Norton and other critics have been notably deficient in crafting an alternative policy for the PNC
Stabroek News
January 11, 2002

Dear Editor,

Mr Aubrey Norton started the attack on the PNC leadership in the Stabroek News of January 3 2002. He was joined by Mr Donald Ainsworth and Mr CRB Edwards (SN January 7 and 9 respectively). Whatever were their intentions, they have manifestly failed. No one took them seriously. The arguments adduced by Ainsworth and Edwards to attack Mr Hoyte and the PNC/R are not worth a substantive response. In the case of Mr Ainsworth, it is the classic case of sour grapes. Having been sacked by Mr Hoyte he has waited fifteen years to give expression to his virulence and hatred of the PNC leader. But Ainsworth who has had some experience in politics in Guyana must know that hatred in politics is a dangerous master. It has caused him and Aubrey Norton to engage in the spectacle of attacking the party that gave them everything that they have. It is hard to forgive them, if only for this reason.

But it is Aubrey Norton's letter in the January 3 2002 issue that really prompted this letter. If we are to believe the vicious nonsense peddled in this letter, then Mr Hoyte has done nothing to revitalise and energise the PNC. Nothing could be further from the truth. And Norton of all people should know better. In 1994, when he started to snipe at the leadership of the party and in particular at Mr Hoyte personally, several people undertook to convey his concerns to the leader of the party. The leader of the party, albeit with reservations, agreed to meet Norton, Vincent Alexander and Gerald Willabus at the Kampala Hotel. The meeting was convened. Norton and Alexander expressed their concerns about the direction of the party and offered to craft a document which would not only redefine policy but, more importantly, re-organise the Secretariat. Mr Hoyte agreed. To this day he has not received a single proposal from these would-be leaders of the party.

This unfortunate development notwithstanding, Mr Hoyte proceeded to initiate the revitalisation of the party, a process that has been ongoing for some time, the latest manifestation of which is the addition of the Reform wing to the party itself. Mr Hoyte has presided over the change from a party that was saddled with outdated Marxist- Leninist philosophy to one that embraces a modern doctrine of market-oriented economics which is defined by the rule of law, democracy, and the need to allow every individual, regardless of race or creed, to realise their full potential.

This is the essence of the problem. Norton and others can fulminate about the party and leader lacking in energy and being unable to devise policies which can protect its supporters from the greed, incompetence and self-obsession of the PPP, but he and others have been notably deficient and barren as far as crafting an alternative policy for the PNC. The fact of the matter is that Norton and his "Cavacmites" are not capable of disciplined, programmed and sequential work. Indeed, Norton's tenure as General-Secretary failed because of a lack of discipline, especially in financial matters, and a tendency to engage in political adventurism. It took the very statesmanship of Mr Hoyte, which Norton vainly tries to deride, to rescue the PNC and this nation from the misguided and ill-advised actions of Norton and his cohorts. Their inexperience and obduracy brought the PNC and Guyana to the very brink of destruction.

In his letter, Norton tries to give short thrift to the contribution of Mr Hoyte to the development of Guyana. But he did not succeed. No one, and certainly not Aubrey Norton, can diminish Mr Hoyte's towering contribution to this country's development. He took an economy that was in the doldrums and by sheer effort, imagination and intellectual strength made it the envy of the English-speaking Caribbean because by 1991 Guyana had experienced a growth rate of 9% and was proud to be the recipient of millions of dollars in investment. And Mr Hoyte did this while Norton and his crowd scoffed and jeered.I wish Mr Norton well in what he is doing. He has embarked on a dangerous course which is not only likely to undermine the dialogue between the PNC and the PPP but more importantly the climate of trust between the two parties that this dialogue has engendered. Those who are senior to Norton and are egging him on and who should know better will have to take responsibility for the consequences of his actions.

Yours faithfully,

Dennis Grant