PRESS STATEMENT By the People’s National Congress Reform To the Press Conference on Thursday December 5th, 2002 In the Hall of Heroes, Congress Place, Sophia





SUMMARY:

 The Crime Wave continues.
 Intensified Police excesses.
 The Social Partners initiative on Shared Governance.
 The inconsistent Foreign Policy of the PPP/C hurting Guyana’s interest and image.
 PNCR Welfare Programme.
 Continued deterioration of economic and social conditions.

• This Party believes that a vital necessity for the success of the fight against crime is the earning of the confidence and the support of all communities throughout Guyana.
• The weakness and incompetence of the PPP/C administration is recognised internationally and is apparently being exploited by all and sundry.
• The PPP/C has fed the public much propaganda and from time to time there has been many promises but to date the record of the government on this score is disastrous
THE CRIME WAVE CONTINUES:

The Peoples National Congress Reform continues to be disturbed at the killing of members of the Guyana Police Force in the line of duty and the further deterioration in the crime and security situation in our country. We offer sympathy to the relatives of the young policeman who was gunned down during the bold daylight robbery on Regent Street on Tuesday December 3, 2002. We also express our sympathy to the other victims of that day’s events. We unequivocally condemn the brazen attacks on businesses by criminals who are taking advantage of the evident weaknesses of the GPF.

The recent events indicate that the anti-crime measures so far implemented have been ineffective, inappropriate or insufficient to cope with the situation. The Commissioner of Police must therefore seriously review the measures so far implemented, including the manner in which some sections of the Force have been carrying out their duties, with a view to taking corrective action. The PPP/C Government cannot escape its responsibility for National Security. Many of the measures recommended by the Crime communiqué were available to the Government long before the Social Partners initiative, but, the Government, for reasons, which still befuddles the mind, adamantly refused to implement them. They can still be implemented if the Government is serious about the crime and security situation.

Those measures, which in the opinion of the Police Commissioner are appropriate, can also be implemented and the Police Commissioner will have the full support of the PNCR, provided that, in their implementation there is no violation of the citizen’s fundamental rights, there are measures in place to control Police excesses and there are measures to give speedy redress to citizens who are victims of unlawful acts by the Police.

INTENSIFIED POLICE EXCESSES:

The PNCR notes with sadness the death of another young police rank killed in the line of duty. The crime spree which rocks our nation and terrorizes law-abiding citizens seems to show no sign of abating and indeed, may in some senses be seen to be getting worse. This Party sends its condolences to the close relatives and friends of the deceased Officer Constable Quincy James and we express to the Guyana Police Force our understanding of the trials and tribulations which your members have to endure at this time.

This Party believes that a vital ingredient for the success of the fight against crime is the earning by our Security Forces of the confidence and the support of all communities throughout Guyana. This will enhance the ability of the GPF to receive information and sympathy from our citizens. We do not believe that the nation can be assured of the ability of the GPF to provide service and protection when public respect for the Force is so severely compromised.

We are very disturbed by reports from citizens and in the media which indicate the reappearance of many of the excesses on the part of the Guyana Police Force which reduce the respect which citizens have for the Police and the confidence and esprit de corps of the Force.

The recent upsurge of searches without warrants, unnecessarily destructive searches in the homes of the innocent, brutality and unprovoked violence against citizens, lack of civility and respect for the public and the causing of mayhem cannot help the cause of the GPF. The reports of collaboration between some policemen and known criminals have not been refuted and does damage to the Force both in terms of the effect on the professional officers willing to do the right thing and the confidence which citizens can repose in the officers of law and order.

We believe that our call for a public inquiry into the operations of the Force, so that the government and the Force can determine the extent to which the public has been alienated and the professional operations compromised, has become even more urgent, relevant and appropriate. We note with satisfaction that the government may have finally seen the wisdom of our view. We urge them to move speedily to implement a thorough and transparent inquiry. Apart from the healing and restorative effect such an inquiry will generate, it will also give the officers in the Force an opportunity to give evidence of their own and make positive suggestions which will not only help restore morale but also public confidence. What could be more positive for Guyana than to hear our policemen articulating their own professional concept of the reforms necessary for the modernization and enhancement of the operational capacity, capabilities, efficiency and effectiveness of the Force? This will be a tremendous advance of the way forward in the eyes of all Guyanese in and out of Guyana!

We should also note indications that the government is now of the view that the reforms proposed by the Advisers from the Metropolitan Police Force under the assistance provided by the UK government should be immediately implemented. We urge the Government to make public the reforms proposed by the UK assistance so that all citizens can have some understanding of its intentions, priorities and likely effect We hope that this becomes an early reality but we are convinced that those reforms cannot by themselves be effective without the cleansing which will be promoted by an early and thorough public inquiry as one of the mechanisms for the restoration of public confidence in the GPF.

