PRESS STATEMENT By The People’s National Congress Reform To The Press Conference, Thursday November 21st, 2002 Hall of Heroes, Congress Place, Sophia
* The Lawless Minister of Health.
* Absence of PNCR M.P.’s from the National Assembly.
* Phantom Investors.
* The pathetic Dr. Prem Misir.
* PNCR’s Policy on Human Development.
In any properly administered country, the role of the government is to uphold the rule of law. The citizens should be able to look to public figures for example and pattern. A government which deliberately and callously flouts the laws and regulations for orderly governance and then proudly boasts of this fact is sowing the seeds of chaos and encouraging the disintegration of civilised life. The recent declaration by the Minister of Health that he has broken and will continue to break the laws and regulations with impunity, and his publicly declared position that he is immune from sanction because his lawbreaking has the support of the President himself and that the President endorses such conduct should be noted with care by those inside and outside of Guyana who have appointed themselves as apologists on behalf of this regime. It would be instructive to recap the sins of omission and commission of the miscreant Minister of Health.
The Lawless Mr. Ramsammy:
You would recall that we had brought to public attention that Mr. Ramsammy was in the practice of corrupt dealings and financial improprieties in the line of duty. One of the things we highlighted was a handwritten note by Health Minister Ramsammy to the Chief Executive Officer of the GPHC instructing that the sum of $120,000 be made available to him in order to pay his son’s school fees since the Office of the President had not yet paid him his allowances. We pointed to two issues of wrong doing here. In the first place, it was improper for Mr. Ramsammy to ask for and be given an advance from any public institution. He is a Member of Parliament and receives his salary and allowances from the Parliament. Any advance therefore should only be authorized and paid by Parliament Office. In the second place, Mr. Ramsammy sought to deceive by stating that he was entitled to allowances from the Office of the President in excess of $120,000.
After our public disclosure, Mr. Ramsammy issued a lengthy statement in which he claimed that he took the money to help staff members who wanted advances on their salaries.
We have a copy of the Minister’s handwritten note to the CEO claiming that he wanted the money to pay his son’s school fees. Caught in this atrocious corrupt act and trying to obtain the sympathy of the public, the Minister said on national television that he took it to give to workers since he was sorry for them. Then the President confuses the situation even further by saying the money was for an autopsy. What is the truth? Cannot the minister of health and the President improve on their evasions? Their practice of deceiving the public has caught them in the web of their own sick and outrageous behaviours.
To further glorify his corrupt acts and blatant disregard and contempt for honesty and public responsibility and accountability, the Minister on national television and in the presence of no less a personage than former President Janet Jagan stated that he will break the rules as he saw fit and that the President would not fire him because the President is well aware of what he and all of them are doing. What disastrous consequences are the PPP/C leading this nation into?
Absence of PNC MP's from the National Assembly:
The PNC Reform has noted an orchestrated campaign by the PPP/Civic including letters by its team of paid scribblers in the GINA offices on Homestretch Avenue attempting to make some political mileage of the PNCR studied absence from the sittings of parliament such as they are. Suffice it to say that the attempts by the PPP/C to make much of this issue in light of their own absence from Parliament from April 10th to August 31st , 1992 for which period they continued to collect their salaries and allowances from Parliament office is arrant hypocrisy. The PNCR Members of Parliament continue to carry out their duties as representatives of the people and will therefore have nothing more to say on this issue.
One of the sorry aspects of the record of the PPP/C is its inability to attract serious investment to Guyana and its frequent claims of massive investment flows which never materialise. The most outstanding example of this is of course the Investment from Beal Aerospace which was supposed to bring US$100 million in investment and generate significant employment and other benefits. It, of course, never materialised but the whole history of the PPP/C is the fanfare of a new investment that is then quickly forgotten. How many remember the US$75 million dollar project announced in April 1998 which was supposed to bring huge investment by a Canadian Conglomerate from Quebec. What about the various announcements of a done deal for a bridge over the Berbice River? What has happened to the Amelia Hydro-Power Project? The harsh reality is that Guyana has an unfavourable climate for investment because of corruption, bad governance, the absence of an investment code and obscure investment policies. It is small wonder that the Development Finance Corporation has changed its plans to locate their operations in Guyana and opted for the more friendly and organised climes of Suriname. This is another blow to our prestige and development prospects for which the government must accept full responsibility.
The Pathetic Dr. Misir:
The PNCR has consistently brought to public attention the deliberate politicising of the functions of civil administration by the appointment of politicians to public service positions. We have for example pointed to the disastrous consequences of the appointment of Dr Luncheon, a politically partisan figure to the position of Head of the Public Service and the election of Mr. Hydar Ally the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Education to the Central Committee of the PPP/C. There are other figures whose notoriety has become more visible. Today we wish to draw attention to the position of Dr. Prem Misir who is head of GINA which is supposed to be a government information service organization. Under his watch, however, this organisation has become a shameless mouthpiece of the PPP/C and displays no scruples nor is there any limit to the dirty work it is willing to do for the PPP/C. It routinely plants fictitious letters in the media often using the names of innocent citizens as cover for it nastiness and maligns public persons for no good reason. Many of its letters and releases are disgustingly racist or sectarian in tone. What is worse, Dr Misir himself who at one stage in his life purported to be an academic has been appointed the public defender of the PPP/C in response to PNCR press releases and statements. Among one of his more amusing pronouncement is his claim that the PNCR manifesto contained material plagiarized from the PPP/C, a story he knows to be untrue and a claim unworthy of a man with his education.
PNCR's Policy on Human Development:
The PNCR wishes to congratulate all of the graduands at the recent convocation of the University of Guyana. We note that despite the economic and social pressures which our young people face, so many of them have had the will and the ability to complete their courses of study and to earn degrees and diplomas.
It is unfortunate that the economic and development climate in Guyana is not a welcoming one for our new graduates and that they leave university at a time when the prospects for jobs and professional growth are at its lowest point in our country’s history. It is instructive to note that the best graduating student and winner of the President’s medal had to return from employment out of Guyana to deliver the valedictorian address. This serves to dramatise the point that to many of our young people, the opportunities for useful and remunerative employment with their skills and enthusiasm are bleaker than it has ever been.
The fact is that the government has no serious human development plan, no manpower resources development programme, no viable programme for development and investment which is the only proven way of providing job opportunities for qualified young people.
It is appropriate at this time to remind the nation of the PNCR approach to development. We emphasise the following points from our manifesto.
• The need to ensure that private initiative and entrepreneurship underpin the development thrust of Guyana
• Guyana’s development is fundamentally dependent on access to, and the involvement of, all the human resources that could be available to Guyana’s development effort.
• The educational and other opportunities that technological advances, particularly in relation to information technology, provide for pursuing Guyana’s development
• We are convinced that the enhancement of human capital lies at the heart of the vision articulated in our economic programmes.
• Reform of the education system will be at the forefront of the political and administrative agenda of the PNCR.
• Human resource development for Guyana will be the mechanism for social transformation by the empowerment and enhancement of individual and community capabilities.
Congress Place, Sophia
Thursday November 21st, 2002
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