‘We will win next elections and then move to shared governance’
-Corbin tells supporters
Stabroek News
July 8, 2003

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PNCR leader, Robert Corbin has dismissed suggestions from some members of his party that the PNCR will not contest the next general election unless there was some form of shared governance in place.

Corbin was at the time on a visit to West Coast, Berbice on Thursday, to explain the implications of the communique signed between the PNCR and the government.

“Comrades don’t be fooled, in order to share government you have to have it and the PNCR is determined to win the next election and then go down that route.”

He told party supporters at the Belladrum Primary School that the party’s signing of the communique was not an alternative to hard political work required to deal with the ruling PPP/C government.

Corbin told the residents that the communique would be meaningless if the parties involved did not carry forward the agreements. He said his party signed the communique because Guyana had been and still was in a serious economic crisis. He said this was a spin-off from bad governance, a lack of vision and bad economic and political policies.

He contended that the tragic events of the July 3 storming of the Presidential Complex last year had their genesis in the mismanagement of the bauxite industry. He said residents of Kwakwani, Linden and Everton had come to Georgetown and encamped in front of the Prime Minster’s residence on Main Street due to the government’s “sell-out”.

He said that after being there for weeks and with nothing done they formed themselves into a large group and visited other communities which had similar problems. He said the march on July 3 was a shout for better social and economic conditions for those people.

Corbin remarked that while the bauxite industry was collapsing, the rice and sugar industries had also taken a downturn. “So comrades let us not look on the sugar industry as the silver lining. Sugar prices on the world market have not been encouraging.”

He told the gathering that while all these events were happening many of the party’s members were marginalised resulting in discontent. On the issue of crime, Corbin said rather than dealing with the explosive crime situation when it started, the government had sought to make it into a political issue. He acknowledged that there was crime during the PNCR reign but that the government had handled the situation well.

“But now we have an expanded drug trade. Years ago Guyana was a trans-shipment point, now it is a major operating point.”

Corbin said there continued to be extra-judicial killings and police protection for drug lords. He said all these matters had led to a society losing hope in a system which was breeding criminals.

He said the killing of Shaka Blair in Buxton by members of the Target Special Squad, had fuelled demonstrations in Buxton and the subsequent ban on policemen in the village. But he said unfortunately because the police were not allowed into the village, other persons who had grouses with police officers took up residence and started up a criminal enterprise.

The PNCR leader said despite all these problems his party wanted to build a booming economy and to develop Guyana in all sectors. This could only be done by winning elected office.

“This is the time my comrades and the communique provides for us to reorganise...This is the season for education to brief our members on what’s happening in our country so that they can be able to cope with the time.”

He said now was the time for PNCR members to lift themselves from the economic quagmire and a time to make demands on the government, noting that the money in the Treasury belonged to taxpayers.