THE PNCR CALLS UPON THE JAGDEO ADMINISTRATION TO SHOW RESPECT AND REGARD FOR THE NATION’S YOUTH--PRESS STATEMENT Friday 15 October 2010
• The PNCR is fully supportive of the initiatives of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization to arrest the decline of food production, including its efforts to achieve Universal Food Security as a means of eliminating hunger in the world;
• The Party calls on the Minister of Home Affairs and the Director of Prisoners to take the needed action to stamp out corruption within the prison and to rectify, as a matter of urgency, the inhuman treatment being meted out to the prisoners, most of whom appear to be on long term remand, due to the slowness and failures of the Judicial system;
• The PNCR calls on the Government and all members of our society to strive to make youths feel special, loved, wanted and protected;
• The PNCR urges all Guyanese, especially the unregistered young people of fourteen (14) years and above, to take advantage of this opportunity to become registered;
• The PNCR calls upon the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, to intervene urgently to ensure that Scrutineers are paid on a timely basis and that his Ministry does not become responsible for creating obstacles for the smooth conduct of the Continuous Registration Programme.
MESSAGE FROM THE PNCR FOR UN WORLD FOOD DAY 2010
The People’s National Congress Reform joins with the rest of the world in welcoming the observance of the 2010 United Nations World Food Day, on Saturday 16th October 2010, under the theme “United Against Hunger”.
World Food Day was initially observed in remembrance of the launching of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945. However, with the passage of time and experience, particularly the adverse impact of so-called Food Aid and Free Trade policies by developed countries on agriculture in developing countries, coupled with the disappointing international support for the work of the World Food Programme (WFP), international attention has been focused on the devastating impact of hunger, malnutrition and poverty on an alarmingly high proportion of the world’s population.
It has long been recognised that Guyana has the natural agricultural resource endowments to potentially be the Bread Basket for the Caribbean. Therefore, it is a matter for disappointment that, despite the encouraging and supportive agricultural development policies and the enormous investment by the PNC Administration in providing enhanced drainage and irrigation infrastructure – Black Bush, MMA, Boerasiri, Tapacuma, etc – which has been inherited by the PPP/C Administration, they have failed to inspire confidence that Guyana will realise that potential.
Unfortunately, the citizens of Guyana, due to a combination of incompetence, corruption and discrimination in the agricultural sector, have increasingly experienced high prices for food products grown here in Guyana. This has added to the economic burdens, imposed by the 16% VAT and the unreformed high taxation regime, that are contributing to the rising levels of poverty and destitution in Guyana.
Information from the United Nations has revealed that, in 2009, there were more than one billion hungry people in the world, as a result of the drastically increasing food prices and the world economic downturn. It is to be noted that, for 2009, the WFP set as its goal the feeding of 108 million people in 74 countries across the world, but, due to the major shortfall in international financial support for its budget, the WFP was forced to reduce the rations to hungry people in some countries and to suspend altogether in others. In fact, donors contributed around US$2.9 billion towards the WFP 2009 budget of US$6.7 billion.
The PNCR, therefore, is fully supportive of the initiatives of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization to arrest the decline of food production, including its efforts to achieve Universal Food Security as a means of eliminating hunger in the world.
The PNCR continues to believe and remains committed to the pursuit of policies that are directed, as a matter of Governmental priority, to combat and eradicate hunger, malnutrition and poverty in our nation.
FOOD SHORTAGE AT THE GEORGETOWN PRISON
On the eve of the celebration of the 2010 UN World Food Day, the PNCR is appalled over reports of food shortage at the Camp Street Prison.
According to the Kaieteur News Article, dated Tuesday 12th October 2010, captioned, “Prisoners frustrated over food shortage in Camp Street” , the prisoners for the past two weeks have not been eating healthy, and sometimes barely eating. This once again brings to the fore the inhumane treatment of prisoners. The article further pointed out that the prisoners claimed that such a situation is a violation of their human rights. The prisoners have also allegedly complained that “there is heavy smuggling within the prison walls at Lot 12 Camp Street Georgetown. And this is not the prisoners alone. You know, this is the officers too. They are the biggest criminals.” The article also claims that, “the frustrated inmates disclosed that on many occasions officers would pack buckets with food supplies. These are strategically placed in the truck that disposes of garbage through the rear of the prison”. The article further revealed “that Death Row inmates only receive their stipulated dishes or diets if the prison is being visited by an official”.
