legislation will not make the tongues of public officials looser when dealing with the media through formal requests for information. Government officials will continue the same old story of frustrating requests for information.”

The PNCR, in the Press Statement, of 8 October 2009, stated, “An informed and knowledgeable citizenry is necessary to the development of a democratic culture. When citizens are armed with the relevant information, they can make decisions, which can improve their lives and the society in which they live. Clearly, the PPP/C Administration does not agree with this proposition. In the modern world, it is routine for Governments to allow their citizens access to information from multiple sources so that they can understand what is going on in their own backyard and the rest of the world. The PPP/C Administration, on the other hand, has unashamedly limited the access of Guyanese to information by maintaining a radio monopoly and limiting access to the state media and ensuring that freedom of information remains a pipe dream. The promised Freedom of Information (FOI) Act remains another unfulfilled promise.”

We will wait, not with baited breath, to see the Government’s Freedom of Information Bill promised for October 2010.

PRESENTATION OF SCHOOL MATERIALS TO ANNS GROVE NURSERY SCHOOL AND OUTREACH IN WEST DEMERARA REGION #3

As part of the activities and celebrations of the life and legacy of Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham, 25 years later, timely presentations of school materials were made to three Nursery Schools on Monday 30th August 2010 and Thursday 2nd September 2010, by the Leader of the PNCR and Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Robert H.O. Corbin, M.P. He was accompanied by the Regional Chairman of the Region #4 RDC, Mr. Clement Corlette and Vice Chairman of the PNCR, Mr. Basil Williams. On Monday the materials were presented to the Ann’s Grove Nursery School, and on Thursday the items were presented to the 26th May Nursery Complex and the Victoria Nursery School.

This comes at a time when the students and teachers are preparing for the new school term. The Head Teacher of Ann’s Grove Nursery Ms. Andrea Jaganandan, noted that it will help to develop the students, in terms of their daily school schedule, while the Head Teachers, of the 26th May Nursery Complex and the Victoria Nursery School, expressed gratitude for the items that will benefit the students.

Mr. Corbin’s brief visit to the schools was part of the celebrations of the 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.

The Founder Leader believed that education was the foundation of the nation, and he paid particular attention in ensuring that there were educational facilities for our children so that they could be properly equipped to move Guyana Forward. This exercise comes one week after tokens and certificates were presented to the students of President’s College for their sterling efforts and success at the 2010 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.

In his brief remarks, Mr. Corbin stated that he wished to see the recommencement of the Literacy Programme in Ann’s Grove, because it is that community that was the inspiration for starting the Literacy programme in Sophia in 2006.

Outreach in West Demerara Region #3
The PNCR this week continued its outreach and sensitization of the public as it relates to Continuous Registration which should commence Monday September 6th 2010. Party leader Robert Corbin accompanied by Vice chairman Dr. George Norton, Member of parliament Ms. Volda Lawrence, Member of Parliament Ms. Amna Ally and Party Regional Chairman and Region #3 RDC Councillor John Adams visited several areas in West Demerara Region #3. Areas visited included Patentia, Stanley Town and Goed Intent. The team was greeted with many complaints including serious water shortage, drainage problems, unemployment, and discrimination against Afro Guyanese and PNCR supporters.
Mr. Corbin pointed out that this is just another one of the many examples of the PPP/C discrimination and disregard for Guyanese; the opposition is once again calling on Government to cease its games with the welfare of Guyanese as Mr. Corbin points out that regardless of village, race or age, all should be treated with respect. He noted too that government is obligated to providing the necessities of the nation’s citizens.

PNCR GENERAL SECRETARY PARTICIPATING IN OAS CONFERENCE IN JAMAICA

The People’s National Congress Reform General Secretary, Mr. Oscar Clarke, is participating in the OAS Regional Stakeholders Consultation on Model Legislation for the Registration and Regulation of Political Parties and Financing Campaign, which is being held in Jamaica. The Conference is scheduled to be held over a two days period which commenced its official deliberation yesterday, Thursday 2nd September and is scheduled to conclude today, Friday 3rd September, 2010.


People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Friday 3 September 2010

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