Attorney at law Winston Murray who is PNCR Shadow Finance Minister in the National Assembly remains in that position, according to Leader of the main Opposition Party, Robert Corbin.
Corbin was seeking to allay fears that Murray may not be holding that position given his refusal to give a traditional initial comment following the budget presentation on Monday last.
Murray is also traditionally present at the PNCR first press briefing following the presentation of the Budget where a detailed analysis and critique of the presentation is proffered.
Corbin was accompanied at yesterday’s press briefing by Africo Selman, PNCR Member of Parliament and member of the National Congress of Women (the women’s arm of the party) and Mini Fernandes, a Region One member of the Guyana Youth and Student Movement (the youth arm of the party).
Corbin, at yesterday’s press briefing, said that he could not comment on Murray’s refusal to respond to questions on the budget. He suggested that Murray may have needed time to fully analyze the details of the budget.
“I don’t think you should read anything into his absence…He has some other duties which I know about and on Monday he will not be in Parliament.”
Corbin pointed out that on Monday Murray has an important engagement in another part of the country which could not be postponed, “but he will be there in the debates” and will be speaking in the capacity of Shadow Minister of Finance.
Murray recently resigned as Chairman of the party following disagreements over his position on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Europe and CARIFORUM countries.
In the face of insinuations that there may have been other reasons for the renouncement of the chairmanship, Corbin declined to comment, saying that it was party business.
Murray is the highest ranking member of the party to have taken such drastic action over disagreements with the party hierarchy.
Murray’s resignation took effect on January 15 but he remains a member of the PNCR and continues to sit as a Member of Parliament for the party.
Murray had said his resignation was a direct result of his principled objection to the issuance of a statement in the name of the PNCR, which essentially amounted to an abandonment of the position that he publicly represented at the consultations held by President Bharrat Jagdeo last September on the then proposed EPA.
He had represented the party as leader, since Corbin was out of the country at the time. Murray had essentially supported President Bharrat Jagdeo’s position that the EPA was a bad deal for Guyana.
His resignation as Chairman sparked renewed controversy over Corbin’s leadership of the party.
Early in December, 2008, then Vice-Chairman Vincent Alexander resigned from the Local Government Task Force, on which he was representing the party, and did not renew his membership of the party.
Alexander’s resignation followed the decision of the party to recall James McAllister as a Member of Parliament.
McAllister was part of “Team Alexander” which in April 2007 expressed interest in mounting a challenge to Corbin’s leadership at the party’s biennial congress. The challenge was withdrawn just before the Congress in the face of “hostility”, Alexander had stated.
Dissent in the PNCR started to show up glaringly when Raphael Trotman resigned in May 2005 and joined with Khemraj Ramjattan, who was booted from the ruling People’s Progressive Party, to form their own political movement and contest the 2006 general elections.
Since then, several key members of the PNCR have left, including Stanley Ming, Peter Ramsaroop and Jerome Khan. VCT television owner, Anthony Vieira, who joined the party in 2006, had also recently resigned from being a Member of Parliament for the party, but withdrew his resignation upon the insistence of Corbin.
In recent times some of the other members of the party that have parted ways include Jerome Khan, Supriya Singh, Artie Ricknauth, Eric Phillips, Hamley Case, Andrew Hicks, Joseph Hamilton, Julianne Gaul, Chiyedza James, Rickford Burke, Dr. Mark Kirton, Sherwood Lowe, Ricky Khan, Dr. Faith Harding, Ivor Allen, Dr. Dalgeish Joseph, Joe Simon DeFreitas and Desmond Moses among others.
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