The first General Council meeting of the PNCR for the New Year 2010 concluded on Saturday 27 March 2010, with the party members in high spirits, determined that Local Government Reform must be implemented before Local Government Elections and fully motivated to bring an end to the reign of human rights abuses, discrimination, corruption and poverty being unleashed upon the people of Guyana by the PPP Regime. The meeting resolved that this reign must be ended no later than 2011.

The General Council, which is the highest forum of the Party after Congress, was presided over by Party Chairman, Mr. Bishwaishwar (Cammie) Ramsaroop, at the Party’s Headquarters, Congress Place, Sophia, with several hundred participants from all ten Regions. Special invitees to the General Council included, prospective candidates and campaign organisers from the sixty-five (65) Neighborhood Democratic Councils and the six (6) Municipalities.

The Party Chairman, Mr. Cammie Ramsaroop, delivered a dynamic and motivational opening address in which he reminded General Council participants of the major issues affecting all Guyanese at this time. At the very top of the list, were the problems arising from bad governance and he identified the many disastrous consequences, which have resulted. Among these are widespread corruption in government; failure by the Administration to establish the constitutionally mandated Public Procurement Commission; widespread mismanagement; incompetence; illegal spending and the abuse of financial rules and regulations; and, blatant manipulation of the Judiciary.

Reviewing the state of the economy, the Party Chairman reminded of the growth rate of 7%, which the PPP inherited from the Hoyte's Administration upon its assumption to office, as contrasted to present Government’s admitted growth rate of between 0% and 2% over the past years. Notwithstanding Government’s figures of alleged growth, however, he pointed out that the World Bank statistics and indicators from other reputable institutions show that the Government’s statistics are highly exaggerated.

He touched on the poor performance of the sugar and bauxite sectors and the prospect of low production in the rice sector this year, given the present El Niño conditions.
Referring to the upcoming Local Government and National Elections, he urged members of the General Council to remain on high alert and, in a state of preparedness, to deal with whatever eventuality the future holds. “There is no substitute for hard work,” he emphasized as he reminded General Council of some of the achievements of the PNC in government: “A PNCR government, after 2011, is a sine qua non” he concluded.

Party Leader, Mr Robert Corbin, in his address to General Council, explained in great detail the Party’s long held position on Local Government elections and the need for full implementation of the constitutionally mandated reforms prior to the holding of the elections. He called on the Party members to unite in order to direct all their energies towards ridding the country of the corrupt and incompetent PPP regime, which is shamelessly discriminating against non-PPP supporters and communities.

He stressed that the Party is bigger than any individual party member and their personal ambitions. He called, therefore, on those who had personal grievances to put aside personal ambitions and work for the success of the Party, irrespective of who might be occupying Offices in the Party, for the time being.

The Party Leader explained the steps that he had taken, since the last Congress, to honour his commitment to work towards reconciliation. He informed the Council that, since he was not going to be the Presidential candidate for the Party, for the 2011 General and Regional Elections, he had confided in some of those with whom he had met, that a major challenge for the Party was to find a consensus Presidential candidate who could win the confidence of the majority of Guyanese for the 2011 Elections. This, he felt, would have stimulated all to work together and recognize that it was necessary to demonstrate, by hard work and example, that they were capable of undertaking the onerous responsibilities ahead.

He also explained that his decision was motivated by his appreciation of the need to have all available persons working together for the greater task of building a better country for all Guyanese.

Unity is paramount if the PPP is to be removed from Office and a new Government of Guyana is to replace them, whether such a Government is led by the PNCR alone, or, in collaboration with other Opposition Parties and like-minded organizations, preferably, under a Shared Governance arrangement. In this context, he urged General Council that others are unlikely to be attracted to the PNCR or to work with the Party unless the Party remains united and strong. General Council members were, accordingly, tasked by the Party Leader to be unrelenting, by hard work and good example, for success in 2011.

A panel discussion and Workshops on Local Government Reform followed the two lead presentations. These inspired healthy discussions on Local Government Reform, Local Government Elections and Effective Campaigning. Panellists included, Party Vice Chairman, Mr Basil Williams, MP; Mr Alan Munroe, Director of Education and Co-coordinator of the central Local Government Elections Committee; and, Ms Amna Ally, Assistant General Secretary.

The General Council concluded after approving the Party’s programme for the period ahead, including, a schedule of outreach meetings across the country to brief citizens on the issues of Local Government Reform and Local Government Elections.

The General Council meets every three months.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Monday 29 March 2010