THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR FOR PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT--PRESS STATEMENT Friday13th January 2011




SUMMARY:
• The PNCR extends its condolences to the family and friends of the late of, ROY NARINE of Leguan who died on Tuesday 11th January 2011, COLVIN DOUGLAS, of Beterverwagting Village who died on Sunday 2nd January 2011, ANN MARIA GILL, who died on Friday 7th January 2011, SHIRLEY KENNEDY who died on Friday 7th January 2011 and prominent journalist Mr. CLEM DAVID;
• The People’s National Congress Reform expects that the national programme for the International Year for People of African Descent would include tangible actions to address the many concerns of the African dominated communities, which have been the subject of discussion for many years;
• The Leader of the Opposition and PNCR, Mr. Robert Corbin, M.P., met with President Jagdeo at the Office of the President on Tuesday last to discuss a number of issues of concern, particularly the functioning of the Linden Town Council and the development of the Linden community;
• The Party’s Presidential Candidate Process will move into its next stage this week by the commencement of several country-wide meetings where the nominees will address the public and respond to issues.

CONDOLENCES
The Leader, Central Executive and members of the People’s National Congress Reform express our condolences to the family (his spouse, Charmaine, five children, including Warren, Lonsdale and Sonja), relatives and friends of the late Clement David who departed life, at the age of 63, on Thursday 6th January 2011at his Eccles home after an extended period of illness.

Clem, as he was affectionately and familiarly known, spent 40 years of his life in the Guyanese media, spanning radio, print and television, in all of which he excelled. He began his career at the Guyana Chronicle and developed the reputation as a stickler for high professional journalistic, broadcasting and media standards. Clem joined the now defunct Guyana Broadcasting Corporation as an Announcer and progressed to occupy the post of Editor-in-Chief up to 1992 when, like many other competent and capable Guyanese, he found himself unwelcome in the State-owned media when the PPP acceded to Office.

Clem turned his considerable talents to the television media and emerged as the pioneering Talk Show host on Guyanese television with his “Sunrise Show” on CNS TV Channel 6. He also served as Editor-in-Chief of VCT Channel 28, then owned by Mr. Anthony Vieira.

Clem eventually teamed up with Mr. Chandra Naraine Sharma, owner of CNS Channel 6 and Leader of the Justice For All Party (JFAP). Clem became the Party’s Prime Ministerial candidate for two elections and a Region #4 Councillor until he was forced by his illness to withdraw.

May his soul rest in eternal peace!

Other messages of condolence
The PNCR also wishes to extend condolence to the families, relatives and friends of Party members Colvin Douglas, Marva Ann Gill, Roy Naraine and Shirley Kennedy.

May their souls rest in peace and rise in glory!

THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR FOR PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT

In its last Press Statement, the PNCR undertook to make a more definitive statement on the International Year for People of African Descent after consultation with representative organizations. In that Statement the PNCR asserted that, “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 PNCR, further stated that, as a major political Party in Guyana with acknowledged African support, it was never been formally invited to participate in the planning of the programme while the PPP has sought to exercise control to engineer the outcome. The Party also referred to the shocking report of the planned State launching of this event where it is proposed to place the main oppressor of African Guyanese over the past nineteen years to dominate to the extent that, no prominent African Guyanese who holds different views from that of the ruling party would appear on the opening programme at which President Jagdeo was scheduled to make the feature presentation.

The PNCR had also stated in its release that, 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.

In a garbled response, the Chairman of the “so-called” National Committee, failed to address the issues raised by the PNCR and sought to confuse the public by outlining meetings held, listing the names of participants of African descent and placing the name of the Organisation to which he presumed they were members, next to their names. The response, however, confirms the PNCR’s assertions since the statement failed to refer to any initiative to invite the acknowledged Organisations of African Guyanese to participate in the planning of the programme. The fact that the statement claimed not to know of the existence of the All African Council of African Organisations further exposes the farce of involvement. Accusing the PNCR of engaging in the instigation of public distrust and public mischief, the Statement then proceeded to implore the PNCR to get involved. Significantly, the statement claimed that, “Government had signaled that the door is still open to the PNCR” confirming that the door was presumably closed before the PNCR’s statement.

The Statement also failed to address the content of the statement made by twelve the Authentic African Organizations, one of which represents sixteen groups, which categorically stated their non-involvement and expressed displeasure at the process used by the Guyana Government to create its programme of observance. They also called for the postponement of any launching programme until a mutually agreed upon National UN Year for People of African Descent programme is established. One would have expected that any responsible and concerned committee would have positively addressed these concerns and sought to meet urgently with this group rather than engage in futile exchanges.

The PNCR, therefore, does not propose to engage in exchanges which are intended to distract from the essential issue. The Party is more concerned that the year’s programme fulfills the mandate of the United Nations in every respect.

On 18th December 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the year beginning on 1st January 2011, as the International Year for People of African Descent. In doing so the UN stated that, “The Year aims at strengthening national actions and regional and international cooperation for the benefit of people of African descent in relation to their full enjoyment of economic, cultural, social, civil and political rights, their participation and integration in all political, economic, social and cultural aspects of society, and the promotion of a greater knowledge of and respect for their diverse heritage and culture.”

