PNC/R refutes PPP claims
Guyana Chronicle
October 24, 2002

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THE main Opposition People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R) has refuted claims by the People's Progressive Party (PPP) that its Members of Parliament (MPs) are collecting millions of dollars in tax-payers money under false pretence.

The PNC/R in a statement earlier this week, denied the allegation and said the party's MPs were earning their stipends by participating in the functioning of a key committee and by working among its constituents.

"Unfortunately for this nation, on the basis of their own track record and current behaviour, the PPP has no moral or other authority to accuse anyone, especially the Leader of the PNCR and Leader of the Opposition and the PNC/R Members of Parliament, of collecting money under false pretence," the PNC/R said.

The PPP, in a statement last weekend, urged the PNC/R MPs to return to the National Assembly or repay the millions of dollars in salaries and allowances they and their leader had collected since they walked out of the National Assembly on March 15 this year.

The PPP said it would draw this to the attention of the Auditor General and the Integrity Commission.

"We are conscious that, since the leadership of the PPP has habitually fed their supporters and the nation with a continuing diet of lies and deceit, it is difficult for them to understand, yet alone accept, concepts like decency and good faith. These are completely outside their own standards of behaviour and attitudes of mind," the PNC/R asserted.

According to the party, the Guyanese people cannot easily be fooled since they are fully aware of the reasons why the PNC/R has refused to participate in "the meaningless circus" which the PPP is content to describe as Parliament.

"We state again, for the benefit of the PPP, that until they implement the agreed reforms of the Parliamentary system, we consider it a useless charade to participate in the meaningless debates of the National Assembly," the PNC/R said.

The PNC/R said it has continued to participate actively in the work of the Public Accounts Committee, which is the only Standing Committee of the National Assembly.

"PNC/R Members of Parliament have continued their service to their constituents by intensifying our work in all the regions of Guyana. That is our duty and our responsibility and we do not need the PPP to remind us of that", the statement said.

But the PPP, in another statement, maintained the PNC/R MPs were abdicating their responsibility to parliamentary democracy by their continued absence from Parliament.

"MPs from all parties do representation, whether they are in or out of Parliament as part of their parties' role in the communities. However, these PNC/R representatives are privileged, unlike ordinary workers and employees, to be assigned parliamentary roles as MPs and earn salaries and certain privileges such as duty-free concessions."

"Their current situation is not different from any employee who does not report for work but demands pay because the employee claimed that he/she was performing his duty outside of his/her workplace," the PPP argued.

The PPP said the PNC/R has failed to offer even a reasonable defence against charges that they immorally demand and collect salaries and enjoy privileges granted to the Leader of the Opposition and MPs.