Special congress set for Feb 1 to choose new PNCR leader
No challengers to Corbin so far

Stabroek News
January 6, 2003

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The PNCR is to convene a special delegates congress on February 1, to elect a new leader.

The post became vacant with the death of former leader Desmond Hoyte. PNCR chairman Robert Corbin has been performing the functions of the leader and will continue to do so until the Congress to elect a leader.

A committee headed by party vice-chairman, Vincent Alexander is spearheading the preparations for the meeting and developing the agenda.

Sources close to the party have informed Stabroek News that the decision to elect a new leader now, rather than an interim leader at a general council meeting as could have been done under the party’s constitution was taken so as to mobilise the party.

It was also seen as important to set the tasks ahead and to send a strong message to the country and the international community that the party is united and determined to carry on the struggle.

Stabroek News also understands that Corbin is the only candidate for the leadership at the moment as the other leading contenders for the post while Hoyte was alive, Vincent Alexander and Raphael Trotman, have thrown their support behind Corbin.

Corbin declined to challenge Hoyte for the post at the party’s last congress, as did the party’s vice chairman, Vincent Alexander, and central executive member Raphael Trotman.

He subsequently defeated both of them in the election for chairman and Alexander defeated Trotman in the race for the post of vice chairman.

Corbin has practically grown up in the PNC. He has been chairman of its youth arm and has served at various times as its general secretary, vice-chairman and chairman and has been a member of its central executive committee for more than two decades.

As leader, Corbin’s immediate priorities, according to an interview he gave to the Stabroek News last week, would be to ensure that the party is strengthened and reorganised to discharge its tasks more efficiently. He also hopes to establish a business arm that could fund the party’s welfare activities among other things, and to implement the policy decisions taken at the party’s congress in August including the promotion of the shared governance proposals.

He has stated too his intention to continue to struggle for the same things as Hoyte - good governance, an inclusive society and a prosperous Guyana.

In his speech at Hoyte’s funeral and in his New Year’s message, Corbin has sounded conciliatory themes, expressing the hope that the belated recognition of Hoyte’s contribution to Guyana’s development signalled the dawn of a new era in Guyana’s politics. He said that he would be willing to co-operate with the government if it were to initiate new approaches and take positive steps to address the concerns of the poor and marginalised communities across the country.

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