The PNCR joins the public in supporting the justified protests by the prisoners who, apart from the dangerously overcrowded conditions in the Georgetown prison, must also endure imposed hunger and malnutrition which also threatens their health and well being. The Party, therefore, calls on the Minister of Home Affairs and the Director of Prisons to take the needed action to stamp out corruption within the prison and to rectify, as a matter of urgency, the inhuman treatment being meted out to the prisoners, most of whom appear to be on long term remand, due to the slowness and failures of the Judicial system.
THE PNCR CALLS UPON THE JAGDEO ADMINISTRATION TO SHOW RESPECT AND REGARD FOR THE NATION’S YOUTH
The People’s National Congress Reform is concerned at the disrespect and lack of interest being shown the Jagdeo PPP/C Administration towards the Nation’s youth. Our party believes that, just weeks after Child Protection Week was observed, (from Sunday 19th September to Saturday 25th September 2010), there has been more than enough damage done to impair the future of our youths.
Our Party recognises that the nation’s youths must be endowed with the capabilities and capacity to take responsibility for the future development of Guyana. However, the PNCR is conscious that our youths require guidance and protection. The approaches needed for this to be achieved include tolerance, patience and the example of disciplined behaviour by adults and leaders in our society.
It is unfortunate that these elements are lacking, since the leaders of our country have proven time and time again that they are ill equipped to set the proper examples. Children in Guyana can no longer look up to and admire the adults in key leadership positions. Those same leaders have proven, on several occasions that they have no problem exploiting children and youths, and have, in some instances, contributed to leading them down a disastrous path.
The PNCR, in its Press Statement dated Friday 17 September 2010, under the caption, “The PNCR Disgusted With President Jagdeo Using Public Forums To Abuse And Belittle Citizens”, was forced to highlight the crude conduct of the Head of State, President Bharrat Jagdeo. The Party statement observed that, “It seems that President Jagdeo finds it difficult to observe the standards of decorum which are expected of the Head of State. The President should have delivered a morally uplifting and inspirational Address to the Graduation Ceremony, at the National Cultural Centre, on Wednesday 1st September 2010, for students who recently completed scholarships”. The Party was forced to ask the question, “What message was he conveying to these young people who are about to start to contribute to nation building? Is the President advocating that these young people should disrespect and disregard their elders?”
Doesn’t President Jagdeo realize that a misled child or youth is a lost child or youth?
The Party is also forced to recall the 2009 saga of Information Liaison to the President, Kwame McCoy, and a fifteen year old male. On Wednesday 9th September 2009 a recording of a conversation alleged to be between Presidential Liaison Kwame McCoy and Julius, a fifteen year old boy, was made public, after the boy complained to his relatives about alleged sexual advances towards him by Kwame McCoy.
The injustice and violation on the rights of children was made clear when, instead of being sanctioned and probably sacked from the Office of the President, after the recording was published, McCoy filed an injunction against Kaieteur News, Prime News and Capitol News, to prevent the media houses from further publishing words or images that have the effect of insinuating or suggesting that he was involved in acts of child molestation and sexual predation on minors until the determination of a summons to continue injunction. That injunction was eventually dismissed by Chief Justice Ian Chang.
After much mischief, McCoy ran, like a “deer caught in headlights”, making good his escape to neighbouring Brazil. When questioned by reporters, about McCoy’s disgusting and inappropriate behaviour, Head of State, President Bharrat Jagdeo, not surprisingly, said that he would look into the McCoy matter and make a determination on McCoy’s fate once he was fully briefed. Did the President ever make a proper inquiry into the matter or was he, at the time, in his usual “bluff mode”? We can only assume that the President made the inquiry and was fully briefed, therefore, the public needs to be told what were the findings and what action has been taken. Silence prevails!
Meanwhile, Kaieteur News columnist, Freddie Kissoon, in his column, dated Friday 1st October 2010, under the caption, “I Am Responsible For The Disappearance Of Julius”, revealed that “Julius and his mother have disappeared. They are not dead. Benschop and I went back to the home weeks after and neighbours told us that the relatives are the care-takers. I assume that Julius and his mother are alive because why would the relatives live in the home, not hear from or see Julius and his mother, and not report that they are missing? How did they get to live in the house in the first place?” Mr. Kissoon is of the opinion “that Julius and his mother have been secretly moved and are very much alive”. The columnist further suggested that “abundant resources” were used to “entice the mother and son to remain silent”.
