Winston Murray touted as favourite for party’s Presidential Candidate
With the 2011 General Elections fast approaching, coupled with the Leader of the Opposition signaling that he is not interested in being the presidential candidate, there is a plethora of speculations as to who should be the People’s National Congress Reform’s consensus candidate.
The name instinctively being referred to by members of the hierarchy of the party is Winston Murray.
When contacted by this newspaper, Murray said that at this point in time he will be offering no comments on the matter.
Dr Richard Van West Charles who recently had signaled his intention to challenge incumbent leader of the party, incumbent Robert Corbin, and had subsequently supported Murray’s challenge, has again thrown his weight behind him.
According to Dr Van West Charles, if Murray does not accept such a nomination then he will be available, but his position is that Murray will be a good candidate and he has his support.
Another longstanding member of the party, Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Aubrey Norton told this newspaper that he is of the opinion that Murray is the best person to run as presidential candidate against the People’s Progressive Party in the next general elections.
This was also the view of party Shadow Home Affairs Minister Deborah Backer who said that she supports Corbin’s position that there should be a consensus candidate and her “instinctive choice” was Murray.
According to Backer, she would readily throw her weight behind Murray as the party’s presidential candidate.
This newspaper also spoke to several other persons in the party who told this newspaper that Murray would be the ideal candidate to be the presidential candidate for the PNCR in 2011.
In January of last year, following differences with the party on their position on the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union, Murray resigned as party Chairman and subsequently challenged Corbin for the leadership of the party. He was unsuccessful in that bid.
A Parliamentarian since 1985 Winston Shripal Murray attended the London School of Economics, London University BSC (Hons) Econs in 1970; he also attended the Institute of International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC where he obtained a Certificate in Public Finance, in 1975; he also attended the University of Guyana where he obtained with Credit his LLB in 1996 thence to the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago where he obtained his Legal Education Certificate in 2000.
From 1970 to 1972 he served as an economist in the Ministry of Trade. The following two years he held the position of Second Secretary, Guyana Embassy, Brussels, Belgium.
Between the years 1974 and 1979 Murray was a Senior Economist/Deputy Secretary to the Treasury in the Ministry of Finance. Murray was also the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry between the years 1979 and 1983.
Commencing in 1983 for one year he served as Head of the Department of International Economic Co-operation at Office of the President, Guyana.
Murray was also Guyana’s Head of the Presidential Secretariat in 1985 and from that time to when the PNCR lost office Murray served as Senior Minister/Deputy Prime Minister – Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Industry.
Murray has over the years had many accomplishments as a negotiator including: Barter deal exchanging bauxite for TU 154 aircraft with USSR, Agreements with Japan for electricity generating facilities on the West Bank of Demerara and Garden of Eden, Acquisition of Universal tractors from Romania, Investment Promotion and Protection Treaty with Korea, Double taxation agreement with Canada.
He also served as Guyana’s principal spokesman and negotiator on CARICOM affairs, negotiated the Common External Tariff for such critical items as rice, sugar, wood and wood products as well as handled the harmonisation of fiscal incentives and industrial planning within CARICOM.
In the Trade Ministry, Murray was responsible for devising and overseeing a system for determining the foreign exchange requirements for importers, on the basis of which import licences were granted.
He also served as liaison officer for trade and economic missions to Guyana.
In the case of the People’s Republic of China, Murray prepared the report for Cabinet on an economic mission from that country and identified the specific projects, which Guyana should pursue for economic cooperation. Cabinet adopted that report in its entirety.
He was also seconded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1971 and 1972 to serve on the Guyana delegation to the United Nations, New York and served on the 5th Committee of the U.N. and articulated Guyana’s position on the U.N. budget as well as on proposals for reorganisation of some departments.
Murray has also served as Guyana’s Alternate Governor to the IMF, IBRD, IDB and CDB.
He performed functions of President of Guyana on two separate occasions and was among other achievements awarded Guyana’s Cacique Crown of Honour (CCH) in 1984.