The new PNCR leader What the People say about...
By Andre Haynes
Stabroek News
February 24, 2003

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What do you think about the new PNCR leader Robert Corbin? What are your expectations for him? Do you think he is the right man for the job and if not, then who is? These are the questions we posed to the man/woman-in-the-street this week.

Aubrey De Jonge - `I think he is the right man for the job and I believe he can take the party forward and continue with the work from where [Desmond] Hoyte left off. But the party needs to implement strategies for dealing with things, other than boycotting parliament for example. They need to come out and implement ways to help people and the party to move forward and as leader that will be one of my expectations of him. I think Mr Corbin has the potential and he is more than capable of leading the party. I think his visits to Annandale and Buxton were a brave start. All leaders need to be brave, not in the sense of putting their lives at risk but by trying to save others. Those people who they visited had many things to complain about and they got the opportunity when he visited. And the party can analyse their problems and try to find a way to deal with it. And also as a leader, you have to know all the people, not just one group. He visited both villages and he seems to be making an effort to reach out to all Guyanese. It was a very good idea to visit with a view to helping the people. I think Mr Corbin is working to move forward and if he continues the way he is going now I think he is going to be a great leader.'

Joan Malpica - social worker: `Hopefully he can make a difference. We have to wait and see if he can make a difference in the values and standards of the Guyanese people. The country seems to be falling apart and anarchy is reigning. We are too divided. I think he needs to work hand-in-hand with the PPP government to unite the country. What is needed is hard work and delayed gratification.'

Vincent Ignatius - security: `I don't think he is the right person for the job. You need to get a man who is genuinely for everybody, all the races and I don't think that Robert Corbin is that man. I believe that Raphael Trotman is a man for everybody and I think he is better suited to lead the PNC. To me Corbin is from the [Forbes] Burnham era and during that time the party was only for black people and that is not right for the country now. Guyana is not one race and I think Trotman is for every race and with him we will come together. With Corbin the country will be divided.'

Rhonda Alleyne - teacher: `Given what he has done so far I think he is the right person. I think it's about time the PNCR has somebody who is more radical, who has a more hands-on approach and who will get things done. It seems as though he will get things done, although the means he'll use are left to be seen. But he seems to have a vision and knows what he wants and how to achieve it. He visited the depressed communities on the East Coast and he visited Linden since he assumed the leadership and it looks as though he is trying to get in touch with the people at the grass roots level. At first I was a little confused with what his objective was but it is important that political leaders befriend those people rather than berate them. They need to get them to understand what they are doing is self-destructive and not constructive. You can't look down on them and deal with them in an arrogant way, that is not the way to get them to put down the guns. Visiting Buxton was very important and so too was visiting the surrounding communities to learn from the people how it was affecting them and understand how he can provide relief. He needs to bridge those broken relationships, that is the only way forward. As the saying goes: United we stand, divided we fall. They need to rebuild the relationship those communities had. I think the President needs to visit Buxton in particular to find out from the people why they are doing what they are doing.'

K. Persaud - refrigeration\air conditioning technician: `I think he is the right person for the job and I think he is on the right track. He is trying to motivate the people and by doing so it will bring some harmony in the country. He is the right person, he has been in the party some time and he has the experience. He started out on the right track, going back into parliament and making an effort to restart the dialogue. Without it you can't get anywhere. And if he continues like he is going he will be the next president of the country.'

Shelida Walcott - senior programme assistant: `He is the right person for the job. Firstly because of his experience, he has been in the party quite a while and has been involved in the PNC at all levels. He knows about party politics, policies and over time I think he has learnt what the needs of the people are and how to address them.'

Arnold Sharma - carpenter: `I think he is the guy. He has been in the PNCR a long time and he deserves that position. I think he is the best person to lead the party because he has the experience. And I thought that him visiting Buxton and Annandale was good. He spoke with the people and that is what needs to be done. I just hope that he can unite the races in the country.'

Kiffany Benjamin - student: `A lot of people have been saying a lot of negative things about him but I don't see anything bad about him, he is an individual. But the way he is running the party right now, I think he has started on a negative note, he shouldn't have withdrawn from parliament. He should go to parliament and try to participate to help build the country. The country is in a very bad state right now and it could be better if they take part and help to rebuild it. But I don't think Mr Corbin is the right person for the job. I think the party needs somebody smart, somebody who is selfless and somebody who can really make a difference. And also somebody sensitive to the needs of the Guyanese people.

Sean Holder - mason: `I think he is the only fit person for the party leadership. He has the qualifications, he has the esteem and he has the drive to push the party to where it is supposed to be. I see they have made the first step by going back into Parliament so that there could be unity among the two main political parties and that they could work together to build the country. As leader of the party I hope he is the man who will take the PNC into power.'

Nilawattie Jones - housewife: `I think he is the right person. He has been there too since his youth, since the YSM and he knows about politics and leadership and he is what is needed in that position. I have heard a lot of people say Raphael Trotman is the right person for the job but I haven't followed much of his career. I know Corbin and he is somebody who can deal with the country's situation, I think he is hardened to this type of thing. I am not saying that there aren't others, but I only know of him and his ability. His visiting Buxton and Annandale, I thought that was a good move instead of forming barricades. I think those barricades are wrong and are dividing the people more. I think Corbin knows how to be a leader, he went to Annandale and he listened to their situation. I think he will bring peace back to the people of the country.'

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