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Alliance For Change
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MEDIA RELEASE
October 5, 2011.

Sugar Industry in Deeper throes


The Alliance For Change will not let up on scrutinizing the PPP-infected Board at Guysuco nor the Agriculture Minister who has been a thorough embarrassment.

To date, the AFC has noted that neither the Board nor Minister Persaud has frankly and directly explained why Surendra or CNTIC were and are being considered as proposed management contractors for the Skeldon Sugar Factory and at what price. The AFC knows of firm proposals sent by very reputable companies who have indicated that their proposals were not even acknowledged. Were these proposals given consideration? Why were they not?

There must be no stealth in whatever deals are being sorted out by Mr. Robert Persaud and Dr. Gopaul. There is a stony silence from the PPP’s presidential candidate and Guysuco director for 19 years, Mr. Donald Ramotar, on all that is going on at the Board level.

The AFC also knows that there has been a cancellment of a deal worth in excess of US $ 500, 000 with Salim al Midah, a subsidiary of Surendra to manage the Enmore Sugar Factory. This was secretly done to avoid the embarrassment which would have emerged since there was no tendering of this management contract. This happened last week.

Moreover, the AFC wants the public to know why GuySuCo engineers were ordered to accept as complete the incomplete and defect-riddled work of Surendra at the Enmore Sugar Factory. Word out is that the local engineers were intimidated into accepting as satisfactory the work of Surendra simply so as to allow payments out to that company. The rehabilitation works of the factory have not gone forward within the timelines specified in the contract and huge amounts were being paid out. It must be noted that some US $ 12 million of taxpayers monies were put into both the packaging plant and rehabilitation of the old factory. How far has each gone?

The AFC wants to see a vibrant sugar sector, not its closure. Several PPP propagandists on the election trail have been alluding to the AFC advocating the closure of the industry. Nothing can be further from the truth. We will instill transparency, accountability and a professional approach to this sector’s governance.

JOINT OPPOSITION STATEMENT from Opposition Political Parties of Guyana
A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change

A DARK NIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY IN GUYANA


The combined political opposition, along with the religious community, civil society and the trades union movement, wish to express our deep disappointment with the suspension of the broadcasting license of CNS 6 for a period of four months.

We believe that the frivolous explanation proffered by the President is intended to cloud the real intention behind the suspension: the silencing of all voices of dissent.

The very fact that the controversial Vieira commentary was also aired on another channel, but no such action was taken against that channel, evidences the reality that CNS 6 is the victim of sustained Government harassment and persecution. Also, given the fact that this controversial commentary is currently engaging the attention of the Court, this suspension indeed flies in the face of the procedural sanctity of the judicial process.

Such harassment and persecution has to be seen as a component of an established pattern which has included other victims, namely, Freddie Kissoon, Christopher Ram, Raymond Gaskin, the suspension of the Merundoi programme and the religious broadcast from NCN at Linden along with the entire independent media who have been deemed the new opposition.


The reality is that the suspension is purported to be done on the basis of the recommendations of the improperly constituted body of the ACB, the status of which is the subject of court proceedings. This has to be seen as morally and legally repugnant.

The closure of CNS 6 at this critical period, just before the holding of the 2011 General and Regional Elections, can only be calculated to silence all voices of dissent. It is a shameful breach of all the rules, values and conventions of the democratic societal model. Moreover, this suspension has to be seen as a blatant attack on the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression, both in its letter and spirit.

Coupled with the PPP’s monopolization of the State media – treating it as if it is a propaganda arm of the PPP - along with their scarcely disguised control of MTV 65 and the Guyana Times, Sharma’s closure is effected with the intention of denying the political opposition the right to communicate with the Guyanese electorate. It also flies in the face of the electorate’s right to receive such information which would enable voters to make informed decisions.

We believe, moreover, that this suspension effectively vitiates all the lofty ideals recently promulgated by GECOM in its media code of conduct. Thus, this matter must immediately engage the attention of the Commission, since it represents a major jeopardy for the holding elections that are free and fair.

This closure effectively confirms that this PPP regime has indeed degenerated into an elected dictatorship. The political opposition calls on all of the people of Guyana to abandon all indifference and skepticism and vote this dictatorial cabal out of office.

