SYSTEM AND PROCEDURES FOR THE NOMINATION AND ELECTION OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FOR THE PNCR FOR THE 2011 NATIONAL ELECTIONS--PRESS STATEMENT Friday 19 November 2010




SUMMARY:
• The PNCR wishes to express its sincere gratitude to all the doctors and medical personnel at the Georgetown Hospital and Dr. Crandon for the medical care that they are continuing to provide Mr. Murray;
• The need to identify a Presidential Candidate arose after the Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, Mr. Robert H. O. Corbin, MP, formally announced, at the First Meeting of the Party General Council for 2010, on Saturday 27 March, that he would not be the Presidential Candidate for the Party for the 2011 National Elections;
• After one-year of inaction by the PPP Administration, the People’s National Congress Reform is convinced that this is no longer a mere industrial dispute;
• 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.

UPDATE ON MEDICAL CONDITION OF MR. WINSTON MURRAY, C.C.H., M.P.

The People’s National Congress Reform’s (PNCR) and its members continue to pray for its long standing member and Shadow Minister of Finance, Mr. Winston Murray, C.C.H., M.P., who remains in a critical condition at the Intensive Care Unit of the Georgetown Hospital.

Since the evaluation conducted by neurosurgeon, Professor Dr. Ivor Crandon, on Sunday 14th November 2010 last, where it was determined that no surgical intervention could be done because of the state of his vital signs, including, no responses from his brain, Mr. Murray has remained on life support at the Georgetown Hospital.

The PNCR empathises with Mr. Murray’s wife and family, at this time, in their moment of distress, even as we continue to offer our prayers for them.

The PNCR again wishes to express its sincere gratitude to all the doctors and medical personnel at the Georgetown Hospital and Dr. Crandon for the medical care that they are continuing to provide Mr. Murray. The Party also expresses its gratitude to the National Assembly, the Government of Guyana and, all Guyanese at home and abroad, who have rallied in support of Mr. Murray’s medical care and recovery.

The Party will continue to keep its members and supporters updated on Mr. Murray’s condition.

The Party will air a feature programme on the contributions of Mr. Murray in the National Assembly of the Parliament of Guyana on its next Nation Watch programme.

SYSTEM AND PROCEDURES FOR THE NOMINATION AND ELECTION OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FOR THE PNCR FOR THE 2011 NATIONAL ELECTIONS

On Wednesday, 10th November 2010, the Central Executive Committee of the PNCR, at a specially convened meeting, approved the final recommendations for the system and procedures for the nomination of a Presidential Candidate for the PNCR for the 2011 General and Regional Elections. Since that date, this information has been circulated to the wider membership through the Party’s Regions and groups. In response to the many requests, the Party now wishes to make this information available for all interested members of the wider Guyanese society. The Party wishes to emphasise, however, that the decision to identify a Presidential Candidate in no way detracts or changes the Party’s already stated position, that its first priority is to form a broad alliance or partnership with like minded organisations and persons to contest the 2011 Elections.

The need to identify a Presidential Candidate arose after the Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, Mr. Robert H. O. Corbin, M.P., formally announced, at the First Meeting of the Party General Council for 2010, on Saturday 27th March, that he would not be the Presidential Candidate for the Party for the 2011 National Elections.

Accordingly, at the Second Meeting of the Party’s General Council, on 10th July 2010, a Motion was unanimously passed, as amended, entitled, “Motion On The Identification Of The Presidential Candidate Of The PNCR” (see Attached I).

The Resolve Clauses of the Motion stated:

“BE IT RESOLVED that this General Council decides that the PNCR’s Presidential candidate should be identified as early as possible by a transparent system that includes wide consultation with bona-fide Party members, groups and supporters.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the process to be employed in arriving at a consensus Presidential Candidate include:

1. The identification of an inclusive group appointed by the CEC by 31st August 2010 to conduct consultation with the Party members, Party groups and supporters.
2. The person selected to be the Presidential Candidate must have the full confidence of the membership of the PNCR, be of sound and unquestionable integrity, possess the skill, expertise and networking capability as well as command respect and support of Guyanese generally.
3. The Group will make recommendations to be approved by the CEC and General Council on the system, criteria and procedures to be employed for the identification of the candidate.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the CEC make recommendations on the system criteria and procedures to be employed for the identification of the candidate to the next General Council.”

