PNCR’s Response to the Guyana Flood Situation

From:         The General Secretary, People’s National Congress Reform

To:              All Party Overseas Groups

Matter:       The PNCR’s Response to the Guyana Flood Situation  

Date:         February 18, 2005

Re:            Flood Update

 

This circular takes as its subject the politics of the flood situation.  As to be expected in Guyana, politics did not stop at the water's edge. 

  1. Despite the pleas of the Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform and his Party, the PPP/C went out of its way to politicize the flooding of Guyana's coastal belt, the distribution of food items and generally the approach to this unprecedented disaster.  Let us be clear about what we are saying here.  Mr. Corbin in his January 24, 2005 “Address to the Nation” and subsequently urged the Government to remove this question out of the realm of politics.  He called for the creation of a group of experts to define the response.  Mr. Corbin's intention was to ensure that the response to the crisis was a national one unsullied by partisan politics.  When he attended the first meeting called by President Jagdeo at State House on Monday February 17, 2005, in the wake of his letter to the Head of State on this issue, he made a formal proposal along these lines.  Yet Mr. Jagdeo proceeded to create a structure dominated by Ministers, and without the guidance of Technical Experts as was recommended by the Opposition Leader.  The results were not difficult to predict. 

 

  1. With an eye on the elections next year, the Ministers concerned, campaigned on the coastal belt, telling residents that the hampers of food and water being distributed were from the Government and 'President Jagdeo', when in fact most of the relief received were attributed to donations of cash and kind by the international community.  Naturally in these circumstances, there were complaints of systematic discrimination of areas known to support the PNCR. The worst act of the politicization of the crisis was revealed by Mr. Corbin when he addressed Parliament on February 16, 2005. He told the National assembly that three (3) 42” pumps donated by Trinidad and Tobago and the United States were delayed because the company which had been contracted to dispatch the pumps to Guyana was not acceptable to the PPP/C. The Manager of the company concerned went to the airport to ensure that the loading and dispatch of the pumps were properly done, only to receive a message from the Office of the President in Guyana that he was not to take possession of the pumps. He was subsequently told that one Norad Singh in New York had been contracted by the Government of Guyana to get the pumps to Georgetown. So much for transparency, non-discrimination and fair play!

  1. But this was not all.  After the Chairman of Region Four, Mr. Alan Munroe, released to the Press, the letter he had written on November 16, 2004, warning that unless, drains were cleaned, sluices maintained and the EDWC rehabilitated, flooding of the costal belt would take place.  Mr. Munroe, in that famous American locution, was 'right on the money.'  His prediction came to pass.  And guess what happened?  Mr. Munroe became the object of attack.  Mr. Jagdeo led the way.  He said on one famous occasion, that the Regional Chairman was nowhere to be seen during and after the flood.  The PNCR is in a position to retire this falsehood.  One of the things that the Party has been doing to counter the excessive propaganda of the PPP/C was to launch special editions of its program 'Nation Watch'.  On one such program, on the  February 17, anchored by Ms. Supriya Singh, Direction of the Public Communications Unit of the Party, two PNCR Regional Councilors explained that after the floods, Mr. Munroe led the way in visiting communities on the East Coast and subsequently fell ill, with what appeared to be Leptospirosis.  He was hospitalized.  Another canard hurled at the Region Four Administration by the PPP/C was that funds allocated were misappropriated.  Mr. Munroe himself, emerging from his recent illness, dispatched this foolishness.

 

  1. Yet the PPP/C's caravan show moves on.  The most recent installment is that the crisis is over.  This is far from the truth.  Guyanese are still falling ill from different flood related diseases.  The most recent of these is Dengue Fever.  And it has been reported, that cows have been dying mysteriously at Windsor Forest.  The fact of the matter is that as far as the return to normalcy is concerned, we are not out of the woods yet.  Medical Experts have predicted that diseases other than Leptospirosis are likely to assault the Guyanese population.  Moreover, people are finding it increasingly difficult to underwrite the cost of cleaning up their communities, and their homes.  In this regard, attention should be focused on the fact that the Leader of the PNCR has proposed that the National Relief Programme be established to enable people in the affected communities to cope with the cost of rehabilitation and obtain compensation for the losses suffered.  Sometimes an incident occurs which dispersed the clouds of untruth and distortion.  This week the residents of Enmore rioted in front of the centre at which food was supposed to be distributed, because the activity was tardy, and poorly organised.  And this happened in a ‘PPP/C stronghold’. The PPP/C spin-meisters have been silent about this one.

 

  1. In a subsequent circular, the Party will try to summarize the presentations made by its Parliamentarians, on the debate on the flood situation, which the PPP/C were shamed into convening.   The Party will also provide information about the work and activity of several Doctors who have just arrived in the country to mount on an outreach programme on its behalf.

 

People’s National Congress Reform
Flood Crisis Centre
February 18, 2005

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