Guyana Chronicle
August 29, 2004

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A PRELIMINARY assessment of Mr. Robert Corbin's address to the 14th Biennial Congress of the opposition PNCR suggests some rather positive aspects.

The address was wide-ranging in scope and showed Corbin's anxiety to make an impact in his first such address since succeeding the late Desmond Hoyte as party leader.

His disclosure, for instance, of a willingness to meet with "all parties and stakeholders", unconditionally, to help Guyana in overcoming its critical problems, is a most welcome development, especially when compared with the negative features that have been so much the politics of the PNCR.

Corbin's call to "close the chapter of the past" in the interest of building a secure and prosperous future for all Guyanese, would resonate with all political parties and civil society organisations that have themselves expressed, at various periods, such a commitment.

However, as the saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. What Mr. Corbin DOES after the business of the 14th Biennial Congress concludes is what will really matter.

The rhetoric of politicians and especially political leaders can be very overwhelming. This is true of the leadership of both the opposition PNCR and the governing PPPC. But it is their ACTIONS that count.

Consequently, on the assumption of good faith existing between the two dominant parties of this country, we look forward to a speedy resumption of the high-level dialogue process and a return to Parliament by the PNCR representatives.

Also, both sides of the Parliament must be ready for a serious debate, as soon as possible, on the provisions of the `Jagdeo-Corbin Communiqué’ of May 6, 2003, as well as on the National Development Strategy (NDS).

Now is not the time to point to evident equivocations and contradictions in the PNCR leader's address. It is better to focus on the positive features and look forward to unfolding events in the weeks ahead.

President Bharrat Jagdeo's "best wishes" note to the congress and the presence at the opening of Mayor Hamilton Green at what used to be the party he did so much to build, achieve and sustain power, were among welcome gestures.

At the end of the day, however, it is the mandate given by the delegates and how resolutions and pledges are translated by the leadership into positive actions, in Guyana's interest, that will ultimately determine the difference of significance between this 14th Biennial Congress and those that preceded it under two now deceased leaders of the party.