National issues must now take centre stage -Corbin
Stabroek News
April 25, 2007

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With the completion of the Guyana leg of the Cricket World Cup (CWC) tournament, PNCR leader Robert Corbin has called for national issues, including crime and security, to take centre stage.

Corbin said last week that the massive level of activity surrounding the preparations for hosting the CWC Super 8 matches clouded the realities of the situation in the country. "The same energy utilized by President [Bharrat] Jagdeo for the holding of the CWC in Guyana must now be used to deal with the rising levels of poverty, escalating crime, press freedom and the introduction of broadcast legislation," he told reporters last Thursday, while pointing out that these are only some of the issues. Corbin explained that the party took a principled position in supporting the CWC activities in Guyana. He said although there has been no acknowledgement or recognition of the party's role, the achievements which the government boasts about would not have been possible without parliamentary support for the requisite legislation and its full participation in the Local Organising Committee from the time it was established and began work.

Corbin said that with CWC matches in Guyana over the party expects "full accountability by the government for its stewardship, including the manner in which the huge sums of money were expended".

He said too that the party intends to vigorously pursue these matters. He also said that national issues must now be placed on the front burner. He criticised the publicity that accompanied the CWC activities here, saying that they seem to be part of a well-calculated decision to cloud national issues like poverty, crime and press freedom. Corbin charged that the government has failed to implement recommendations to reduce the spiralling crime situation. He also referenced the president's appointment of former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik as security advisor. Kerik is potentially facing a series of felony charges and has withdrawn from his contract with the government. Corbin criticised the hiring as folly and noted that the head of state proceeded with the appointment despite the revelations made known to him prior to the last elections. As a result, he said President Jagdeo should be made to refund the money paid to Kerik from the public purse. Corbin also said that the programming by the state media during the period clouded the state's withdrawal of advertisements from the Stabroek News and the administration's failure to advance the issue of equitable access to the state media. He said the passage of broadcast legislation is also a priority.

Corbin promised that the PNCR would vigorously pursue the issues in and out of Parliament in the period ahead. He said the party expects that the same vigour applied to the CWC preparations would be demonstrated in the manner in which the government pursues the resolution of the outstanding issues on the agenda, including shared governance, which he said must top the list.