PNC/R Congress to discuss dialogue process

Guyana Chronicle
February 1, 2003

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THE main Opposition People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R) has said that whoever is elected Leader at its Congress today, is expected to leave the Congress with the full endorsement of the party.

The PNC/R, at a news conference at its Congress Place, Georgetown headquarters Thursday, said though today's Congress was called at short notice and will only be for one day, it will be "very intense and successful".

"We will demonstrate that the PNC/R is a focussed, strong, united and powerful national party," PNC/R Executive Member, Mr. Deryck Bernard said in a press statement he read at the news conference.

"The indications are that there will be full representation at this Congress, including the members from our hinterland areas who are making special efforts to get here at great trouble and expense. We know, therefore, that though our Congress was called at short notice and will only last for one day, it will be very intense and successful," he said.

He noted that the recent death of former President and Leader of the PNC/R, Mr. Desmond Hoyte, had created a void which must be filled. The death came at a time when the party was engaged in an active rethink of its policies and approaches to many issues at the suggestion or prodding of Mr. Hoyte himself, he said.

"These matters must be taken to their active conclusions for though we mourn the passing of our great Leader, we also recognise that the business of working towards national reform must continue," Bernard said.

He said, too, that the party's Central Executive Committee considered all the options and decided, after deep and mature consideration, that the most appropriate and legally satisfactory way forward, at this time, will be to do three things:

** Elect a new Leader of the party to succeed Mr. Hoyte;
** To receive reports from groups which were tasked with revising party tactics and strategy in certain key areas identified at the PNC/R's 13th Biennial Congress which was held in August last year; and
** To debate and discuss the key issues of party strategy and the national political situation.

He also told reporters that there will be several important matters for debate at this Congress, and it is expected that the party will take firm positions and, if necessary, pass the necessary resolutions to affirm or reaffirm policy positions on various national issues.

"...we expect that delegates will debate the PNC/R position on national security, crime prevention and human rights issues. The party will also debate the deteriorated state of the national economy and the accelerated collapse of the systems of governance, law and administration," Bernard said.

"One of the most important issues to be debated will be the failed dialogue process and the parliamentary impasse which has dominated political life over recent years," he said, adding that the PNC/R expects that the congress will review the situation and determine what shall be its future positions on these matters.

He said the PNC/R Secretariat had sought and received nominations for the position of party Leader and there have been responses to that request.

He, however, did not disclose who the candidates for the position of Leader of the PNC/R would be, but said they have been asked to indicate whether they will stand for this position. (MARK RAMOTAR)

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