The party constitution provides for leadership changes
January 11, 2002
Mr Rickford Burke's letter (9.1.2002) puts failure at the foot of Mr Desmond Hoyte squarely when he wrote in reference to the PNC that 'Indeed the party has never produced any evidence to establish that it won the 1992, 1997 and 2001 elections, although it successfully challenged the validity of the 1997 elections in court.
Mr Burke writes a lot about democracy and must know that in the US where he writes from or in the UK if a leader loses three consecutive elections then the decent thing to do is to resign. Or is there no decency here? Please Mr Burke do not seek to shift the focus. Most people believe that Mr Hoyte has made his contribution and that it is time for him to retire to North Road or wherever he chooses.Mr Burke states that the debate should not be about Mr Hoyte 'It should be about the future and who is best suited to assume the reins of leadership'. Well Mr Hoyte must be an issue since he has failed to do the decent thing and resign.
There is agreement with Mr Burke that there is need to focus on the future. However, the writer disagrees that we must become involved in 'who is best suited to assume the reins of leadership'. If we claim to be democratic then we must operate within the confines of the rule of law. The supreme law of our party is the party constitution which states in Article (4) under the caption Vacancy in office of the Leader that (a) If the Office of Leader becomes vacant due to death, incapacity, resignation or other circumstances, the Chairman shall assume the functions of the leader for the time being. (b) In the case of death or resignation, General Council shall meet within sixty (60) days to elect an interim Leader who shall function until Congress elects a Leader.'
The foregoing has established beyond doubt that the party has the required mechanism to deal with leadership succession and thus Mr Burke's contention that 'Mr Norton and his colleagues should work on fostering a consensus candidate' is irrelevant and an attempt to create disunity in the emerging party leadership and create the conditions for Mr Hoyte to say there is no alternative to him. After thirty-one years in politics such an infantile stroke from a Johnny come lately will never trap me. The leadership issue has long been resolved by our constitution.
What is interesting is that Mr Burke has failed to deal with the major issues of concern to our supporters. He does not deal with the crucial issue of land distribution at a time when Mr Baksh and the PPP are distributing the land in Region four in a way that many of their supporters are being moved to Region four. This means in the next election the PPP will be in a better position to win Region four, while Hoyte's appointees to Boards will be powerless to help our supporters.
Mr Burke seems not to have the concerns of our supporters at heart. Again he has failed to deal with the situation in which while Mr Hoyte is dialoguing, the PPP regime continues to fire public servants and rehire their cronies at their whims, fancies and caprices.
Mr Burke is insinuating that I am opposed to dialogue with' the PPP. This is far from the truth. I support a genuine dialogue, which seeks to give power to our party commensurate to our support. Unfortunately the present dialogue is a PPP ploy that keeps Hoyte talking while our supporters are battered into subjection. This dialogue is a farce and our people are suffering.
Unfortunately the things that Mr Burke is citing as successes for Mr Hoyte do not change the state of our supporters. At best they merely provide Mr Hoyte with the opportunity to dole out patronage to those he favours and ensure his personal political survival. What should come first is the issues of concern to our supporters. These issues are the ones not obtaining attention.
Let's face reality, Hoyte must go and go fast so that the party can organise itself for 2006. This is the best contribution he can make to our people at this stage.
Aubrey C. Norton