We are indeed aware that all Guyana, regardless of race and class, are outraged by such executive high handedness. However, this sense of outrage must now translate into a united and concerted project to ensure that there is an established democratic process in Guyana.

We call on the international community to recognize and take note of the sustained PPP assault on democratic standards in Guyana.

All Guyana stands in solidarity with the management and staff of CNS 6 in this dark night for press freedom and democracy in Guyana.



The Apparent Neglect of a Sexually Molested Minor

On October 1, 2011 the Kaieteur News reported on an incident that occurred last January where a nine-year-old child from the Number 46 Village, Corentyne, was raped by her 27-year-old neighbor who is the brother of her father’s lover. As is reported, the father, with considerable frequency, was physically abusing his wife who as a result was taken out of the home by police from the Number 51 police station and placed in the care of her mother. Based on the report, and quite surprisingly, the minor was left in the care of her father who subsequently placed her in the home of his lover who lives with her brother (the perpetrator). Whilst there, as the report noted, the minor was sexually molested with great frequency and, as it seems, her father could only care less as she was left to sleep in the living room on a matrass with the perpetrator, whilst he slept in a room with his lover whose mother slept alone in another.

Quite bizarre, the minor’s complaint of her ordeal to the perpetrator’s mother was greeted with a response that you playing big woman, the report noted. However, this should not be strange, given that the report points out that the mother was completely dumb when in her presence, her son made numerous attempts at placing his hand in the minor’s underwear.

Failing to have the perpetrator’s mother to bring an end to her nightmare, the minor, as pointed out by the report, complained to her mother but when her mother confronted her father he asserted that their daughter was lying on the brother of his lover.

The confused minor endured her pain, as the report noted, until the intervention of her grandmother who apparently approached the Help and Shelter that issued her with a letter to go and collect the minor from her school. However, that attempt failed because, as pointed out by the report, the perpetrator had already collected the minor.

Determined in her pursuit, the grandmother, as noted by the report, finally gained access to the minor, whom in noticeable pain revealed her predicament to her grandmother and subsequently to the police. Having obtained a medical report at the request of the police, the minor breathe a sigh of relief when the accused was arrested to be followed by her father who told the police that his daughter was lying. Strangely, however, they were both released on GY$20,000 bail each, and as the report pointed out, the father is now fighting for the custody of the victim.

The AFC therefore calls on the relevant authority, particularly on the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, to take a keen look into this matter, as from the report, it seems that the grandmother was not properly assisted or advised and based on a paltry sum of bail; the police have seemingly failed to appropriately deal with this matter in particular, or are incapable of dealing with matters of this nature in general.



Continued Abuse of State Resources by the PPP/Civic Regime


The AFC once again condemns the PPP/Civic for its continued abuse of State resources. Just as was seen for President Jagdeo’s Appreciation Day, GuySuCo trucks were again used in their numbers for the PPP rally in Albion, on Oct 2nd last. Vehicles from the Work Services Group, Ministry of Works were also seen.

We note however, that one Government official was doing the right thing, and rather than use the vehicle provided for him by the State at party event, he was using a BK International vehicle. This is what ought to be done. The PPP being such a wildly popular party as it claims, must make use of resources given to it by its supporters and not take from the State. Further to this, AFC activists and sympathisers in Berbice have reported that hundreds of farmers were bribed with fertilizer to attend the rally in Albion. We understand some were given as much as seven bags in reward.

Most of our Guyanese people will remember that it was these kinds of acts the PPP had vociferously condemned the PNC for, when it was in the opposition. In fact, this was a major part of Dr. Jagan’s platform. It is this deviation from Dr. Jagan’s principles, over the past decade in particular, compounded by the absence of Jagan loyalists such as Moses Nagamootoo, Ralph Ramkarran, Komal Chand, Navin and Indra Chandrapal from this election campaign, that is the cause of the massive loss in support for the PPP today.

Recognising this, and being gripped in a mortal fear, is why CN Sharma was shut down for the coming elections. This is yet another act the AFC condemns, viewing it as an unconstitutional attack on Freedom of Expression in Guyana. Nineteen years ago on this day, October 5th, we celebrated the return of democracy in Guyana under the PPP/Civic. Today, under the very PPP/Civic, we mourn the killing of democracy of in Guyana.
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