Corbin gets ready to relinquish PNCR top post
- Granger, Greenidge set to go head-to-head for leadership
“the party (PNCR) must have at every level, fresh and talented young faces representing every shade of Guyana’s life in the leadership of the party at both the local and national levels” – Robert Corbin
By Gary Eleazar
The Peoples National Congress Reform is gearing to host its 17th Biennial Congress and according to the Party Leader, Robert Corbin, “Guyana is in a new political situation for which there is no blue print.”
Corbin who for the first time since the 2011 Regional and General Election has spoken publicly on the results said that while there is no blueprint for the current political landscape there are lessons to be learnt from countries with similar experiences.
Corbin was at the time addressing the North American Region (NAR) of the PNCR’s Conference on Saturday in New York.
The PNCR will be hosting its Biennial Congress from July 26 to 29 at which point in time the election will be held for party leadership.
Current leader of the Party, Corbin has signaled that he has no intention of once again seeking to retain the position and drew reference to an earlier intimation that he wanted to see a fresh cadre of leaders at the helm.
Already Retired Brigadier David Granger is a favorite contender for the position but there is indication that the only real challenge will be coming from the party’s Former Finance Minister Carl Greenidge.
Greenidge had contested alongside Granger, Basil Williams, Dr. Faith Harding and Basil Williams to be the party’s Presidential Candidate for last November’s general elections.
Granger emerged the winner of that race but could not propel A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) to victory at the polls.
APNU is the coalition with which the PNCR had aligned itself to for the 2011 election and remains its largest partner.
There is word that while Basil Williams may still have support enough to be nominated to contest for the post of Leader of the party, he will decline should such a nomination occur.
Corbin as he informed and geared up the NAR for the party congress, reminded that it is the highest decision making forum of the party, where members have an opportunity to determine the way forward.
“It is also the occasion to identify and elect persons who will be mandated to take the party forward…I urge that you consider seriously all the matters to be determined at that congress.”
He drew reference to one of his previous Congress Addresses where he had said that “A careful analysis will tell us that our immediate objective should be to oppose with vigour and energy those policies and actions of the incumbent government, which are inimical to the best interest and welfare of the people of Guyana.”
He had also suggested that while in Opposition, the PNCR must also focus on empowering “our supporters economically and ensuring that they are prepared and equipped to utilise the opportunities available in the society…Our other objective should be to do all that is necessary and relevant to returning the PNCR to government in order to pursue our programmes and vision for the people of Guyana.”
Corbin said that he believes that this still remains an unfulfilled task, “albeit we may have a majority in Parliament under the banner of APNU working in cooperation with the AFC.”
Speaking to his future and the imminent new leader of the party, Corbin firstly pointed out that there is no problem in having the Leader of the
PNCR and either the President or Leader of the Opposition being a separate person.
He was speaking to the confusion that had surrounded his post as Leader of the party when Brigadier (rtd.) David Granger was elected Presidential Candidate of the PNCR and subsequently leader of the Parliamentary Opposition.
As such, Corbin informed that, “consequently, any decision I make on this matter is based on more fundamental issues that are not new.”
Corbin expanded by drawing reference to his earlier intimations that he wanted to have the leadership of the party taken over by a younger corps of leaders.
He drew specific reference to his earlier statement that the “Party must have at every level, fresh and talented young faces representing every shade of Guyana’s life in the leadership of the party at both the local and national levels.”
He conceded that “of course, experienced heads will still be necessary to give stability and experience and indeed, some leaders are mature in body but young in mind…We need to be resolute and sincere in this matter or all the work of the past 50 years will come to nought.”
Turning his attention to the single most talked about event of the year thus far, namely the 2012 Budget Debates, Corbin told the conference that the APNU’s budget experience, “where they faced the intransigence and deception of the PPP/C would no doubt prepare them for the many other challenges they face and will face in the future.”
Corbin said that all have witnessed the challenges faced with the budget issue over the raise of electricity tariffs at Linden.
“The PPP/C has been trying to raise those rates for years but the PNCR vigorously resisted…That issue must be a constant reminder that we are representatives of people and the need to be in constant consultation.”
Addressing some of the critics, Corbin said that “as has been the tradition under the PNCR leadership, there have been many critics. I’ve heard the cry about who sold out and who made backroom deals. That however will not resolve our difficulties.”
The former Opposition Leader told the North American gathering that the situation now requires careful analysis, detailed planning after meaningful consultation and perfect dedication, commitment and loyalty in implementing those agreed on programmes.
“It is in this context that NAR can also play a significant role,” said Corbin as he challenged those in the Diaspora to commence from the working session of the Conference to begin the process of identifying some of the challenges and make recommendations for their resolution.