ADDRESS TO THE NATION BY MR. ROBERT H. O. CORBIN LEADER PEOPLES NATIONAL CONGRESS REFORM WEDNESDAY, December 10, 2003



Fellow Guyanese: I have decided to address you this evening due to a rather disturbing development which, if not urgently addressed, could seriously affect race relations and the security climate in Guyana. This matter relates to an alleged plot to use the present disagreement on the state of progress of the Constructive Engagement to malign the PNCR as promoting criminal activity and to promote the present crime situation as racially inspired and politically motivated.

As you may recall, at the Square of the Revolution on 1st February 2003, an olive branch was extended to President Bharrat Jagdeo and the PPPC when I stated that the PNCR, under my leadership, was willing to engage the government in a constructive engagement process that would benefit Guyana. All rational Guyanese would agree that the PNCR has negotiated with the PPPC in good faith. We have done everything to ensure the creation of an environment that auger well for Guyana’s development. Regrettably, despite our best efforts, the crisis we warned of earlier has worsened.

The problem that most concerns us at this time is the brutal and savage criminal activity that is threatening the lives of citizens across the country. The violent kidnapping of citizens as they pursue their business; the bullet-ridden bodies strewn along the very streets our children must walk each day; and, the terrifying raids on households in various villages. We are also concerned about the psychological scars that are being left on the minds of men, women and children as they are forced to witness the blood and gore that have become an everyday sight. This must stop. The Nation needs urgent solutions. The PNCR unequivocally denounces all forms of criminal activity and lends its support to a lawful solution to this criminal enterprise.

The PNCR is gravely concerned about the present state of affairs, more so because the Government has failed to address this very critical crime situation and has instead again adopted a dangerous political strategy of fomenting ethnic fear and insecurity by suggesting that the PNCR is in some way connected to the recent upsurge in criminal activity. According to misguided PPPC propagandists, the PNCR in seeking to jettison the Constructive Engagement process for ulterior motives and is promoting the resurgence of violent racial and politically motivated criminal activity.

Our intelligence sources suggest that this propaganda campaign is part of a larger plan developed at a meeting of key PPP personnel at a meeting held on Thursday December 04 last to deal with public disenchantment, the decline of the economy and the deteriorating crime situation. This development true poses a more serious threat to our country’s stability than the difficulties of the constructive engagement process.

The intelligence report was corroborated by the recent viewpoint published by the Liaison Officer to the President on the State Media, GTV 11 and printed on page 7 of the Chronicle of Sunday December 7, 2003 under the caption, “Why attempts to ambush constructive engagement?” In addition to the replaying of this view point on the GTV and on the Guyana Broadcasting Corporation Radio, recent appearances by top PPP Officials on TV last week-end promoted the same theme. Reports from the field also confirm that activists of the PPP began a house to house campaign on Friday December 5, last in some villages on the East Coast of Demerara including, Cove and John, Stratspey and Unity and other villages on the Corentyne. These activists were warning persons of East Indian ancestry to beware of the impending PNCR racially inspired criminal violence that is about to be unleashed on them because the PNC is dissatisfied with constructive engagement. The reports of such activities are not isolated and form a pattern now emerging from several other areas.

It is true that the creation of such a state of insecurity may result in short term benefits for one political party or another. However, anyone who understands the recent history of Guyana and the serious crime and security situation over the past year cannot fail to appreciate the danger and short-sightedness of such a plan and its implications for social stability.

My fellow citizens, this dangerous and reckless campaign can provide comfortable cover for the criminal underworld and phantom gangs to continue their rampage on the citizens of this country. The allegations made by the PPPC are irresponsible, insensitive and uncaring in the face of the suffering being experienced by you, the citizens of Guyana. Any Government that genuinely has the interest of all Guyanese at heart would desist from such a reckless strategy.

The PNCR wishes to reassure all Guyanese that we are committed to the development of Guyana and that we have no desire to see violence in any form, against any person or group of persons and in any place. The PNCR can derive no political benefit from promoting ethnic division in Guyana. Only one political party, the PPP, can hope to consolidate power and reap the likely short term benefits from ethnic fear and insecurity.

The PNCR under my leadership will continue to put Guyana first. Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for the PPPC.

Intelligence information has established beyond doubt that a large part of the yet unexplained crime in Guyana is the work of the drug related phantom squad, a body which is allegedly closely aligned to senior functionaries of this administration.

Is it not strange that the government has been deafeningly silent on the daily discoveries of bodies in various parts of the city of Georgetown and its environs? The PPPC is traversing a dangerous road- one that spells doom for Guyana. While the PPPC believes that this approach may guarantee them victory at the elections- such a victory can never be a victory for all Guyanese. All Guyana must see the PPPC’s race ploy for what it is worth and expose and reject it.

It is this same approach that allowed the crime situation to become like a runaway train since last year. The Government spent valuable time and energy laying blame at the door of the PNCR and made no effort to deal effectively with the heinous acts of crime which were undoubtedly directly related to the burgeoning drug trade that is now threatening the very fibre of our society.

Inaction seems to be their watchword and it is now clear for all to see that this inept PPPC Government is idly standing by, with folded arms, whilst the Phantom Group “takes care of business”. This is unacceptable and has dire repercussions that the PPPC will be unable to deal with.

Guyana is at the crossroads. Criminal enterprise has brought the nation both physically and psychologically to a very fragile state. The PNCR believes that nothing short of an urgent national discourse on the restoration of law and order in Guyana will bring some sense of security and much needed relief to you the citizens of Guyana.

I have today penned a letter on this matter to the President and a delegation from the PNCR proposes to meet the Commissioner of Police tomorrow to discuss this matter.

Let us hope that good sense will prevail and Guyana is spared of tragedy.

Thank you and Good Night.



People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana.
Wednesday, December 10, 2003