PNC/R must share some of the blame
July 9, 2002
The PNC/R must share some of the blame for the events that occurred at the Office of the President last week, central executive committee member Raphael Trotman said.
"The party should claim equal responsibility. [The events] were not planned by the party nor the party’s executive, but the party cannot divorce itself from the events," Trotman told Stabroek News yesterday.
Two protesters were shot dead at the Office of the President last Wednesday when a group stormed the presidential complex following an illegal march along East Coast Demerara and in Georgetown.
Trotman said the PNC/R was involved in some way in the mobilisation of the demonstrators even though the consequences were not planned. "The party has to be brave enough to accept some responsibility in terms of the loss of life and all the persons affected; they are consequences which flowed and therefore we cannot pretend we were in no way involved. The entire episode is regretted, particularly the loss of life and property."
Trotman made it clear that at no time was the PNC/R involved in any plot to overthrow the government.
He stated the party was only involved in the mobilisation of thousands of disaffected persons to vent to their feelings by the way of a protest march.
Last week, Chairman of the PNC/R, Robert Corbin, had said that the party was in no way responsible for the events, which followed the march. He said the party always operated within the confines of the law but certain elements had infiltrated the demonstration.
Corbin also disassociated the PNC/R from any perceived attempt to topple the presidency.
Trotman attested that no-one in the party relished the idea of a confrontational approach to the issues.
"We all have tried to avoid confrontation but the enabling conditions remain despite our best efforts to eschew them," he said. "Once we’re locked in a winner-take-all system, like we are in every five years, we would always be locked in conflict."
He stated there must be some serious constitutional re-engineering to give effect of the various fears and expectations of the different interest groups.
He pointed out that many areas of the constitutional reform process have not been implemented and even with those implemented there was still a political impasse and a stand-off in Parliament.
"We need to embark on something which addresses the balance of power proportionately. I believe the whole business of Parliament needs to be revisited and so, too, the other areas of government such as local government and the administration of boards and commissions in a manner which give due proportionality to the balance of power that exists," he stated.
Trotman pointed out that the party has been undergoing a process of regeneration since prior to 1997 when younger politicians like himself Deborah Backer, Sherwood Lowe and Joseph Hamilton entered the fray. “It is our belief that the party started a process of regeneration. This begun before we arrived and would no doubt continue."
REFORM member, Peter Ramsaroop, has issued a call for a new generation PNC/R, which would provide racial harmony, servant leadership and democracy in Guyana.
Ramsaroop also condemned the violence, which occurred at the Office of the President. He criticised the two REFORM Members of Parliament (MP) for refusing to speak out on the incident.
But REFORM parliamentarian, Stanley Ming, said yesterday that most of what Ramsaroop said about himself and fellow MP Jerome Khan were inaccurate.
He pointed out that both himself and Khan were out of the country at the time of the incident at the Office of the President. Ming said he always preferred to deal with such issues internally and did not want to comment further at this time.