Find way to utilise parliament as platform for opposition activities
-Human rights body urges Corbin
Stabroek News
February 17, 2003

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The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) has proposed that new PNCR leader Robert Corbin consider “the urgency of finding a formula for utilising Parliament as the platform for opposition activities.”

The human rights body in a recent letter expressing congratulations to Corbin on his election as PNCR leader noted that the circumstances in which he had assumed that responsibility “could hardly be more challenging,” a GHRA release stated.

The letter contended that “withdrawal from Parliament is a credible short-term tactic to register symbolic protest, [but] as a longer-term strategy it risks blurring the line bet-ween an elected opposition and other extra-parliamentary forces.”

“De-linking protest from Parliament in the current crisis renders difficult the task of distinguishing the PNC from other extra-parliamentary elements with a more violent or extreme agenda,” the human rights body told Corbin.

The GHRA added that it would not wish its opinions on this matter to be misconstrued as passing judgement on the validity of the grounds for the original decision to boycott parliament.

According to the release, the letter also reiterated the GHRA’s appeal that the PNCR should appreciate the hitherto untapped capacity of parliament for resolving many of its stated grievances. “For a variety of historical reasons, the parliamentary culture in Guyana is rudimentary and its true potential which lies not so much in the Chamber, but in the Committee rooms, is frequently overlooked,” the letter stated.

GHRA said also that the record of the two parties working in committee reinforces this view, and “despite public animosity they have a remarkably good record in terms of getting things done,” as in the work of the Constitutional Reform Commission and the Public Accounts Committee.

The GHRA letter further suggested that Corbin should consider the potential of the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reform as the key for resolution of the issues underlying the current crisis.

The human rights body indicated too that it would welcome an opportunity to discuss these considerations with the party, the release added.

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