THE SOCIAL PARTNERS INITIATIVE ON SHARED GOVERNANCE:

The PNCR has received from the Social Partners its Background Paper as agreed at the Joint Consultation held on 11th September 2002. That consultation set the Social Partners a specific task to expand the proposal for a structured, ongoing and permanent consultative mechanism on shared governance.

In their Paper the Social Partners indicated that they were guided by the observations made at that Consultation and attempted to reflect the consensus reached. We welcome the successful completion of this first stage of the process and wish to commend the Social partners for their efforts so far. The PNCR believes that the Paper provides a good starting point for discussions that can lead to a common position for the process to be advanced.

THE INCONSISTENT FOREIGN POLICY OF THE PPP/C HURTING GUYANA’S INTERESTS AND IMAGE:

From time to time the PNCR has had cause to refer to the sad and deteriorated state of Guyana’s external relations. The PPP/C regime continues to have a bifurcated approach to its diplomatic initiatives with Minister Rohee carving out for himself the important area of foreign trade while the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Rudolph Insanally is undertaking an apparently hopeless struggle to give some element of credibility to our foreign policy.

The PNCR is reliably informed that Mr Rohee behaves like a lord unto himself taking instructions from and reporting only to the Central Committee of the PPP/C in Freedom House while the more qualified, sophisticated and experienced Dr Rudolph Insanally has been sidelined and marginalized by that clique.

Despite Minister Insanally’s best efforts, the Surinamese have shown little interest in the joint exploration of the resources in the EEZ area and continue to press their claim to the New River Triangle in Guyana. The PNCR hopes that the PPP/C would not squander the respected diplomatic foundation they inherited.

The weakness and incompetence of the PPP/C administration is recognised internationally and is apparently being exploited by all and sundry. Guyana’s carefully nurtured and beneficial relations with Brazil and Venezuela seem to be in danger. Venezuela has been granting concessions for petroleum exploration in the so-called disputed area without even a muted cry of resistance coming from the Guyana Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The continued duplicity and lawlessness of the Freedom House directed Jagdeo regime is once again demonstrated by them having Dr Rudolph Insanally performing the duties of both Minister of Foreign Affairs and Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. This is morally and legally wrong and should never be encouraged! The Guyana Government’s official website confirms this and so does the UN website and other official information sources. The PNCR is reliably informed that the Minister recently concluded a visit to the United Nations Mission in the capacity as Guyana’s Permanent Representative! We are surprised that someone with the training, exposure and experience of Dr Insanally would allow himself to be caught in the web of corruption spun by the PPP/C regime which continues to brazenly flaunt its total disregard and unconcern for the norms of civilized behaviour.

PNCR WELFARE PROGRAMME:

The Human Services Department under its energetic Head, Mrs. Volda Lawrence, M.P., provides assistance all year round to those in need. At this special season, they have begun to spread Christmas cheer.

Last Sunday, December 1st, the department made an early start with a party for Senior Citizens at the Bagotville Community Center. They were presented with gifts and enjoyed food and drink. The Leader, Mr. Hugh Desmond Hoyte, the Chairman, Mr. Robert Corbin, Mr. Lance Carberry, Ms. Cheryl Sampson were among those present to help entertain our guests.

On Saturday, December 14th, the children of Region 5 will be entertained at the annual Christmas party hosted by the National Congress of Women. This event will be held at the Falcon Crest Disco at Hopetown Village, West Coast Berbice. Children will come from the area between Mahaicony and Ithaca, West Bank Berbice.

CONTINUED DETERIORATION OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS:

As if the citizens have not had enough to cope with in the deteriorating security situation, they must also cope with a deteriorating economic situation. The PNCR has advocated for many years the importance of garnering of large-scale investment and the modernization of our investment climate. We have claimed that the government has not and indeed is incapable of organizing itself to bring to Guyana the scale and variety of private investment that our economy needs. We believe that the only way forward for Guyana’s economy is through investment which would provide the jobs for our people and the revenues for governmental programs and services. The most effective anti poverty programme is job creation.

The PPP/C has fed the public much propaganda and from time to time there have been many promises but to date the record of the government on this score is disastrous and the ordinary working-man and woman are painfully feeling the effects. The fact is that the PPP/C has no major investment to show for its time in office and we must conclude that they are either unwilling or incapable of generating the required policies and programmes.

We wish to remind all Guyanese of the programmes of the PNCR:

 We advocate a thorough investment code and an attractive incentives regime which would encourage and
motivate investors by providing some certainty regarding the intentions of the Government.

 We advocate tax reforms and a liberalization of the income tax structure

 We advocate the strengthening of our capital market and the modernization of the insurance and other
financial sectors.

 We advocate the privatization of all state owned media.

 We advocate the re-establishment of a development bank

 We advocate the enactment of a Freedom of Information act

 We advocate the capitalizing of Guyana’s strategic location in a privately funded Guyana 21 programme.


People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana.
December 5th, 2002