The PNCR concluded its final General Council Meeting for the year 2008 after a full day of intensive discussions on the Party’s work programme for the year 2009 and the passing of a resolution of solidarity and support for the Leader of the PNCR, Mr. Robert Corbin.

Despite the inclement weather and heavy rainfall, representatives from all the ten Regions converged at the Party’s Headquarters, Congress Place, to review the activities of the Party over the last three months and give advice and directions on the task ahead.

The Party’s General Secretary, Mr. Oscar Clarke presented an extensive report on the work of the Party which included the status of Party membership and the work of the various departments of the Party.

The highlight of the General Council was the address by the Leader of the Party, Mr. Robert Corbin, MP, who highlighted the major challenges for the year ahead that included, adequate preparation for Local Government elections; empowerment of Party supporters in the various communities; an extensive educational programme particularly among youth, to adequately prepare them for leadership of the Party in keeping with the directions of the last Biennial Congress.

In responding to the Headlines of the Daily Newspapers, one which read, “Rift in the PNCR widens” Corbin suggested that the rift only existed in the minds of those who crafted the statement and called upon the various representatives of the Region to identify themselves to the General Council. Delegates from the various Regions stood up to loud cheers confirming that the Party was well represented at the General Council. Corbin explained to the General Council that he only read of the withdrawal of Mr. Vincent Alexander and his alleged team in the Newspapers. He expressed surprise that Alexander, who boldly announced his resignation from the Task Force, did not at the same time announce his resignation from the Guyana Elections Commission where he earns a salary. According to the Leader, he was at least morally bound to do both.

Corbin explained that the Party had expelled no one from its ranks and had been very lenient and considerate in dealing with the Disciplinary matters assigned to it by the Party Congress. He reminded comrades that all the members who faced the Disciplinary Committee, except James McAllister, were only reprimanded and given an opportunity to correct their obvious misjudgment. He pointed out that the Disciplinary Committee had instructed the Party’s Central Executive Committee to prepare general guidelines for the future conduct of Party leaders and members.

In the case of Alexander, Corbin pointed out that, despite Alexander’s public statement that he did not recognize the Leadership at Congress Place, the Disciplinary Committee was lenient and recommended the matter for final determination by the Central Executive Committee. The Disciplinary Committee had expressed the view that if Alexander did not recognize the Leadership of the Party then he could not represent the Party on the Task Force or on the Elections Commission.

The Party Leader further explained that the Central Executive Committee had delegated him to deal with the issue concerning Alexander and that he too approached the matter with an open mind. He said that he had summoned Alexander to several meetings since then to discuss his assignments on the Task Force and Alexander had positively responded including appearing with him at a Press Conference on Local Government. This response by Alexander gave him the assurance that Alexander was prepared to pursue the aims and objectives of the Party line and as a result he did not remove him from the Task Force or suggest that he resign from the Elections Commission. In this context, and in the absence of any communication from Alexander other than in the reported Media, he found it surprising that Alexander did not announce at the same time that he was withdrawing from the Elections Commission.

The General Council was reminded that the report of the Disciplinary Committee and its recommendations on McAllister was presented and approved at its last meeting in September. Due process had been followed and McAllister was given the opportunity to be heard. The Disciplinary Committee rescheduled its hearing on three occasions to facilitate McAllister who was out of Guyana for several months without informing the leadership of the Party or the Representative of the List. He was also supplied with the charges that were made against him. At the final hearing that was held when he was in the country he sent an insulting letter to that Body instead of appearing before the Committee.

The Disciplinary Committee’s findings were eventually posted to Mr. McAllister by registered mail at his official address and he was given an opportunity, as provided for by the Constitution, to appeal. His response was by an article in the media. The Disciplinary Committee made it clear to McAllister that he should resign by the 30th September, 2008 and should he fail to do so the Central Executive Committee should recall him in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. McAllister failed to utilize the opportunities available to him. The Party Leader, revealed that McAllister had been absent from Parliament for the entire half of the year 2007 without any communication to the Representative of the List or the General Secretary of the PNCR. He eventually turned up in Parliament on the last day of the consideration of the estimates of the budget for 2008. He then disappeared from Parliament again without any explanation to the Representative of the List or to the Party. The Party Leader revealed that he had information that, during that period, McAllister continued to draw his Parliamentary salary while working overseas. During that period, the Party was without representation in the Parliament. McAllister’s recall was therefore only a formality since he was absent from Parliament for nearly a year.

General Council was urged not to be distracted by these developments but should focus attention on re-energizing the Party to make it fit for purpose.

The Plenary session witnessed several contributions from comrades from across the various regions, discussing the many issues that confronted Party members and offering suggestions and advice on those matters. Among the matters of concern to Party members were the dust nuisance at Linden, the failure of LEAP to accomplish its objective, the completion of the house-to-house registration for those persons not registered by the Guyana Elections Commission and much more.

At the end of the Plenary session the General Council passed a resolution expressing full support and solidarity for the Party’s Leader, Mr. Robert Corbin, MP, and also urging him to be resolute in ensuring discipline was maintained within its ranks.

General Council ended after a final charge to the Council by the Leader and the collective singing of Christmas carols and the exchange of greetings among participants.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana.
Saturday, 6 December, 2008

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WHEREAS the People’s National Congress Reform is at a crucial juncture of its stated intention to re-take the reins of power at the next General and Regional elections

AND WHEREAS it is necessary for the PNCR to remain focused in this pursuit to bring betterment to the country.

AND WHEREAS attempts at fostering disunity and division amongst and in the PNCR ranks appear to be the design of misguided members

BE IT RESOLVED that this General Council reiterates its support for the Leader of the PNCR, Robert H O Corbin in his conduct of the affairs of the Party;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this General Council calls on the Leader to insist on a strict adherence to the rules of the Party by members of the PNCR and to maintain the requisite discipline to take this Party to the helm of success .

General Council
Saturday 6th December 2008