No open-ended commitment to remain as party leader
-Hoyte By Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
August 25, 2002

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People’s National Congress REFORM (PNC/R) leader, Desmond Hoyte, made clear on Friday that he has given no open-ended commitment to remain as leader of the party.

Hoyte was persuaded by members of the party to continue as leader and swamped his lone challenger, Germaine Van Sluytman for the post at last week’s congress by 508-33 votes.

He said that the quality of the contributions by the young people at the congress reassured him that the PNC/R would continue to be a strong and powerful force in the years to come.

Hoyte told a press conference that he had yielded to appeals by members of his party, sections of the business community and other persons from the society to remain at the helm until the country had passed the turbulent period it was going through. He said too that he yielded to the requests as they had indicated that he would have been acting irresponsibly if he had demitted office as he intended. He said that he could not live with that but stressed that he had given no open-ended commitment to remain at the helm of the party.

Hoyte noted that he had indicated earlier this year his desire to demit office by his next birthday, which is in March, so that he could do some other things with the time he had yet to live. However, he said, the situation has changed since then, as he “did not foresee that this country would have plunged into the terrible state that it has done.”

Commenting on the contribution of the young people to the deliberations at the congress, Hoyte said that he had dropped in on the discussions they had during the Guyana Youth and Student Movement (GYSM) congress on Sunday and was impressed by the intensity and focus of their discussions.

He observed that their contributions gave the lie to the myth that the membership was dwindling and there was a lack of interest in the younger people joining the party.

Parliamentarian and central executive member, Deryck Bernard also commented on the participation of the younger members of the party, describing it as a significant involvement both in the quality of their contributions and in their numbers.

Responding to questions that his continued presence at the head of the PNC/R could be contributing to the problems being faced by the country, Hoyte said that neither the party nor any of its members was responsible for the situation in which the country was.

That, he said, was the fault of the PPP/C government.

PNC/R vice chairman, Vincent Alexander who was at the press conference pointed out that Hoyte’s actions were the result of decisions by the party’s central executive and as leader of the party, Hoyte’s actions were indicative of the collective will of the party.

Also at the mid-morning press conference with Hoyte beside Alexander and Bernard were central executive members Lance Carberry, Volda Lawrence and Amna Ally, PNC/R general secretary Oscar Clarke and GYSM chairman, Lurlene Nestor.