PNCR for Parliament today
Stabroek News
July 8, 2004

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The PNCR is to return to Parliament today for the debate on the Disciplined Forces Commission (DFC) report since the party considers participation imperative.

The party had not been attending since it walked out of the National Assembly on March 18 after a motion that it presented for the examination of the death squad allegations against the Minister of Home Affairs Ronald Gajraj was disallowed by Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran.

Speaking yesterday at a specially convened press conference held at the PNCR headquarters at Congress Place, Leader of the Opposition, Robert Corbin said that for several months the party has been calling for the report to be considered in Parliament with a view to it being adopted and implemented.

He said that in March, the Speaker of the National Assembly disallowed a motion from PNCR Parliamentarian Raphael Trotman calling for Parliament to debate the report. The Speaker had said that the motion was ill-conceived. The DFC had been established by Parliament and with the approval of the PNCR.

Corbin argued that in its "mad rush" to impress the international and diplomatic community and make matters appear normal and regular, "the PPP/C has suddenly seen it fit to bring the Disciplined Forces Commission report to the Parliament and appoint a Commission to investigate allegations against the Minister of Home Affairs Ronald Gajraj after [George Bacchus] has been assassinated."

He said that the PNCR has waged a three-year-long campaign, which included several protest marches in the city, calling for an investigation into extra-judicial killings. He said too that after much resistance, the PPP/C Government finally yielded to the establishment of the Disciplined Forces Commission.

Corbin said that since the PNCR was a leading voice in the call for an inquiry into extra-judicial killings and other ills that afflicted the disciplined forces, particularly the Guyana Police Force, the party considers it a fitting occasion to attend the National Assembly and participate in the debate.

The party said that it is participating in the debate to ensure that the National Assembly creates the enabling mechanisms that would see the report's recommendations implemented.

The PNCR said that though it is not in agreement with all of the Commission's recommendations, it believes that the process of transparency, accountability and inclusivity has been served by the work of the DFC.