The Central Executive Committee (CEC), on 30th August 2010, established the Presidential Candidate Process Committee with the Party General Secretary, Mr. Oscar Clarke, as the Convenor. The members of the Committee are:

Representative of General Council: Mr. Jeffrey Thomas
Representative of the North American Region: Ms. Dawn Simmons
Representative of the United Kingdom Region: Mr. Neville Daniels
Representatives of the Central Executive Committee: Ms. Amna Ally, M.P. and Ms. Lurlene Nestor
Representative of the Guyana Youth and Student Movement: Mr. Adel Lilly
Representative of the National Congress of Women: Ms. Volda Lawrence, M.P.

The CEC also approved the Committee’s Terms of Reference which were consistent with the requirements of the Motion that was approved by the General Council.

The Committee began its work, on 12th September 2010, and held four (4) meetings, producing five Drafts. The Fifth Draft was submitted to the Central Executive Committee, at its meeting on 6th October 2010, and was finalised, taking account of the comments and suggestions made at that meeting and a subsequent meeting of the CEC, on Wednesday 20th October 2010. This draft was presented to the Meeting of the General Council, on Saturday 23rd October 2010.

After extensive and prolonged discussions, the General Council directed that the Presidential Candidate Process Committee should hold further consultations with those concerned members of General Council who had expressed reservations on some aspects of the proposal prior to its finalisation by the CEC.

As directed by the General Council, the Committee held two (2) follow-up meetings.

The first meeting was held with concerned members, on 27th October 2010, including those persons who had, at that time, indicated their interest in being considered for nomination as the PNCR Presidential Candidate for the 2011 General Elections. The second meeting took place, on Friday 29th October 2010, to consider the concerns which were raised and discussed during the consultative process.

The Committee presented its Draft, which took account of the main concerns which were raised and discussed during the consultative process, to the Meeting of the Central Executive Committee, on Wednesday 10th November 2010. Based on the comments and suggestions from the CEC, the Final document (see Attachment II) was prepared, and dispatched to the Regional Secretaries and Groups, as appropriate, on Monday 15th November 2010, for the commencement of the Presidential Candidate Nomination process.

The timelines set for the implementation of the process are as follows:

i. 27th November – 4th December 2010: All Party Groups would meet to make and formally document their List of Nominees for the Party Presidential Candidate.
ii. 5th – 12th December 2010: All Regional Secretaries to receive the Group Nominations and convene a Special Extended Regional Committee meeting, including a representative from each of the Groups which submitted Nominations, to formally agree and document the Regional List of Nominees. Where no functioning Regional Committee exists, the Party Group Chairman or Secretary will send the Group Nominations, in the specified format, directly to the General Secretary.
iii. By 18th December 2010: All Regional Secretaries to submit their Regional List of Nominees, endorsed by all of the Group delegates attending the Special Extended Regional Committee meeting, to the Party’s General Secretary.
iv. By 22nd December 2010: The Party’s General Secretary to prepare a National List of Nominees. All Nominees to be asked to formally notify the Party General Secretary, in writing, their acceptance of the nomination. The Nominees who accept their Nomination will be required to submit a CV along with a brief Biographical presentation to the Presidential Candidate Process Committee. The Committee would prepare a list of these Nominated Candidates for submission and approval of the Central Executive Committee.
v. By 30th December 2010: The Party would publicise the approved List of Nominees for the Party Presidential Candidate.
vi. 3rd – 31st January 2011: As far as practicable, the Party to convene, at Regional venues, country wide, Town Hall Style meetings, to be addressed by the Nominees for the Party Presidential Candidate.
vii. By 19th February 2011: Party to convene its Special Congress, to elect the PNCR Presidential Candidate, for the 2011 National Elections.