The Guyanese public should draw their conclusions from the reality that Kwame McCoy continues to sit on the right hand side of Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon, during his weekly press briefings. Thursday 30 September 2010 marked one year since Kwame fled from the scene of his inappropriate behaviour.
The Party also recalls the October 2009 reported torturing of a fourteen year old boy, Twyon Thomas, by members of the Guyana Police Force, while he was in police custody at the Leonora Police Station on the West Coast of Demerara. On Saturday 31st October 2009, the Kaieteur News carried, on its front page, the horrid photograph of the wounds inflicted on this 14 year old boy. Twyon Thomas will have to journey his entire life with the physical and mental scars inflicted by that experience. This is certainly not how children should be protected.
We also cite the case of 16 year old Kelvin Fraser of Patentia, on the West Bank of Demerara, who was gunned down, on 7th June 2010, by a member of the Guyana Police Force. The motto of the Guyana Police force is “Service and Protection”, but how can our children feel protected if those charged with the responsibility for their protection are guilty of treating them like animals, maiming, damaging, violating their human rights and even murdering them?
How could any Guyanese ever forget the recent horrific story of the experiences of the late sixteen year old, Neesa Gopaul, whose headless remains were discovered in a suitcase, on Saturday 2nd October 2010, near the Emerald Tower Resort at Madawini off the Soesdyke/Linden Highway? The past weeks have revealed that this was a teen whose life could have been saved by a competent and caring Human Services Ministry. Are the revelations of the behaviour of officials within this Ministry indicative of respect and value for the lives of our youth by the Administration? How are Governmental institutions taking care of our youth?
The PNCR is still awaiting the publication of the results of internal investigations by the Human Services Ministry into the manner in which the case of Neesa Gopaul was dealt with. What sanctions will be brought against delinquent officers? Will the Human services Minister, Priya Manickchand, herself face any sanctions?
The Human Services Ministry must do more to protect the youths. The Party has noted with deep regret the murder of an eight month old baby by her mother who herself is at the tender age of eighteen. Earlier counselling and guidance for this young mother might have avoided such a disastrous ending.
The PNCR calls on the Government and all members of our society to strive to make youths feel special, loved, wanted and protected. In this regard, an imperative must be that leaders, especially those in Government, must set the proper example of compassion and respect for the laws of Guyana.
PNCR AGAIN URGES ALL GUYANESE TO BE REGISTERED
The Continuous Registration programme, being undertaken by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), commenced on 6th September 2010 and is expected to conclude on 31 December 2010.
Persons wishing to register are reminded that they would require an original Birth Certificate as the major source document for registration.
The PNCR urges all Guyanese, especially the unregistered young people of fourteen (14) years and above, to take advantage of this opportunity to become registered. If you were unable to register during the House-to-House Registration programme, you should visit the GECOM Office in your District with your source documents to ensure that you are registered on this occasion.
There are still many persons who were registered, during the House-to-House Registration programme, and have not yet collected their new National ID Cards. The Party urges you to do so without undue delay.
We know that many persons have complained that the photograph appearing on their new ID Card is unsatisfactory or that there are errors, such as the incorrect spelling of names or other defects. The PNCR advises those persons that GECOM has undertaken to replace unsatisfactory photographs and to correct other defects. Therefore, those persons are advised to take their new ID Card to the nearest GECOM Office and have them correct the defects on the new ID Card.
Remember that Registration is your right and duty!
THE DILITARY PERFORMANCE OF THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE CREATING PROBLEMS FOR THE SMOOTH CONDUCT OF THE CONTINUOUS REGISTRATION PROGRAMME
The Continuous Registration programme is now in its second month but the Scrutineers, who have been duly appointed by GECOM to ensure the transparency and effective conduct of this programme, have yet to receive payment. Is this an attempt to create frustration and disaffection?
GECOM, when questioned by the Chief Opposition Scrutineer, Ms Amna Ally, about the reasons for the non payment of Scrutineers, informed her that all of the required documents have been submitted to the Ministry of Finance, in a timely manner, but, to date, no releases have been made by that Ministry for the payment of Scrutineers.
The PNCR calls upon the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, to intervene urgently to ensure that Scrutineers are paid on a timely basis and that his Ministry does not become responsible for creating obstacles for the smooth conduct of the Continuous Registration Programme.
People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Friday 15 October 2010
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