Robert Corbin is a tried and tested soldier
I have not written anything about the developments within the PNCR, because there was nothing to write about. Unlike many who are of the view that the PNCR is withering away because of the departure and resignations of a number of its leaders, I feel that this attrition can actually be helpful to the party, and ought to be encouraged.
I have also found that there is a great deal of disrespect for the incumbent leader of the PNCR. I do not know if it is because of the example that the PPP has set over the past sixteen years in elevating mediocrity to prominence, but it does seem that today there are a whole range of political aspirants without the experience and political pedigree necessary.
I find it ridiculous that people should question the leadership ability of Robert Corbin. I think some of those who are criticizing him need to go back and study the history of their party and country, and then to say whether, apart from Hammie Green, there is anyone else who should rightly assume the leadership of the PNCR.
Robert Corbin is a tried and tested soldier within the PNCR. This man was groomed at the feet of Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham and became a Vice President of this country under Forbes Burnham. Burnham would never elevate political minions to such high office.
Corbin has been a loyal member of his party, and has never broken his commitment to the decisions taken by the party, even though I am sure he may not have agreed with everything that was done or decided upon. He has never shown dissent within his party, from which he has emerged through the ranks. This is a discipline that I find is increasingly lacking within the PNCR.
I do not agree with what took place at the last Congress, but I also do not feel that there is anyone within the party, at this moment, that is fit and proper to replace Robert Corbin as Leader of the party. I would urge those aspiring to leadership of the party to understand that the party is supreme to their own ambitions, and that what is necessary is the discipline to subordinate one’s self to the greater good of the party, even if it is at the price of one’s own self-interest.
Robert Herman Orlando Corbin has always had that discipline. He waited his time. He should have been leader long ago, but he waited until the party felt it was his time.
He must be given his due. The man is a political animal and is the most experienced politician in the leadership of his party. He is undeserving of the disrespect that he is being shown.
There are persons who, in their frustration with the PNCR not regaining political power, wish for Mr. Corbin to do all manner of things. They want him to take to the streets, not recognizing that without the mass-based support and the resources, this is not possible. They want him to take action, but many of them are not themselves willing to join in this action.
He is experienced enough to know that what is needed is not more militancy but, rather, a smarter opposition. What are needed are not destructive street protests. This plays right into the hands of the PPP.
Corbin also knows that the era of political bullying of the Government is over. He knows that there can be no Orange Revolution in Guyana, because it is not in keeping with the cultures of our people. He knows that the West wants to see regime change through the ballot, and not through actions which will undermine the massive investments made in this country. He knows that there has to be democratic change, because the West would not accept anything else.
He also knows that, for there to be change in Guyana, the vast majority of the people of this country must want it. Right now, there is not that unity of purpose, and he also knows that the time is not right — the objective conditions are not in place that would allow for the voting out of the PPP.
There may be concerns that, under his leadership, the PNCR is losing its leaders. The problem is not that it has lost so many in so short a period under his watch. The real problem is that it took so long for this attrition to take place.
The PNCR was long in need of renewal. Desmond Hoyte did not renew the party. He simply brought in a whole range of individuals, called the REFORM, and ignored the fundamental need for the party to renew itself through carefully timed and measured replacements of its old leadership.
That process, inevitably, has now been forced upon the party, not because of the leadership style of Corbin, but because its time has come. The changes that are now taking place within the party are good for the party, because they will allow for renewal and also allow the party to rebuild within the next two years leading up to the 2011 elections.
The PNCR stands no chance of winning that election, but it should seek to regain lost ground and rebuild for 2016. You cannot force a new day. You can only prepare for that day whenever it comes. This is why Robert Corbin is so important, because he is best suited to this rebuilding process that will allow the party to be ready for 2016.