Trotman is the right choice for leader
April 1, 2002
Letters on PNC Leadership
I must thank Ms Naomi Hopkinson for her reasoned and measured response to the PNC/R leadership debate,and must congragulate her for being quite forthright in her view. Like her, I think that the leadership issue is not only a matter for the party's delegates but also all of the non card-bearing supporters and prospective supporters alike. I must also thank you for allowing the citizens of this dear land of ours to use your medium to express their view on this important issue.
Let me say at the outset that I am one who cannot find myself supporting any political party which in my judgement is not in the interest of all Guyanese. That being the case, I cannot find myself supporting the PPP/C because they are not governing this country fairly and competently. They had promised to be fair upon accession to office but have deviated sharply when it mattered most. My personal interest is subsumed by the interest of the many. I am looking to support a political party that is capable of governing for all of Guya-nese, with fresh new ideas and leadership.
The facts are clear, and this is based on the last electoral roll and the pattern of voting, the PNC/R can never hope to return to office without luring about 15,000 or so votes from the PPP/C, and like it or not, it is therefore imperative for the PNC/R to rationalise their traditional support and to expand on this base. Past elections won by the PNC have been said to be irregular (to put it diplomatically) and as a right-minded young man in my twenties, I cannot but understand how others felt at being cheated. No amount of justification can explain away that fact which many of the PNC supporters know to be true. Like many others of my age we long to break away from the past and so we can have a future in the land of our birth rather than in some foreign country as is the case presently.
The persons that Ms Hopkinson mentioned as prospective leaders all have excellent intellectual and leadership credentials. But one fact stands out: that is all of them were top PNC officials during those unforgiving times and are thereby tainted and unacceptable for leadership. Mr Trotman is one of the many young persons who have joined the party in an attempt to change its image and of them all, he has exhibited in the opinion of many supporters of both the PPP/C and PNC/R, the astuteness of a leader who is unselfish in his efforts. His modesty seems to be his only weakness, not his intellectual leadership and administrative skills. And if Ms Hopkinson had been following the public utterances of this young man, she would not have raised such serious doubts about his ability and would have known of his stance on many national issues.
By being elected to the leadership of the party, it is incumbent upon Mr Trotman not to destroy the remaining fabric of the party as Mr Hoyte did. Are we saying that because some persons were associated with the party for a long time that it is their right to leadership? The choice of leader to my mind comes more exactly from the objective that is to be achieved and it is my contention that no other member of the PNC executive is more suited at this time than Mr Trotman. The Labour Party of the UK did this. It promoted Mr Blair in front Mr Prescott (who is now the deputy Prime Minister) who was the strongest contender with a longer history in the party than Mr Blair and the leader of organised labour - the backbone of the Labour Party). Yes, the old stalwarts will be invaluable in assisting the new leader to reorganise and revitalise the party structure.
There is work for every member and supporter of the party to embark on, and the prize should never be the leadership and by extension the Presidency of Guyana, the prize shall be victory at the 2006 polls for the PNC/R and all Guyanese.
And finally, like Raphael, I and many other Guyanese benefited from educational opportunities (don't know much about business) under the PNC government but this was not for us to blindly support but for us to be capable of questioning where our future lies and how we should get there.