Remarks by Hugh Desmond Hoyte, S.C. At the launching of the Reform Group Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel, Saturday January 27, 2001



Mr. Chairman, members of the Diplomatic Corp, distinguished guests, ladies
and gentlemen.

I regard this evening’s proceedings as a historic moment in the evolution
and maturity of the political consciousness of the Guyanese people.

A distinguished group of Guyanese citizens representing a wide variety of
professions, business interests, cultural backgrounds and religious persuasions
have responded to their conviction that Guyana is in need of radical change
in the approach to our development strategy and our system of governance.

They have come to the conclusion that the best, indeed the only prospect
for the profound changes necessary lies with the People's National Congress.
They have thrown in their lot with us and we welcome them with open arms.

At the 12th Biennial Congress of the People's National Congress held in
August last, I announced that the name of the Party would be changed to
People's National Congress Reform. This was in recognition of an evolutionary
process that had been taking place within the Party over a number of years
and which had reached a crucial stage of development. For years the Party
had reached out to talented, patriotic citizens who were not card-bearing
members, but who shared the Party’s philosophy and objectives. These
were persons of proven ability and integrity.

Without being Party members, they served as Ministers, Ambassadors
and in other important Governmental and Public Offices – usually with great
distinction.

We in the Party felt that the time has come when this practice should be
formalized: hence the Reform component. These non-Party colleagues of
“Reform” are not interested in office or personal reward. Their main concern
is to work for the entrenchment of good governance and the establishment
of sound policies that would lead to the creation of a viable, modern, prosperous
state, in which all Guyanese can enjoy decent, comfortable and secure lives.

Some persons who have commented on the “Reform” element have
misunderstood the significance of this development. They have concentrated
on personalities and have therefore failed to appreciate the widespread nature
of the impetus for reform in Guyana.

The people who have chosen to identify themselves publicly as members of
this grouping are representative of the diversity of our country and the
widespread anxiety to support our efforts to rescue Guyana from the brink
of the abyss to which we are headed.

They are representative of the pervasive feeling in the Guyanese society that
the corruption, incompetence, disarray and maladroit methods can be tolerated
no longer as being acceptable. They have therefore decided to do something
positive to assist in bringing about the change and reform that we desire
so fervently.

“Reform” represents those men and women in Guyana who are impatient
with the lack of investment in our economy; with the lack of probity and
fairness in the award of public contracts; with the low level of international
respect to which Guyana has fallen; with the lack of opportunity and care for
our young people; with the declining prospects for employment; with the
absence of any serious effort to tackle the glaring defects in our education
system; and with the abuse of political office and public funds.

They are ready for change and are willing to work with us to bring about
that change. We are confident that, together, we can turn Guyana around.
It will require hard work, great skill and much patience, but it will be achieved.

The “Reform” platform is not a superficial link or a political gimmick. It
represents a profound organic relationship between two groups based on
mutual respect, a common purpose and a public and transparent compact.

Reform brings to the fold many persons who have never before participated
in public life in this way and many who may indeed have even been critical
of us in times past. Such is the drive for change and reform that they are
able to put the nation and the future of its people as their first and major
focus.

Guyana has to be modernised to cope with the challenges of a rapidly
evolving global marketplace. There needs to be a radical and drastic
reorganisation of national institutions. There must be a radical reform of the
education and training offered to our young people if Guyana is not to
remain marginalised from the main currents of the technological age. We
must once again take our rightful place as political and intellectual
leaders in Caricom, in the wider region, and in the world.

If we embrace and implement the pillars of “Reform”, we can once
again mobilise the massive local and foreign direct investment necessary
to generate the take-off which we had envisaged in our Economic Recovery
Programme.

Important tasks include tackling, in a systematic and orgainsed way, the
many aspects of poverty and deprivation that afflict many of our people.
They also include consolidating respect for the rights and privileges of our
Amerindian brothers and sisters. We will also need to mobilise full
participation of our non- governmental orgainsations and civil society, in
an inclusive way, in the formation of policy and the refashioning and
improvement of our society. The restoration of professionalism and dignity
to our Judiciary, our Police Force, our Defence Force, our Public Service
will also be a necessary and a major priority of PNC Reform. These and
other tasks constitute a formidable agenda, but they are not beyond us.

Guyanese both at home and in the diaspora are an inventive and talented
people. Let us always be conscious of the fact that we have the resources
and the will to overcome our difficulties. I believe that the relationship between
PNC and “Reform” will generate its own synergy of goodwill, confidence,
and creativity and ensure that we overcome the many challenges and
hurdles before us. Let us fix our gaze on the prize – a vibrant and growing
economy powered by a highly trained, productive and cohesive people.

We welcome our new partners in the task before us, ensuring the election
of the PNC Reform to the reins of government for the sake of future
generations of Guyanese.