PNC/R to continue Parliament boycott
Says issues of concern still to be resolved
Stabroek News
May 9, 2002

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The motion tabled by PNC/R parliamentarian Deborah Backer calling for an enquiry into the operations of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) will not be debated when the National Assembly meets this afternoon despite its inclusion on the Order Paper.

This is because Backer's party, the People's National Congress REFORM (PNC/R) is continuing its boycott of Parliament because several of its concerns are still to be addressed.

Backer's motion calls on the National Assembly to express general satisfaction with and appreciation for the police, but to strongly condemn the high incidence of extra-judicial killings, abuse and mistreatment of citizens. It also calls for the establishment of a commission of inquiry into the operations of the police force.

Today's sitting is to consider among other things approval of Financial Paper No. 1 covering the expenditure of $276.6 million from the Contingency Fund during the period November 10 - December 31, 2001; the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill; the Guyana Tourism Authority Bill 2002; and a motion by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Reepu Daman Persaud for a Special Select Committee to be established to review the public holidays with a view to including May 5 and May 26 as holidays. May 5 would be Arrival Day and May 26 is Independence Day.

Also listed for consideration is the Water and Sewerage Bill 2002, which will provide ownership, management, control, protection and conservation of water resources and the provision of safe water, sewerage and advisory services. Listed too is the (Constitution and Proceedings) Validation Bill 2001, to validate the constitution and proceedings of the seventh parliament pursuant to the elections petition ruling on the results of the national and regional elections of December 19, 1997.

In a statement issued by Backer on Tuesday, which the Stabroek News received yesterday, she said that the PNC/R "would continue its non-participation in the National Assembly until those issues of concern" it had raised with the government were satisfactorily resolved.

Her statement charged that the motion was deliberately kept off the Order Paper since its submission in June 2001 because it called "on the President to forthwith establish a Commission of Inquiry into the leadership, functions and effectiveness of the Guyana Police Force to make recommendations thereon which will redound to the benefit of the Guyana Police Force in particular and the citizenry in general.

"The regime is fooling no one by the timing of this belated placing of the motion on the Order Paper. This is an insult to the intelligence of the people of Guyana who can see through this attempted deception."

She also accused the government of prejudging the issue, pointing to a statement which she said was made by Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon that a Commission of Enquiry would not be established into the workings of the Guyana Police Force. Dr Luncheon's response at one of his press conferences was not in relation to the workings of the police force. He had been asked specifically by Stabroek News if the government would agree to a Commission of Enquiry into extra-judicial killings to which he replied in the negative.

The PNC/R's non-participation in the National Assembly sitting is part of its programme of active non-cooperation on which it has embarked to get the government to honour outstanding obligations under the dialogue process and the constitutional reform programme.

One of the concerns of the PNC/R is the non-appointment of some 12 persons whose names it had submitted for appointment to state boards, commissions and other bodies. Stabroek News has been informed that Deryck Bernard, one of those affected, had since been appointed to the board of the Statistical Bureau.