Candidates for PNC leadership must state their position on issues
Stabroek News
April 11, 2002

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Dear Editor,

If one is to accept the results of the last elections, more than forty percent of the Guyanese nation pins its hopes and aspirations in the PNC as an institution and these persons therefore have a vested interest on who is elected its leader at the next Congress. Some persons have stated that Mr. Hoyte should be allowed "space and time" to groom his successor.

Such persons have gotten it all wrong: in a democratic organisation, the membership elects the leaders based on its understanding of the contestants' ability; their positions on social, political and economic issues; and the goals of the organisation. It therefore means that any member who feels that he or she has something to offer can enter the contest and campaign for any position including that of leader. This of course is not limited to a situation in which Mr. Hoyte declares that he is not seeking re-election - any individual can be challenged and the party should not seek to suppress such eventualities in the misconceived motion of "unity".

Thus Mr. Aubrey Norton's view that Mr. Desmond Hoyte must not be returned as leader of the PNC/R is healthy for a democratic organization. Norton must therefore be respected as an individual who is willing to push the democratic principles to its ultimate limits and cause its leaders to be truly elected rather than being put in place by organised acclamations.

It is in this light that I wish to see the likes of Messrs Vincent Alexander, Debra Backer, Robert Corbin, James Mc Allister, Aubrey Norton and Raphael Trotman put their "hats into the ring", whether or not Mr. Hoyte is contesting. The contestants will then embark on programmes to promote their candidacy. They for instance must state their positions on: the party organization and its finances, constitutional reform, power sharing and governance; relationship with other opposition parties, economic and developmental policies, and last but not least, race relations.

These are the issues on which a leader should be elected not issues such as: age - whether young or old, length of time in the party - whether before or after Burnham, and level of academic brilliance. So I look forward to hearing from the candidates on the issues that matter to us - the suffering PNC/R members and supporters.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Dawson