PRESS STATEMENT By The People’s National Congress Reform To The Press Conference on Thursday, April 29, 2004 Hall of Heroes, Congress Place, Sophia
• The People’s National Congress Reform reiterates its solidarity with the struggling workers for a living wage.
• Guyanese will continue to use all legitimate means to take back their country from the chaos and disaster.
• The PNCR’s leadership and general membership vehemently condemns the torching of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the adoption of terror tactics to scare and distract the populace from its focus of returning the rule of law to Guyana and improving the delivery of good governance.
• The PNCR does not take issue with the creation of a public holiday in the recognition of the Indo-Guyanese contribution to Guyana.
MAY DAY MESSAGE
The People’s National Congress Reform extends greetings to all the workers of Guyana and their Trade Unions as they observe May Day, 2004.
As is customary on this day, workers will march under the banner of their Unions to demonstrate their solidarity with one another in their common struggle for improved working conditions and more generally for a better way of life for their families.
This May Day follows on the heels of the presentation of the 2004 National Budget, which holds out no hope of improvement for the working people of Guyana. With spiraling unemployment as the order of the day, the Budget does not project any new polices aimed at creating employment for the thousands of graduates from tertiary institutions, including the University of Guyana, who cannot access lawful employment.
As we celebrate this May Day 2004 it is an appropriate opportunity to recount the People’s Progressive Party Civic regime’s contemptuous behaviour towards the Guyanese workers and their unions.
Despite its claims of being a workers Party, the People’s Progressive Party:
• continues to undermine the collective bargaining process as well as internationally accepted industrial relations norms and practices;
• Threatens and uses big stick methods against trade unions which pursue their constitutional rights to protest, demonstrate and identify with any lawful struggle;
• Continues to corrupt the Trade Union Recognition process;
• Denies workers the fruits of court judgments; and,
• Withholds the customary and much needed annual subvention to the Guyana Trades Union Congress;
The People’s National Congress Reform reiterates its solidarity with the struggling workers for a living wage. The Party continues to support the struggle against the vindictive closure of entities and the discriminatory lay off of workers; against widespread corruption; mismanagement; lack of accountability; and injustice.
We call on the Jagdeo Regime to heed our call for the involvement of civil society and the Trade Union movement in particular in the search for a new system of Governance before the next elections. The working people of Guyana deserve no less.
Despite these numerous challenges the Party wishes all workers a Happy May Day 2004.
RULE OF LAW MARCH – THE THIRD WAVE
At this very moment, Guyanese from various communities are preparing to gather at the Parliament Building Square for the continuation of public demonstrations for the restoration of the rule of law in Guyana. Today’s activity, organized by the People’s Movement for Justice, demonstrates that there will be no let up in the people’s demand for a full and independent inquiry into State sponsored death squads. Recent efforts by the PPP/C to dirty the names of the organizers and the demonstrators have only energized the struggle and strengthened our resolve. Guyanese will continue to march. Guyanese will continue to make their voices heard. Guyanese will continue to use all legitimate means to take back their country from the chaos and disaster.
The desperation and panic now being seen in the PPP/C camp clearly shows that the regime fully understands how determined the people are to take this matter to the end. The PNCR warns the nation to expect from Freedom House more and more desperate tactics regardless of the cost to the nation. The Chowtie Affair exposed to the entire country and the world the identity of the masterminds behind the criminal terror perpetrated on families on the East Coast. But cornered and exposed as it is, Freedom House will be more vicious. Guyanese therefore must be vigilant and resolute. Our own survival and that of the country are at stake.
FIRES AT THE MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS
The ominous signs of political mischief were evident on Sunday night last when news broke that the Ministry of Home Affairs had been the target of arsonists. The PNCR has already issued a Statement on this matter.
That Luncheon at his recent Press Conference sought to blame these developments on the PNCR is appalling. It is evident that the adoption of terror tactics are designed to scare and distract the populace from its focus of returning the rule of law to Guyana and improving the delivery of good governance.
What the Chabrol incident and the fire at the Home Affairs Ministry reveal is the extent of the dangerous desperation that the PPP/C and its acolytes are prepared to go to deny the people of Guyana truth, justice and basic democratic norms and principles.
PRESIDENT’S COLLEGE FIRE
The recent fire at President’s College on Monday, April 26, 2004 was a painful event especially after the years of deliberate neglect of that institution by the Government. The significance of this institution to the PNCR is well known. The objective was to provide an opportunity for our most talented students to benefit from the best facilities for their advancement. Indeed this was the brain child of our late Founder Leader Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham. The PNCR has been on record in the past calling for the government to support President’s College by injecting the necessary resources to ensure that the college fulfils the dreams and aspirations of the students and parents who have been and are associated with it. The government, instead, has steadily denuded and eroded the ability of this once proud college to encourage and develop a pool of scholarship and talent from which the nation could draw to accelerate its development. It is evident that this fire could have been avoided if there was a genuine commitment to preserve this fine institution.
The Leader and members of the PNCR call on the government to spare no expense to restore the College to its former glory as a matter of urgency and to ensure foremost that the students affected by this negligence be properly accommodated and compensated for losses suffered. In addition, it is our expectation that no negative consequences will follow for those students preparing to write external examinations in a few weeks and that every effort will be made to ensure adequate representation.
NATIONAL HOLIDAYS: MORE PPP/C TIME WASTING
Once again the PPP/C has shown how myopic it is. The Select Committee, which was established with a view to determining whether May 5th And 26th should be National holidays, faced with the complexity of the issues before it and the myriad interests, has taken the short cut. The insistence of the PPP/C Government that Gajraj should remain on this Parliamentary Committee meant that PNCR members did not participate in its deliberations. The Committee has recommended some holidays and refused to take a holistic and comprehensive look at all holidays in Guyana. The matters, which have been proposed for consideration to the National Assembly, are either an attempt at partial appeasement or the postponement of a resolution of the issues pertaining to Guyana’s National holidays. The recommendations are completely devoid of an understanding of ‘a people’ and their culture. Christmas, for example, has long been accepted as the premiere festive season of the Guyanese people. To propose the removal of Boxing Day and at the same time to eliminate this holiday even if Christmas falls on a Sunday is to destroy the season all together. If the PPP/C merely wanted to make May 5th and May 26th public holidays there was no need for the charade of a Select Committee when in fact there was no intention to thoroughly review the entire issue of public holidays, including the proposal to make May 5th and 26th Public holidays. The PNCR does not take issue with the creation of a public holiday in the recognition of the Indo-Guyanese contribution to Guyana.
The PNCR, therefore, disassociates itself with the Report that has been submitted to the Parliament. If the Government wishes to make May 5th a National Holiday, they can do so immediately as such power is already vested in the Minister of Home Affairs. To cloud the issue in the present charade is nothing short of hypocrisy.
On the occasion of the observance of the celebration of the birth anniversary of the Holy Prophet Mohammed, upon whom be peace, the People’s National Congress Reform takes this opportunity to extend sincere greetings to the Muslim Community in Guyana.
People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Thursday, April 29, 2004
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