The mandate of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, established by Commission on Human Rights (resolution 2002/68 of 25 April 2002,) was subsequently expanded to include, inter alia:

a) To study the problems of racial discrimination faced by people of African descent living in the Diaspora and, to that end, gather all relevant information from Governments, non-governmental organizations and other relevant sources, including through the holding of public meetings with them;
b) To propose measures to ensure full and effective access to the justice system by people of African descent;
c) To submit recommendations on the design, implementation and enforcement of effective measures to eliminate racial profiling of people of African descent;
d) To make proposals on the elimination of racial discrimination against Africans and people of African descent in all parts of the world;
e) To address all the issues concerning the well-being of Africans and people of African descent contained in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action;
f) To elaborate short-, medium- and long-term proposals for the elimination of racial discrimination against people of African descent, bearing in mind the need for close collaboration with international and development institutions and the specialized agencies of the United Nations system to promote the human rights of people of African descent through, inter alia, the following activities:
(i) Improving the human rights situation of people of African descent by devoting special attention to their needs through, inter alia, the preparation of specific programmes of action;
(ii) Designing special projects, in collaboration with people of African descent, to support their initiatives at the community level and to facilitate the exchange of information and technical know-how between these populations and experts in these areas;
(iii) Liaising with financial and developmental institutional and operational programmes and specialized agencies of the United Nations, with a view to contribute to the development programmes intended for people of African descent by allocating additional investments to health systems, education, housing, electricity, drinking water and environmental control measures and promoting equal opportunities in employment, as well as other affirmative or positive measures and strategies within the human rights framework”

It should be obvious to all, therefore, that the year 2011 is not one for token celebrations, but an opportunity to address serious issues affecting the African Diaspora. Significantly, the Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon delivered an impassioned speech on 10th December 2010 to usher in this significant year. In that address he emphasized that,

“The international community cannot accept that whole communities are marginalized because of the colour of their skin,” “People of African descent are among those most affected by racism. Too often, they face denial of basic rights such as access to quality health services and education. Such fundamental wrongs have a long and terrible history.”
“The international community has affirmed that the transatlantic slave trade was an appalling tragedy not only because of its barbarism but also because of its magnitude, organized nature and negation of the essential humanity of the victims.”
“Even today, Africans and people of African descent continue to suffer the consequences of these acts,” he added, calling for their full integration into social, economic and political life and at all levels of decision-making.”

The PNCR expects that the national programme would include tangible actions to address the many concerns of the African dominated communities, which have been the subject of discussion for many years. The issue of marginalized communities, ancestral lands, infrastructure in various communities and employment are only a few that must assume paramountcy. The proposals by the late Leader of the PNCR, Mr. Desmond Hoyte for a model programme of development must be brought back on the table for discussion and implementation. Additionally, the Motion which the PNCR took to the Parliament on ancestral lands must be recommitted for discussion if Guyanese are to take seriously the programme for 2011.

With the exposure of the reality surrounding the present proposed Government programme it is hoped that efforts will now be made to have a mutually acceptable national programme that seriously addresses the fundamental issues affecting people of African descent in Guyana.

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION AND PRESIDENT JAGDEO DISCUSS ISSUES OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT

The Leader of the Opposition and PNCR, Mr. Robert Corbin, M.P., met with President Bharrat Jagdeo at the Office of the President on Tuesday last to discuss a number of issues of concern, particularly the functioning of the Linden Town Council and the development of the Linden community. The meeting arranged at the request of the Leader of the Opposition was intended to resolve the continued interference in the management of the Council at Linden by the Ministry of Local Government which has led to almost a state of anarchy. The Interim Management Committee has been unable to function efficiently and more significantly the management and control of their staff appears to have devolved to the Minister and the Ministry. After frank discussion on the issues it has been agreed that a joint approach by the Leader of the Opposition and the Minister of Local Government will be made to have all outstanding issues resolved. The Minister and the Leader of the Opposition would be in Linden tomorrow, Friday 14th January to meet with all parties concerned.

Accompanying Mr. Corbin to the meeting were Regional Chairman, Mr. Mortimer Mingo and Chairman of the Interim Management Committee, Mr. Orin Gordon while the President had in attendance the Minister of Local Government, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, and Ms. Gail Texiera, Adviser on Governance. The PNCR looks forward to the early resolution of the issues of concern.

The meeting also addressed outstanding issues relating to the appointment of the Constitutional Commissions. Among the matters agreed was the early appointment of the Human Rights Commission. The Leader of the Opposition will shortly submit a list from which the Chairman of such a body would be identified.

UPDATE ON THE PARTY’S PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE PROCESS

The PNCR wishes to announce that all of the Party’s Presidential Nominees attended a Special Central Executive Committee Meeting last evening whereat they were briefed on the next steps of the process which include the Party sponsored “Town Hall Style” meetings and preparations for the Special Congress scheduled for 26th February 2011.

The meeting also finalised the Code of Behaviour and Conduct which the nominees will sign on to later.


People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Friday13th January 2011

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