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FROM PRESIDENT BHARRAT JAGDEOMy Fellow Guyanese:   Happy New Year! President Bharrat JagdeoI extend to you wishes for peace, good health and prosperity in 2009.One of our great national characteristics is optimism.I can’t even remember facing a New Year with anything less than hopefulness; and a few of those years were difficult ones.  I wish therefore to encourage you to adopt a positive attitude towards the future even as we confront challenges which are beyond our control. Amongst the problems over which we have little control are the consequences of climate change. Heavy rains over the past weeks have left large sections of our coastline flooded.On this New Year’s Day, I especially empathize with my brothers and sisters whose communities are still under water. I commend those working to bring relief to the affected, especially the ongoing efforts to get the water off the land.I know it has not been easy for those within the flood-hit communities.I want to assure them that I am deeply concerned for their well- being and will continue to monitor the situation and make the necessary interventions that are within our means.The challenges in our society which we now face should not detract from the pride we should rightly feel as citizens of this great country.We should all be thankful that we are a free nation: free from the carnage of war, free from the rage of cataclysmic natural disasters, free from ethnic and religious violence that today devastates parts of the world. This stability gives us a platform to realize our national aspirations.As we struggle to emerge out of the shadows of a global recession, global warming, and threats to national security, we must remain steadfastly focused on our goal of transforming Guyana into a modern, democratic state, where every citizen can improve his or her economic standing; have access to quality healthcare and education; where our families can nurture their children in safety; and,Cheap NFL Wholesale Jerseys, most significantly, create a nation steeped in ethnic and religious tolerance.  We have been provided with more than enough reasons over the past year to believe that this goal is achievable. 2008 was not an easy year. It was a year that tested our resolve and capacity.The brutal horrors of the Lusignan, Bartica and Lindo Creek killings plunged our nation into profound grief. But they also united our people against the enemies within our gates and fortified our resolve to face down this evil. Through the efforts of the Joint Services, we were successful in neutralizing one of the major criminal gangs that was responsible for the terror.The job is not yet complete, but I am confident that we shall in the end bring to justice all those who so misguidedly believed that they could inflict such barbarism on our society without recompense.Also contributing to loss of life was the carnage on our roads and domestic violence. These were troubling problems to which we responded by toughening our laws, recognising however that laws alone will not solve these problems, what is required is a coordinated effort from all citizens,Cheap Authentic Jerseys, particularly from members of civil society.In 2008, we were also confronted with the global food and energy crises. We took immediate action to mitigate the harmful effects of these crises. Our interventions ranged from cost of living allowances and increased pensions to the reduction of taxes and the implementation of market subsidies.I am pleased that the prices of public transport have in the main returned to the pre-crisis level and that there have been reductions in other prices, including bread, within the local economy.Despite the hostile external environment and the unfortunate developments within the sugar industry, I am pleased to report that from preliminary indications, Guyana ’s Gross Domestic Product grew by about 3% in 2008, a significant achievement considering the problems that we faced. Sterling performances were recorded in rice, gold and the non- traditional agricultural sectors.We must with vigour now, turn our attention to the large-scale infrastructural projects that will become the catalyst for a modern and competitive economy. In the years ahead we intend to work on these second generation projects that will add value to our bauxite, exploit our hydroelectric potential, allow us the benefits of a deep water harbour and increase investment in ICT services.Through our ongoing efforts to expand the economy, my Government will continue to improve the quality of health care throughout the country. We have recently commissioned several modern health facilities at Diamond, Leonora, Suddie and Mahaicony.New hospitals at Linden and Lethem along with the high-tech ophthalmology centre in Berbice are expected to be completed and operational this year. Over the years we have substantially increased budgetary allocations to the education sector. We need to examine whether we are gaining value for our money; whether we are producing better graduates. Already we are collaborating with the University of the West Indies to address this issue at the tertiary level.We need to more aggressively confront the issue of quality at every echelon of the educational system.  We intend to establish two additional technical and vocational training institutes in Regions Three and Five.  This will complement the existing stock of technical institutes and will allow thousands of our young people to acquire employable skills.We also plan to continue to provide thousands of low income houses to needy Guyanese, as well as to extend electricity and water services to un-served areas.As we expand the provision of services we will also in this year strengthen the defence of those vulnerable to abuse. We intend to undertake a major revamping of some of our archaic laws to offer protection against sexual offenses and domestic violence.  