PPP AND JAGDEO ATTEMPTING POLITICAL HIJACKING OF THE UN YEAR FOR PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT--PRESS STATEMENT Friday 7th January 2011




SUMMARY:
• The People’s National Congress Reform puts President Jagdeo and the PPP on notice that their sinister plan to remain in office beyond the Constitutional deadline will not succeed;
• The unconscionable destruction of their property by Agents of the Jagdeo regime is clearly provocative and intended to disturb the peace of the City of Georgetown;
• It is a most worrying and dangerous development when it can be perceived that ruling Administrations in the Region can use their influence on CARICOM to deprive Caribbean citizens of the right to work;
• The actions of the PPP/C regime have clearly demonstrated that Jagdeo and his Party are seeking to use the Year for People of African Descent for political and electioneering purposes, rather than in the interest of the people for whom the year has been dedicated;
• No one can question the competence and qualification of Dr. Surujbally to perform as Chairman of the new Guyana Livestock Development Authority, but it is known that the Constitutional provisions require him to refrain from other employment;
• The Party’s Presidential Candidate Process Committee met at its first meeting for the year 2011 and reviewed the position with respect to responses received from the nine nominees, who had previously indicated their acceptance of the nomination, and submitted their relevant Curriculum Vitae and Bio Data by the closing date of 3rd January 2011.

PPP DEVIOUS PLOT TO REMAIN IN OFFICE

The People’s National Congress Reform puts President Jagdeo and the PPP/C on notice that their sinister plan to remain in office beyond the Constitutional deadline will not succeed. Since September 2010, the PNCR had been acutely aware of the efforts by President Jagdeo to find a way of remaining in Office beyond his Constitutional mandate. First he sought three legal opinions on how this objective could be attained. All the legal advice which he has obtained and which the PNCR has seen have advised that this is neither legally nor constitutionally possible. The last opinion advised that unless there is a National emergency there is no way of delaying the General and Regional Elections. More details were later sought on how that emergency could be created. The warped reasoning of the President and his men was that the elections were delayed in 1990 for two years and the PPP/C period in Office after the 1997 elections was cut short by one year. Consequently, the PPP/C should use all means at its disposal to regain this period under President Jagdeo since all efforts to achieve a third term in office have gained no support either within the PPP hierarchy or the wider society.

It is in this context that Guyanese must analyse recent developments, including the trumped up treason charges against three Guyanese, the appointment of the Chairman of the Elections Commission as Chairman of the new Guyana Livestock Development Authority, the attempts to burn down the Enterprise Government school, the recent explosions and the unconscionable actions of dismantling the stalls around Stabroek Market, thus placing into jeopardy the livelihood of over four hundred Guyanese citizens struggling to eke out an existence in difficult circumstances.

DESTRUCTION OF VENDORS’ STALLS IS AN ATTACK ON HARD WORKING GUYANESE

The PNCR, therefore, condemns the destruction of the vendors’ stalls around Stabroek Market under the excuse of security considerations after the recent explosion of a grenade which killed one person and injured at least nineteen others. The decision to dismantle the stalls and provoke unrest and instability was taken long before the grenade explosion. Before the explosion on Wednesday 5th January 2011, some vendors were alerted to the impending action and urged to remove their produce to avoid losses. The excuse of the grenade explosion will, therefore, fool no one.

Many of these vendors have been struggling to make a living in a legal manner in circumstances where no jobs are available. Their right to work and earn a living is enshrined in the Guyana Constitution. Moreover, the issue of vendors selling around Stabroek Market was the subject of a Court ruling by Madam Justice Desiree Bernard when similar action was attempted before the last Cricket World Cup. The compromise arrived at then was that the Vendors would be permitted to ply their trade between the hours of 6:00 am to 6:00 pm daily, that their stalls would be removed at the end of the day and that they would maintain their selling area in a clean and tidy condition. It is obvious that the right of the Vendors to sell was a concession won and amounts to a license by the Georgetown City Council. Any attempt to revoke that license, therefore, ought to have been accompanied by proper notice and at least prior notification.

No sane Guyanese would fail to support action to bring order and cleanliness around the Stabroek Market. No sane Guyanese would also question any efforts to ensure the security of citizens. Indeed, this is the function of the Guyana Police Force that has been boasting of their intensified efforts, particularly during the last holiday season, to ensure security around Georgetown. Throughout this period, no serious incidents occurred so it is mind boggling how this sudden explosion of a hand grenade would lead to the present actions of the PPP/C regime. The unconscionable destruction of their property by Agents of the Jagdeo regime is clearly provocative and intended to disturb the peace of the City of Georgetown. It is significant that this action was managed without the knowledge of the elected Council of the City and under the direction of the Ministers of Local Government, Mr. Kellawan Lall, Minister of Demolition Works, Mr. Robeson Benn and Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Clement Rohee. Mr. Kellowan Lall using his alleged powers as Minister took control of the Staff of City Council who are now working under his direct control. This latest incident and other recent incidents at the Linden Town Council explain why the PPP/C after more than ten years of planning for Local Government Reform has refused to proceed with the reform of the Local Government System.

The PNCR is, therefore, in full support of the Vendors who have a Constitutional right to represent their interests. We call on the Jagdeo Administration to cease these provocative actions which can only disturb the peace we have enjoyed over the past years. These Vendors have a right to work and it is the duty of the State to provide the conditions for them to make a decent and honest living. The PNCR will continue to make representation on behalf of these stall holders until an amicable resolution is found.


CARICOM MUST NOT BECOME AN EXTENSION OF JAGDEO’S DICTATORIAL REGIME

The PNCR has written the Secretary General of CARICOM and copied its letter to all Heads of Government of the Region, expressing its concern over the non-renewal of the contract of Mr. Carl Greenidge after statements of no confidence by the Government of Guyana. The non-renewal of the contract of Mr. Carl Greenidge sends a strong signal that can only damage the confidence of the people of the Region in this institution that is still struggling to obtain maximum confidence of the people of the Region.

