WEDNESDAY, December 24, 2003


I wish to extend sincere greetings to all Guyanese for a peaceful and God-filled Christmas and for a productive year 2004. The year 2003 has been a difficult one for all the citizens of our country, but more so for members and supporters of our Party, the People's National Congress Reform.

Almost one year ago, on the eve of the holy festival of Christmas, we faced the tragedy of the sudden loss of our late dear Leader and former President, Mr. Hugh Desmond Hoyte. We spent the last Christmas season, not only in mourning, but also in a state of anxiety about the transition arrangements following his sudden demise. However, as a Party moulded by our founder Leader, Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham, we demonstrated our resilience and fulfilled the wishes of our late Leader by ensuring a seamless transition to the new leadership team.

Our Party leadership lived up to the expectations of its membership. We buried our Leader with dignity, elected a new leader and proceeded with the task of re-organizing our Party. We also continued the fight for good governance and improvement in the quality of life for all Guyanese.

During the year, however, our economy continued to decline, creating for us a spiraling cost of living, highlighted by the steep rise in unbearable electricity and water bills, in addition to increases in rates and taxes, house rent and the cost of basic food items. This has resulted in extreme hardships for all, except the very affluent in our country.

The virtual collapse of the Bauxite Industry placed thousands of workers on the breadline; the difficulties in the external rice market with the concomitant problems in the rice sector brought increased hardships to our rice farmers; the decline of the sugar industry, worldwide, has made the future of our sugar workers very precarious; the lack of any significant new investment has hampered the prospects of employment opportunities for the people of Guyana, and, especially for the thousands of our young people who, after spending years of preparation in our educational institutions, are left in a hopeless state with little option, but to seek their fortunes outside of Guyana.

Adding to the myriad problems being experienced by our Nation crime continued to escalate with the bourgeoning drug trade, daily killings, kidnappings, violent robberies and the roaming phantom squads. Unfortunately our Police Force was ill-equipped to deal effectively with this situation and to guarantee the safety of our citizens. As a consequence, every citizenís security remain at risk.

The greatest tragedy, however, is that the uncaring, heartless and unconscionable government remained in a state of self-delusion and denial, proclaiming that all was well in Guyana.

The People's National Congress Reform has done all in its power during 2003 to create an environment in which any caring and responsible government could have dealt with the serious economic, social and security problems that plagued our nation. It is now obvious to all and sundry that the PPP government has been a miserable failure. The people of Guyana need to decide how much longer they will tolerate incompetence, corruption, and lack of good governance in our land.

As we approach this festive season, I am deeply conscious of the fact that most Guyanese will not enjoy the bright and beautiful Christmas that we all dream about. I hope, however, that God will grant us the privilege to enjoy good health and peace during this season. I hope, too, that God will give us the inspiration, wisdom and strength to surmount the challenges that confronted us in the year 2003 and will surely face us in 2004.

Ultimately, it is the people of Guyana who must determine their destiny. As Leader of the People's National Congress Reform I remain convinced that we can work together as a people to remove the scourge of racial prejudice and conflict, and build a land where all Guyanese, irrespective of race, religion or cultural heritage, can work together in peace and harmony for the development of our country and secure the future of the next generation.

Have a peaceful Christmas. May we move resolutely forward together in the year ahead.

Peopleís National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana
Wednesday, December 24, 2003