We shall continue to place emphasis on improving the administration of justice and on improving internal security.Fellow Guyanese,   I do not want to leave you with the impression that this year will be free of challenges.The world is facing its worst economic crisis ever.The capital markets have lost 30 trillion dollars; tens of millions have lost jobs and homes; global demand and hence prices for commodities have fallen significantly.Guyana’s open economy is integrated with the rest of the world and we cannot expect to be unaffected by these developments. Thank you! PEOPLE’S NATIONAL CONGRESS REFORMFellow GuyaneseHappy New Year!Opposition Leader Robert CorbinMay the New Year bring improvement in the quality of life for all Guyanese and may God grant this dear land of Guyana social stability and economic progress. May the rulers of our country be enlightened and display qualities of wisdom and a sense of caring and compassion for those in distress and need.After visiting with so many citizens, who, because of the adverse effects of the floods, have had no Christmas season, these are my heartfelt and fervent New Year wishes for our country.Stability, national cohesiveness and a collective sense of purpose and direction remain the greatest need in our quest to take our country forward. Regrettably, at the dawn of yet another New Year, these essentials remain elusive.The year we have left behind has served as a reminder of their absence and of the state of drift in which our country finds itself. Beneath the thin layer of window dressing that passes for normalcy lie tensions, anger and a sense of anxiety as to where the winds of fortune will take us next.2008 has been a year of extreme difficulty for citizens: the Value Added Tax; the economic situation; the torture of our citizens; the consequences of the heavy rainfall and poor management of our conservancy; disregard for the poor and powerless of this society; increasing and continued executive lawlessness;  wanton destruction of our environment; the growing scourge of illiteracy; our collapsing education system; the fragility of our medical sector; the calculated destruction of the trade union movement; and the growing disenchantment of our young people with the politics of our nation. The arbitrariness and dictatorial tendency of the Jagdeo Administration during the past year is a threat to the rule of law in Guyana.Our people will not be fooled by the frequent pronouncements about progress and development. They are far to preoccupied with the reality of their own difficult circumstances.Those circumstances make a mockery of the ceaseless declaration that the Government has the situation under control. The crisis that is afflicting our country cannot be wished away by colourful propaganda and elaborate “spin”: it is real for all to see. I saw for myself at Victoria and Mahaica Creek.Every Guyanese is aware that poverty and hard times persist,Cheap NHL Adidas Jerseys, that crime and corruption have become uncontrollable concerns that the relentless flight of skills from our country continues, that there is a sense of frustration among our young people who are unemployed and cannot satisfy their aspirations.These concerns and anxieties cannot be glossed over by hollow-sounding pronouncements. They hang like the proverbial sword of Damocles over our heads. The façade of progress which the Government is seeking so desperately to sustain continues to be exposed for what it is – a mere chimera.Far from being my wish to be negative on this the first day of the New Year, I seek only to speak the stark truth, cost it what it will, the reality that all of us must face.As we begin the year 2009 we need to question whether we have the will, the courage and the capacity to transform our country? There is no question in the collective mind of the People’s National Congress Reform that we can. We are a people of resilience, a people of fortitude. We are used to confronting and overcoming adversity.The New Year must bring with it a fresh sense of hope and a renewed resolve that, together, we will turn that corner. All of us must direct our energies towards the achievement of that goal in the year that lies ahead of us.ALLIANCE FOR CHANGEFellow Guyanese, I extend to you all a Happy New Year and best wishes for 2009.AFC Leader Raphael TrotmanWe all have high expectations that this New year  will be better than the last, but it has to be said that success and change will not come about unless we all believe in it, and are prepared to get behind the process of reforming this country from within every household, street,Wholesale China Jerseys, community, village, and town. The year 2008 began with similar greetings and expectations, but the peace was shattered by the heavy sound of gun fire and the screams of the innocent who were senselessly gunned down in January and February,Cheap NFL Jerseys, 2008 at Lusignan, and at Bartica.The tranquil lives of thousands of us were disturbed by these events, and many communities such as Buxton suffered the ignominy of having their village besieged and their crops and property destroyed. Allegations of torture and brutality, and “roughing-up” became commonplace in the daily lexicon, as the administration unmindful of their greater responsibility to uphold the law and rights of citizens, pursued those they deemed responsible for these criminal activities.To date we still await some explanation or evidence as to what did transpire at Lindo Creek, where 9 persons also brutally lost their lives.Most disturbing has been the introduction and passage of laws which can only be described as repressive,Wholesale Jerseys Authentic, and by the end of the year there was a dark and foreboding pall of fear and  distrust, which still  hangs heavily over this nation.I pray that we have seen the last of the horror of such brutality, and we will now begin to see a brighter more promising future of change, change that we can all believe in.This coming year will not be an easy one, as despite the government’s senseless and irresponsible claim that the global financial crisis will not affect Guyana.We all know that it has affected all of us in some measure. We will also have to face the reality that crime will continue to rise, and because of the ineptitude of this administration, discrimination, maladministration, victimization, and even more floods and damage to property will be visited upon many. We will however have to confront and defeat these evils in our midst.We in the AFC care, and with every available resource, will continue to do whatever we can, to spread our message of change and hope.We will listen to your constructive criticisms and adapt accordingly. The process of change is natural and belongs to the people; we are just its messengers, you the people, are the change.