Congress 2000 -- An update on the 12th Biennial Congress of the PNC/Reform.

PNC-Ready to Rescue the Nation: Ladies and gentlemen of the media. As you are aware the People's National Congress has recently concluded its 12th Biennial Congress
here at Sophia, under the theme "PNC – Ready to Rescue the Nation”.

Introduced by a cultural program of varied elements, it was a most successful Congress viewed from any standpoint. That it was well attended you have already noted (at least those of you who took the opportunity to cover our events). We had over 1300 delegates and Observers, including substantial delegations from our hinterland regions, who made extraordinary sacrifices and efforts to be with us. The debates were open, keen and decisive. Members articulated their concerns and reaffirmed their commitment to the major goals of our Party.

Today, we wish to share with you some of the high points of the Congress. Of singular and critical importance was the address of the Party’s Leader, Mr. Hugh Desmond Hoyte, at the Opening Session to the 3000 odd attendees which included the distinguished members of the diplomatic corps resident in Guyana, and a wide cross-section of Guyanese, representative of business, professional, religious and civic organizations.

The Leader’s presentation marked the high point of the Congress. It struck a most receptive note and was enthusiastically received by Congress participants. In addition to the Congress Address by Mr. Hoyte, there were two other major presentations to wit:
the General Secretary’s Report and a Panel Discussion along with Regional Workshop sessions on the Party’s strategy to win the upcoming national elections.

Each of the above-mentioned presentations were fully discussed, analysed and elaborated by Congress which gave its approval and endorsed the new approaches outlined by the Party’s Leader to discharge the challenging task of rescuing this nation from imminent economic, collapse, and the chaos and anarchy which now threaten us.

The Leader’s Address provided the principal focus and policy formulations for a successful campaign and governance by the PNC under the banner “PNC/Reform”. As Mr. Hoyte himself explains, the term “reform” has a four-fold significance. I quote:

“First of all, it recalls the transformation which the Party itself has been undergoing for some years now, the single most important event being the revision of our Party constitution in 1994 to commit the Party unequivocally to the maintenance of a free and open society; a market-oriented economy; a private sector that is the dominant instrument of growth and development; and an economic climate that is favourable for private investment, both local and foreign, and for business activities generally.

Second, it highlights the extraordinary transformation of this country by the Economic Recovery Programme that created a platform, unfortunately destroyed by the PPP, for the rapid economic growth of our country.

Third, it acknowledges the existence, the importance and the value of those non-party citizens who are associated with us.

Fourth, it gives an unqualified pledge and assurance to the Guyanese people of the profound and far-reaching reforms that the PNC/Reform would undertake in the post-election period to restore national pride and confidence and convert our country into a modern, prosperous State”.

Recognizing the virulent nature and pervasiveness of the national crisis which already engulf us and threaten our very survival as a Nation, Mr. Hoyte adumbrated a massive programme for national reconstruction and development to be undertaken by PNC/Reform. Central to this is the Party’s commitment to the creation of an “inclusive democracy” for all Guyanese. Exemplified by the following extract:

“ the idea of providing opportunities for all of our citizens, regardless of ethnicity, political or religious persuasion or geographic affiliation to have opportunities to take part in the management and the decision-making process within the State and in the political, economic, social and cultural sectors of national life”.

The PNC/Reform will dedicate all its energies to abolish the old style of government which has “come to be cynically regarded as an instrument for rewarding Party faithfuls and dispensing patronage”. So winning the next election is not enough. Rescuing the nation is our goal!

Congress also agreed to work tirelessly and assiduously towards winning the elections, constitutionally due by January 17, 2001.

Congress fully agrees that the hand of cooperation extended by patriotic citizens who wish to contribute to our programme of national reconstruction and our electoral efforts to ensure victory at the polls be accepted.

Congress endorsed a complex of economic, political and social reforms which include major infrastructural programmes: the Guyana 21 Project; an investment package for jumpstarting the economy; and a raft of other reforms for the health, education and social sectors.

Additionally, Congress agreed on the following:

that the PNC/Reform government will enact comprehensive tax reforms to reduce the burden of over taxation that currently inhibits economic growth that PNC/Reform will enact comprehensive legislation to protect consumers’ rights and a Freedom of Information Act to encourage greater openness and transparency in government that PNC/Reform will implement measures to ensure the security of our borders and the territorial integrity of our State – these measures will include a comprehensive evaluation of the immediate needs of those entrusted with the security of the nation, including the recapitalisation of the armed forces.

Congress also agreed on the urgent necessity to eradicate the insidious and
pervasive web of nepotism and corruption which continues to erode public
confidence in the principal institutions and arms of the State, to ensure the
restoration of public morale and public confidence in government - a
prerequisite of nation building. Reform of the system of public tendering and
awarding public contracts shall be a primary focus.

An important part of our programme of reforms, Congress agreed will include
a re-examination of the Rights and conditions of Amerindian Communities,
including a process of consultation with the leaders of the communities to
ensure that our policies and programmes are consonant with the legitimate
needs and demands of those communities.

Congress considered several motions and questions submitted by delegates and agreed on the appropriate measures to treat with them.

Congress resoundingly articulated its determination that Mr. Hugh Desmond Hoyte should continue as Party Leader and lead the Party into the forthcoming General Elections due by January 17, 2001. Congress unanimously agreed to set aside the process for the election of a Successor Leader. Congress delegates were unanimous in their convictions that the No.1 priority of the Party should be to win the forthcoming election therefore the Party should devote all its energies to that purpose.

In accordance with the Constitution of the Party, Congress elected the following Party Officers:

Hugh Desmond Hoyte - Leader
Robert Corbin - Chairman
Vincent Alexander - Vice Chairman

And fifteen other members to the Central Executive as follows:
Ivor Allen Dr. Faith Harding
Amna Ally Andrew Hicks
Brentnol Archer Dr. Dalgleish Joseph
Deborah Backer James McAllister
Deryck Bernard Alan Munroe
Oscar Clarke Bishwaishwar Ramsaroop
Andy Goveia Raphael Trotman
Yvonne Harewood-Benn

Additionally, the following persons were co-opted to serve on this body:
Nazir Ally, Dharamdeo Sawh and Latchman Sammy.

Congress culminated its three days of deliberations and activities with the traditional
Solidarity March and a massive rally at the Square of the Revolution. Party Leader,
Mr. Desmond Hoyte reported on the significant and important outcomes of the Congress.

Oscar Clarke, General Secretary
People's National Congress
August 31st, 2000