Corbin hopes or decisive shift towards national unity
Stabroek News
January 3, 2007

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Opposition Leader Robert Corbin says this year must mark a decisive shift towards national unity and warned the government against the notion that it alone can bring progress to what he described as "this troubled country of ours".

In his address to the nation, the PNCR leader criticised the government for self-centred politics, warning that exclusionary governance can only result in disaster. "I am once again calling for a genuine inclusiveness in the process of building this nation that embraces all the stakeholders in our society," he said. "The prevailing exclusionary approach to governing Guyana will bring us nothing, but disappointment and disaster."

Corbin identified stability, national cohesiveness and a collective sense of purpose as the ingredients necessary for social and economic progress. "€¦ [They] remain as elusive as ever," he declared. "Beneath the thin layer of window dressing that passes for normalcy lie tensions, uncertainties and a sense of anxiety as to where the winds of fortune will take us next. The crisis that is afflicting our country cannot be wished away by colourful propaganda and elaborate spin. It is real for all to see." According to Corbin, poverty, crime and corruption have become uncontrollable cancers while the people remain divided. There are also, he said, the relentless flight of skills from the country and a sense of frustration among young people who cannot satisfy their aspirations. "Every Guyanese is aware of that sense of apprehension about what lies ahead for our country," he pointed out, adding, "These concerns and anxieties cannot be glossed over by hollow-sounding pronouncements about progress."

Corbin was nevertheless optimistic that the New Year would see the country turn a corner. He said the transformation would require those who govern the country to awaken to the reality of its circumstances and acknowledge them. In this regard, he said the country cannot afford a government that makes noises about national unity, but appears to be concerned about the well-being of only one section of the society. As a result, he urged that the government strip itself of what he described as its "pretences" and its "inward-looking political posture" and listen to the voices of the people. He said that 2007 must mark a decisive shift towards genuine national unity, which he said is the goal of development. "The abandonment of the notion that it alone can bring progress to this troubled country of ours," he said.

Corbin said healing divisions must come first and he pledged to rededicate the party's energies to the healing process. At the same time, he reiterated its commitment to working with all those who share its ideal of a better Guyana.

Corbin also promised that in the days, weeks and months ahead the PNCR would exhibit greater evidence of a vigorous and constructive agenda in its approach to tackling its responsibility to the people. He highlighted growing frustration and lack of confidence in the judicial system and he said the party would labour assiduously to ensure that it works for all citizens. Added to that, he said efforts will also be made to ensure the equitable treatment of all citizens and communities in relation to the distribution of the state's resources. "You will see a political party at work in the National Assembly and, more importantly, among the people of this country, at all levels, particularly the Regional Democratic Councils, fighting to help achieve that critical shift in direction that this country so badly needs," he said. He added that in the year ahead the party intends to anchor itself more firmly to the root of the country, to work among the people and to collaborate with those stakeholders who share the hope of real progress and real development. "For the sake of our country, for the sake of our young people and for the sake of our very survival, it has to be done."