ONE YEAR LATER: THE LABOUR DISPUTE AT RUSAL BERBICE OPERATIONS REMAINS UNRESOLVED

22nd November 2010 will mark one year since the Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc. (BGCI), (RUSAL), in retaliation to strike action by the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (GB & GWU), issued suspension and dismissal letters to most of the workers, fifty-seven (57) of whom were union activists. On 1st December 2009, the company notified the Ministry of Labour, that it had arbitrarily terminated the Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) and commenced the process of de-recognising the legitimate union.

Since then, much has transpired, including the debating of a motion in the National Assembly on this issue and continued actions by the Ministry of Labour and the Trade Union Recognition Board to remove the legitimate representative of the workers, the GB & GWU, from being the recognised Union at that enterprise. Meanwhile, those unfortunate workers remain off the job with no visible efforts by the Ministry of Labour or the Minister to have the dispute resolved.

In his letter, dated 13th January 2010, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Robert Corbin, M.P., urged the Minister of Labour, Mr. Mansoor Nadir, M.P., to ensure that the Company honours the C.L.A and the Laws of Guyana, He expressed his deep concern, and that of the People’s National Congress Reform, over this prolonged dispute and called upon him to intervene, as he is legally empowered to do, in the interest of the affected Guyanese workers. At that time, the Minister was advised that the Company was engaged in Union busting tactics of compelling workers to sign withdrawal of membership Forms from their Union as a precondition for retention of their employment and also forced to sign a company prepared petition, requesting the de-legitimization of the Union. It was also emphasised that this unwholesome episode had grave implications for industrial relations in Guyana and could set unacceptable precedents. The recent action by the Barama Company, in dismissing hundreds of workers on a flimsy excuse, was, therefore, not surprising, albeit, the reaction of the Government in this matter reflected double standards and unequal treatment of workers under the law in violation of the Constitution of Guyana.

After one-year of inaction by the PPP/C Administration, the People’s National Congress Reform is convinced that this is no longer a mere industrial dispute. Rather, it has become a political matter affecting the good governance of Guyana. It is obvious that the expressions of concern and views expressed by the majority of stakeholders, including, the Parliament of Guyana, are of no concern to the Jagdeo Regime. The PNCR, however, will not stand idly by while the unlawfully and vindictively dismissed workers remain off the job and the dispute remains unresolved.

The Party stands resolutely with the Bauxite Union and its members to find a solution to this impasse and will take all legitimate action in support of their cause.

Over the past year, the PNCR had, by several Press Releases and by a Motion in Parliament, highlighted the issue facing bauxite workers and their employers, RUSAL.

The anti- working class position, of the PPP/C Government’s has been manifested in its unbridled support for RUSAL’s hostility and disrespect of the bauxite workers in their employ, and for the laws of Guyana. The Minister of Labour, whose remit, in matters of industrial disputes is that of an impartial mediator, openly sided with the foreign company by criticising the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (G.B. & G.W.U). Moreover, it will be remembered that the long serving Chief Labour Officer, Mr. Mohamed Akeel, who only recently, in June 2009, mediated in the dispute concerning poor Occupational Health and Safety standards in RUSAL, on behalf of the Government, was employed by RUSAL as its adviser on labour matters and presumably became the chief adviser on tactics by RUSAL against their workers.

The assault on the rights of workers, by both the Government and the private sector, is not new and has continued unabated, while the Ministry of Labour appears impotent to undertake its responsibilities. Over the past years, Guyanese have witnessed the Government setting the wrong example: by the unilateral cessation of the check off system for union dues from public servants; the abandonment of collective bargaining in violation of ILO conventions to which Guyana is a signatory; the willful and malicious withholding of subventions approved by the Parliament for the Critchlow Labour College; and, the seizure of land donated to the Guyana Public Service Union. Regrettably, some private sector agencies have followed the Government’s atrocious example. The recent actions of the Barama Company are the latest example.

