Let progress continue

by Prem Misir
Guyana Chronicle
March 26, 2001

THE People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has won the general and regional elections 2001, as reported by GECOM (Guyana Elections Commission) on Friday.

The PPP/C is likely to have 35 seats, PNC/R 27 seats, GAP/WPA two seats, and ROAR one seat in the new parliament.

At this time, the People's National Congress/Reform (PNC/R) filed an injunction to prevent the swearing-in of the PPP/C's presidential candidate Bharrat Jagdeo as the elected President of Guyana. The court hearing kicked off on Friday, March 24, 2001, and was adjourned on Saturday to today.

The swearing-in ceremony for the PPP/C's presidential candidate, however, will take place when this court matter is resolved.

Chairman of the GECOM Major General Joe Singh, in the presence of the six Commissioners and some international observers, recently signed the constitutional instrument, declaring Bharrat Jagdeo the elected President who secured the most votes as a presidential candidate in the recently-concluded elections.

The swearing-in ceremony, therefore, is a foregone conclusion. The injunction, in effect, has to address the propriety of the constitutional instrument, and not the swearing-in ceremony.

If reliable sources are correct in suggesting that the instrument was properly signed, then the injunction may constitute an abuse of the judicial process.

The Carter Center, in a preliminary statement, found the poll on Election Day to be peaceful and orderly throughout Guyana. Its observers found either no irregularities or minor irregularities at each of the observed polling stations. A major concern among electors was the voters' list, to which the Carter Center found no systematic irregularities.

The European Union Observation Mission and the Guyana Long Term Observation

Group, in their preliminary statement, said the elections fulfilled most of

the international benchmarks to which the GECOM complied.

The Organisation of American States (OAS), another observer group, in its preliminary statement, said that the poll was orderly, peaceful, and for the most part incident-free, creating the conditions for a clean and transparent poll.

PNC/R Commissioner of the Guyana Elections Commission Haslyn Parris, at an early Friday morning press briefing, said that the electoral process was transparent and clean.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter through the Carter Center reported his had secured the agreement of both President Jagdeo and Mr. Hugh Desmond Hoyte on the following text: to produce a new constitution subject to approval through a referendum; both government and opposition to have leadership positions in parliamentary standing committees and in the selection of leaders in positions of governance and management, inclusive of a permanent elections commission, an ethnic relations commission, land and house allocation, and the tendering of contracts.

Subsequently, Mr Hoyte denied putting his signature to the text.

This PPP/C's victory signifies that all Guyana has won. The victory gives the PPP/C a new mandate to let progress continue.

The PPP/C has always believed and effected the politics of inclusion, and putting people first. This brand of politics is rooted in people's needs, with the following thrusts, inter alia:

** Making people the main focus for development.

** Believing in a future filled with economic progress, social development, and fairness and justice.

** Harnessing the full potential of information technology.

** Using governmental power to better the conditions of the poor.

** Protecting freedom of expression.

** Advocating a morality that works to the advantage of the socially and economically-disadvantaged.

** Making higher financial allocations to the armed forces.

The PPP/C largely subscribes to the view that the government's policies are determinants of people's social and economic status.

For instance, its policy of sustaining good governance has paid dividends through the following: achieving current audited accounts, holding of local government elections, emergence of an Ethnic Relations Commission, greater professionalism and capitalisation in the Police and Guyana Defence Forces, empowering the Amerindian people, advancing women and children's rights, increased construction and rehabilitation of schools and health centres, provision of water, electricity, and housing, and crafting a partnership role of the government with the private sector to accelerate economic growth.

In addition, the country's physical infrastructure is being transformed through a national physical plan to drive the development of physical projects, the current road construction and rehabilitation, and rehabilitation of sea and river defences.

One other policy area to be highlighted here for now is education.

Education, under the PPP/C Administration, will address, generally, literacy and numeracy, language and socialisation, cultural reproduction and social reproduction, pedagogies, the contribution of schooling to the learning of norms, information technology, inter alia.

The university must apportion additional weighting to the value of research and its strategic role in the economic health of the nation. A knowledge-based society needs strong orientation to research, which is our second issue that needs to be examined for the university.

Knowledge created at the university must be actively disseminated to industry, elementary, high schools, and other institutions of higher learning. Vigorous dissemination will surely encourage industries to assimilate new development, facilitating greater efficiency and effectiveness in goal achievement.

The PPP/C will strive to develop a faculty with an enduring research capacity and productivity that eventually will be an asset for the university.

The PPP/C's popular and continuing commitment to, sustaining a strong macroeconomic framework, information technology, and its inclusion of all Guyanese in the developmental process, has now placed Guyana on the threshold of economic and nation-building take-off in this new term.

All Guyanese now must come together to let progress continue.