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My fellow Guyanese, permit me on behalf of the PNCR to wish you a Happy Mashramani and hope you celebrate in a safe environment after your hard work to develop our beloved country.
It is opportune for the PNCR to celebrate the achievements of our Founder Leader and former President Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham as we prepare for his 100th birth anniversary in February 2023. He has made a significant contribution to Guyana, mistakes apart. It is to his credit that we have a viable social security system in the form of NIS. It is to his credit that we are self-sufficient in agricultural produce. It is to his credit that he opened the hinterland with his policy of hinterland development among other significant developments.
The goal of the People’s National Congress Reform is to have a Guyana that is safe and hospitable that gives everyone a chance at pursuing their personal ambitions and achieving the goals that they set for themselves and family.
A cornerstone of this effort must be the removal of the personal income tax. The PNCR wishes to make it clear that as your government-in-waiting, as part of the Coalition we will remove the burden of personal income tax from our people. We see this as an enduring obligation to you given the current favorable economic circumstances from oil and gas and I assure you that we will not stop working for your safety and security and your economic freedom and prosperity. We believe that this will benefit the Guyanese working people in a direct way.
February 23rd 2022, marks the fifty second anniversary as a Cooperative Republic. We must not forget that our journey to Republican status was a long and tortuous one that started during the days of slavery. In this regard we celebrate our National Hero, Cuffy.
The early struggle for freedom was not only about liberty and life. It was also about economic freedom and that which was most favorable to our circumstances. The freedom for which we struggled culminated in the cooperative efforts of former enslaved Africans who pooled their money and bought abandoned plantations which they transformed into villages.
The economic and social changes that followed emancipation eventually brought us to where we are as an independent multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society that continues to evolve.
From our Indigenous people to the coming of slaves and indentured servants we have emerged as a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society. As citizens of such a society we must live and work together to ensure a just society for all Guyanese. The potential we have as a multi-ethnic society will only be realized if there is justice for all and an end is brought to ethnic and political discrimination.
While there is much about our journey that we can celebrate and be proud of, we must work to rid our society of poverty, inequity, discrimination, and injustice that are still extant in Guyana.
The PNCR in this 52nd year of our status as a Cooperative Republic renews its commitment to the reduction of poverty and inequality and the elimination of all forms of discrimination and injustice in our society.
My fellow Guyanese this is a celebratory occasion. Unfortunately, it comes at a moment of tempered elation and merriment caused by the poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continued choking of economic freedom by the knees of the corrupt, incompetent and divisive PPP/C regime.
Deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic have exceeded 1200 to date. Your personal loss and grief are not to be matters for public discourse, but it would be remiss of me not to register my dissatisfaction with the awfully poor handling of the pandemic and the general mismanagement of our health care system. This is even more so because Guyana is no longer a poor country.
The installed government has been borrowing and spending lavishly. The Natural Resource Fund has already been raided. Yet Guyanese are dying from COVID-19 twice as fast as people in the rest of the world. These deaths are outrageous. As you mourn your loss, I wish to take this opportunity to convey my deepest sympathy to you and your family and to bemoan the fact that the pandemic has been mismanaged by those in power.
On a previous occasion, I drew attention to the verbal vulgar and despicable practice of this government of discriminating against private investors who might hold policy positions that differ from theirs. We are aware that many local investors have been frustrated and in some cases being prevented from making investments that can create jobs and help grow this economy without depending on oil and gas. This short sightedness and growing practice of economic discrimination must be condemned and stopped. It affects our ability to build a better, stronger, and more prosperous Guyana for all Guyanese.
We are also learning from statements by some members of the diplomatic community that foreign investors might be experiencing similar frustrations stemming from questionable procurement practices.
Our Cooperative Republic is under threat from crime including corruption. It pains me to have to speak of crime and its perils on this joyous occasion. However, I cannot disregard it, since innocent citizens are being killed, even execution style at a disturbing rate across this country.
What is even more troubling is that our police force appears helpless or unwilling to arrest those who the evidence indicates that a crime was committed. There is the case of a wanted man who is hiding in plain sight but his links to the PPP regime makes him untouchable. Clearly the criminal state is back. Criminals feel embolden.
The above stated situation, when taken together with the Vice News journalist revelation that VP Jagdeo is alleged to have been taking bribes suggests that our country is in deep trouble since the integrity and decency that are needed to lead our society are missing in the top echelons of government. This is very troubling when it is noted that the windfall from the oil and gas sector will continue to be squandered and an already corrupt regime is likely to become more corrupt.
It concerns the PNCR that Guyana is getting so much income, but our people are getting less and at the same time the high cost of living is eating out the little that we get. On this the 52nd Anniversary of our Republic we call on the Ali regime to stop serving their elite, family and friends and ensure our people benefit from our national patrimony. Our windfall from oil and gas should not be used to make the rich richer, but rather to eradicate poverty and give our people the reason to celebrate. Such a change will allow me to say truthfully to all Guyanese, Happy Mashramani.