An impressive gesture
February 8, 2003
The visit of the new leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, Mr. Robert Corbin, and a team of senior party members to Annandale on Thursday to listen to the complaints of the villagers, predominantly Indian, who have been under severe pressure from criminals in the neighbouring community of Buxton is an act of political imagination and creativity worthy of the highest commendation. In this act of statesmanship, Mr. Corbin has established a direct link and concern with people who do not normally support his party and has shown a willingness to cut right through the ethnic divisions that have bedevilled this nation for so long.
True it is only a beginning, but a very important one. Mr. Corbin and his advisers by this visit have made a statement of symbolic importance. If this theme that he is a national and not a sectoral leader and has the interests of all the people of this tortured nation at heart can be persisted in and developed imaginatively, it has the capacity to revolutionise politics in this country.
The visit came at a time when he has accepted the invitation of President Jagdeo to a meeting. One must hope that this meeting will discuss, among other matters, the things that need to be done to complete the implementation of the agreements reached in the dialogue process, the possible resumption of that process when that has happened, the return to parliament based on agreement on the new model of management of parliament, the finalisation of the formula for setting up the new sectoral committees and a number of ancillary matters, and a joint programme to tackle the crime epidemic. So much is possible with goodwill, a bit of give and take and the kind of practical intelligence that both Mr. Jagdeo and Mr. Corbin possess.
It is a good and brave start. It leads one to hope that our problems are not insoluble. For so many years we have wasted our energies fighting each other and saved so little for developing what could be this magnificent province. Our brothers and sisters have fled overseas in their multitudes. Many hope and pray for a new dispensation where there is a higher level of tolerance and understanding on all sides and where we can start, however falteringly, on the path forward to a peaceful and prosperous future in an open, democratic society.