The situation in the Bauxite sector has, however, reached crisis proportions. The workers at Aroaima have been left for nearly a year at the mercy of this foreign Company that has arrogantly refused to honour the collective labour Agreement with the Union. This situation cannot be allowed to continue. The Government, as usual, has its double standards in the differential treatment to various categories of workers. The speed with which the Ministry of Labour intervenes in strikes by sugar workers is in sharp contradiction to the total neglect for bauxite workers, giving validity to the PNCR often repeated allegation of discrimination by the PPP/C against bauxite workers.

The PNCR will continue to lend support to the legitimate struggle of workers, in Guyana, to protect their interests and will provide any support, requested by the bauxite workers.

In a letter (attached) dated today, 19th November 2010, seeking an urgent meeting with the Minister of Labour, on this issue, the Leader of the Opposition has again urged the Government, even at this late hour, to honour their legal and constitutional duty. The PNCR once again calls on the Jagdeo Administration to have this matter resolved without any further delay.

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.

Registration is your right and duty!

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Friday 19 November 2010

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


November 19, 2010

The Hon. Minister of Labour,
Mr. Mansoor Nadir, MP,
Ministry of Labour,
Cornhill Street, Georgetown.

Dear Minister,
LABOUR DISPUTE AT RUSAL BERBICE OPERATIONS

November 22, 2010 will mark one year since the Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc. , BGCI, (RUSAL), in retaliation to strike action by the Bauxite and General Workers Union, issued suspension and dismissal letters to most of the workers, fifty-seven (57) of whom were union activists. On December 1, 2009, the company notified the Ministry of Labour, that it had arbitrarily terminated the Collective Labour Agreement and commenced the process of de-recognising the legitimate union.

Since then, much has transpired, including, the debating of a motion in the National Assembly on this issue and continued actions by the Ministry of Labour and the Trade Union Recognition Board to remove the legitimate representative of the workers, the GB&GWU, from being the recognised Union at that enterprise. Meanwhile, those unfortunate workers remain off the job with no visible efforts by the Ministry of Labour or you to have the dispute resolved.

In my letter dated January 13, 2010, urging you ensure that the Company honours the C.L.A and the Laws of Guyana, I expressed my deep concern, and that of the Peoples National Congress Reform, over this prolonged dispute and called upon you to intervene, as you are legally empowered to do, in the interest of the affected Guyanese workers. I advised then, that the Company was engaged in Union busting tactics of compelling workers to sign withdrawal of membership Forms from their Union as a precondition for retention of their employment and also forced them to sign a company prepared petition requesting the de-legitimization of the Union. I emphasised that this unwholesome episode had grave implications for industrial relations in Guyana and could set unacceptable precedents. The recent action by the Barama Company, in dismissing hundreds of workers on a flimsy excuse, was, therefore, not surprising, albeit, the reaction of the Government in this matter reflected double standards and unequal treatment of workers under the law in violation of the Constitution of Guyana.

After one-year of inaction, I do not believe that this is only an industrial issue. Rather, it has become a political matter affecting the good governance of Guyana. It is obvious that the expressions of concern and views expressed by the majority of stakeholders, including, the Parliament of Guyana, are of no concern to your Administration. The PNCR, however, will not stand idly while the unlawfully and vindictively dismissed workers remain off the job and the dispute unresolved. We stand resolutely with the Bauxite Union and its members in finding a solution to this impasse and we urge you. even at this late hour, to honour your legal and constitutional duty.

I wish to seek a meeting with you urgently to, hopefully, find a way forward. An urgent response would be highly appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

……………………………………
Robert H. O. Corbin, MP
Leader of the Opposition

C.c Mr. Lance Carberry, MP, Opposition Chief Whip
Mr. Raphael Trotman, MP, Leader, Alliance For Change
Mr. Everall Franklyn,M.P., GAP/ROAR
Mr. Charles Sampson, GB&GWU