The right to work is not only enshrined in the Constitution of Guyana, but also in the Civil Rights Charter of CARICOM. It is, therefore, a most worrying and dangerous development, when it can be perceived that ruling Administrations in the Region can use their influence on CARICOM to deprive Caribbean citizens of this right. It is not the first time that individuals with differing opinions with their Governments have been employed by the CARICOM. Indeed, two previous employees have demitted office at CARICOM to become Prime Ministers of their respective countries. It is also known that individuals with differing political opinions have enjoyed consultancies with CARICOM. One recent example is the former Prime Minister of Barbados who after losing Office enjoyed a consultancy even while serving as an Opposition Member of Parliament. In these circumstances, one must question the double standards of this institution and its Officials. It is hoped that Regional Heads will not allow this matter to be swept under the carpet so that dangerous precedents are set for this regional institution. It is also hoped that CARICOM Heads will not allow themselves to be compromised on a matter of principle and the PNCR expects a proper response from that body.

The action of the Jagdeo dictatorship in depriving people of their right to work is not unknown. It commenced as soon as they attained Office in 1992 by the unwarranted dismissal of several serving members of the Staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This behavior has continued unabated over the years, but it must not be allowed to infect the Regional movement. In this “Year of Redemption”, it is to be hoped that Guyanese would take the requisite action to relieve our country from this growing dictatorship.

PPP AND JAGDEO ATTEMPTING POLITICAL HIJACKING OF THE UN YEAR FOR PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT

The actions of the PPP/C regime have clearly demonstrated that Jagdeo and his Party are seeking to use the “Year for People of African Descent” for political and electioneering purposes, rather than in the interest of the people for whom the year has been dedicated. The first action by the Administration was to exclude all legitimate organizations representing African Guyanese from formal representation on their so called National Committee. Instead, that party has sought to manipulate individuals of African descent to give the false impression that Guyanese of African descent are fully involved in the programme. The PNCR is aware that the important known Organisations of African people have not been formally involved. This includes the African Cultural Development Association (ACDA), the Pan African Congress and the Council of African Organisations of Guyana.

The PNCR, as a major political Party in Guyana with acknowledged African support, has also never been formally invited to participate while the PPP has sought to exercise control over the programme by placing its well known front man, James Rose to engineer the outcome.

More shocking is the report of the planned state launching of this event later in January where it is proposed to place the main oppressor of African Guyanese over the past nineteen years to dominate. Latest information is that the President has instructed that no prominent African Guyanese that holds different views from that of the ruling party should appear on the opening programme at which he is scheduled to make the feature presentation. Guyanese ought to take note of these developments so that they are not duped into supporting a partisan political event. The PNCR will shortly make a more definitive statement on this event after discussions with the legitimate Organisations of African Guyanese.

THE APPOINTMENT OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE ELECTIONS COMMISSION AS CHAIRMAN OF THE LIVESTOCK AUTHORITY IS CONSTITUTIONALLY QUESTIONABLE

The PNCR has noted with dismay the apparent acceptance by the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, Mr. Steve Surujbally, of the position of Chairman of the new Guyana Livestock Development Authority. No one can question the competence and qualification of Dr. Surujbally to perform as Chairman of this body, but it is known that the Constitutional provisions require him to refrain from other employment. Whether or not a distinction can be made between paid and unpaid employment is a matter for judicial interpretation. Indeed, this issue recently attracted the attention of the Court in the matter of Justice Prem Persaud being Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission and also being Chairman of another Constitutional Body. However, irrespective of the judicial interpretation, Mr. Surujbally ought to have known that 2011 is Election Year: a year fraught with challenges for GECOM. In such circumstances one must question the appropriateness of accepting such an appointment at this time in the charged political environment of Guyana.

The PNCR has noted inferences in the national newspaper that political parties were consulted and agreed to his acceptance of this post. The PNCR wishes to make it clear that it gave no such endorsement. In any event, at the time the information was made known to the PNCR, the Letter of appointment, dated 16 August 2010 and signed by the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Robert Persaud had already been issued to Mr. Surujbally indicating that Cabinet had previously approved his appointment. In these circumstances it is difficult to fathom that Cabinet would have made such an appointment before consultation with the proposed appointee. AS the PNCR has earlier stated, it sees this appointment as part of the Jagdeo’s plan to create controversy to facilitate a crisis to prolong his stay in Office and the Party would be carefully monitoring developments to achieve this objective.

PNCR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE PROCESS

The Party’s Presidential Candidate Process Committee met at its first meeting for the year 2011 on Tuesday 4th January, and reviewed the position with respect to responses received from the nine nominees, who had previously indicated their acceptance of the nomination, and submitted their relevant Curriculum Vitae and Bio Data by the closing date of 3rd January 2011.

Six of the nine nominees had so responded and the Committee proceeded to evaluate those responses. They were all found to be in order in every material particular and as a consequence were recommended to the Central Executive Committee as being suitable Candidates.

The Central Executive Committee meeting of Wednesday 5th January 2011 received the Report of the Committee and approved of the recommendations. The six nominees who were approved by the Central Executive Committee are:

(1) Mr. James Bond
(2) Mr. David Granger
(3) Mr. Carl Greenidge
(4) Dr, Faith Harding
(5) Mr. Bishwaishwar “Cammie” Ramsaroop
(6) Mr. Basil Williams.

However, we wish to indicate that since then Mr. Bishwaishwar “Cammie” Ramsaroop withdrawn his nomination.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Friday 7th January 2011

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