PRESS STATEMENT By The People’s National Congress Reform To The Press Conference, Thursday, March 29, 2004 Hall of Heroes, Congress Place, Sophia

The People's National Congress Reform’s non-participation in today’s (March 29, 2004) Sitting of the National Assembly is reflective of the already stated position, that unless the serious issue of state sponsored death squad(s) was addressed there would not be business as usual. The PNCR since January 15, 2004 called for an independent and impartial inquiry into allegations of state-sponsored death squad(s) and the involvement of Minister Gajraj in directing its operations. Such an inquiry must comprise of suitably qualified and acceptable persons, including an international involvement. The need for Gajraj to demit office is also a precondition.

The call for this inquiry has been made by every significant religious, social and political organisation in Guyana and has been echoed by International Organisations and Governments. The fact that the Government feels comfortable to ignore all of these calls must be a matter of National Concern.

There is no doubt that the scourge of death squad(s) in Guyana and the President’s refusal to act in response to the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Guyanese have undermined the democratic process. It would therefore be hypocritical for the PNCR to sit in Parliament debating Bills, pretending all is well and that there is business as usual, when, the Rule of Law has collapsed, the social contract with the people is fundamentally breached and the democratic process totally undermined.

The government obviously has no desire to uphold the Constitution of Guyana which enshrines the fundamental right to life for every Guyanese citizen. Consequently, the PNCR will no longer deal with the death squad(s) issue in isolation. It must now be addressed within the context of good governance. Unless the issue of good governance is addressed, the democratic process in Guyana will also be dead.

The Leader of the PNCR and Opposition, Mr. Robert H. O. Corbin, will address the nation tomorrow Tuesday March 30, 2004 on these and other related matters.

People's National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana.
Monday, March 29, 2004