ADDRESS TO THE PNCR NORTH AMERICAN REGIONAL CONFERENCE 
    BY MR. ROBERT H. O. CORBIN, M.P.
    LEADER OF THE PEOPLE'S NATIONAL CONGRESS REFORM
    CATHERINE MCAULEY HIGH SCHOOL
    BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, USA
    JULY 8TH, 2005

   

THEME: “Revisiting the vision of one people and a nation with the same destiny” 
 
SALUTATIONS 
 
CHAIRPERSON, STEERING COMMITTEE OF NAR, EXCELLENCIES, SPECIAL INVITEES, FRIENDS, E.T.C.
 
 
 
GREETINGS AND CONGRATULATIONS 
 
I wish to extend sincere greetings to all of you on behalf of the Central Executive Committee and, indeed, all the members of the Peoples National Congress Reform, the Party founded by the late, great, Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham, continued by the late Hugh Desmond Hoyte and now organized and run by the younger generation who are committed to fulfilling the vision of a prosperous Guyana under the banner of One people, One Nation One Destiny.  
 
We first need to thank the Almighty God that, despite the difficulties with which the world is faced, the tragic natural and human disasters currently being experienced, he has spared our lives and enabled us to overcome all difficulties to be here. 
 
Let me immediately congratulate the organizers of this Conference who have done a remarkable job in making a reality of this project. When the overseas delegates met at Congress Place, our party Headquarters, shortly after the conclusion of the 14th Biennial Congress in August last, I was pessimistic whether in the midst of the busy schedules of our supporters overseas, the Committee that was established would have been able to organize all the groups to meet at a single venue in North America. In the noble tradition of our Party, however, they have made a reality of the Slogan of our former Guyana National Service: 
 
 
“What the mind of man can conceive and believe he could achieve.” 
 
They deserve our congratulations!
 
 
I wish to bid a special welcome and sincerely thank our special invitees, who have considered it worthwhile to share this opening session with us. I hope that you will leave here convinced that you can play an even more direct role in the future of Guyana. Be assured I have brought with me sufficient membership application forms for all of you.
 
 
We need to also congratulate and thank all the representatives of our overseas Party groups who have traveled from all over North America at great expense to be here. You have demonstrated your commitment to our Party and your continued interest in the future development of our green and great land of Guyana, the land of your birth. I salute your presence and assure you of our deep gratitude for your moral and material support to our Party over the years. More particularly, I wish to express sincere thanks for all your assistance to Guyana during our recent flood disaster. You have inspired us to continue the struggle for peace, development and justice. Your participation in this Conference is important to us and I hope that you not only share your knowledge and ideas over the next two days, but also commit yourselves to work with us in building the platform for peace, national cohesion and reconstruction of our country. 
 
 
SIGNIFICANCE OF NORTH AMERICAN CONFERENCE
 
 
This Conference is of special importance to our Party and country. This is so not only because thousands of patriotic Guyanese find themselves overseas for various good and valid reasons, but because the PNCR recognizes that we need all hands on the deck of the MV Guyana, if we are to sail from the stormy seas of economic stagnation, insecurity, rising crime and hopelessness to the port of Economic prosperity, where all Guyanese will feel proud of being Guyanese. Proud, not out of nostalgia, but because the new Guyana offers all, irrespective of race, religion culture or class, an opportunity to live and develop their fullest potential in the land of their birth.  
 
This conference is also important because we believe that all Guyanese, irrespective of where they live, have an equal stake in the country of their birth and must be given an opportunity to contribute to the plans for its development. This conference is important because in a few months time the people of Guyana will have to make some important choices about the future. We will have to determine whether we are satisfied with the direction in which Guyana is going at the present time or whether we want to change it. 
 
Thirteen years ago in 1992 Guyanese had such a choice to make. Many at that time shouted that they needed a change and under the slogans, “time for a change” and “return to democracy”, the present PPP administration entered the Halls of Government in Guyana. Today, thirteen years later, we have to evaluate if that change was for the better or worse and, depending upon the answer, decide on the appropriate action that should be taken. I would, however, leave that determination to you after you have heard my address today, which will be brief and focused on our vision for the future, the address tomorrow by the Chairman of the Party, Mr. Winston Murray, C.C.H., M.P. and the extensive discussions anticipated in the workshops tomorrow.  
 
I therefore look forward to a successful conference and hope that we use the time here constructively.
 
 
 
CONSTITUTIONALITY 
 
Let me at this early stage clarify the constitutionality of this conference, having regard to queries, which some groups have made. Rule 11 of the Party Constitution deals with, “The Party Organisation: Regions and Sub-Divisions”. Rule 11. (3) (a) & (b) reads as follows: 
 
 
“(a) The Central Executive Committee may authorize the establishment of Party regions outside of Guyana.
 
(b) Where a Party Region is located outside of Guyana, it shall have power to draft rules for regulating its organization and procedures subject to their ratification by the Central Executive Committee.”
 
 
I wish to report that at its statutory Meeting held on Wednesday July 6th the CEC approved the Establishment of a North American Region. It is not the first overseas region as we have had a UK Region for over three decades. I welcome North America to the fold.
 
 
CONFERENCE THEME IS RELEVANT
 
It is noteworthy that you have chosen as your Conference theme, “Revisiting the vision of One People and a nation with the same destiny”. The theme is most relevant coming as it does after our last Biennial Congress, which was held under the theme, “Building a Platform for Peace National Cohesion and Reconstruction”. At that congress we not only analysed the nature of the impediments to progress, but also the various approaches to be used in guaranteeing development and achieving peace, national cohesion and reconstruction in Guyana.
 
We recognized that a major obstacle to reconstructing our nation’s economy is the lack of cohesion in our society; the lack of cohesion of spirit, of will, of purpose, and of effort. The net effect over the decades has been that our human resources are underutilized and working at cross-purposes. No country today can hope to prosper under these circumstances. It is only by tapping to the fullest, the physical, intellectual and creative skills of all our citizens in a shared vision that we can hope to realize our vast potential. There is simply no other route to development. Consequently, it is important for the conference to consider why national cohesion has eluded us. I suggest that one reason is that our political system and culture have conditioned too many to exploit the differences and distinctions among us for partisan political gain. Even as I speak there are new developments in Guyana, all motivated by the same old reasons and which will certainly have the same result.
 
We in the PNCR are, however, convinced that Guyana has nowhere to go and has no realistic chance of revitalization without peace and reconciliation. A peace that is based on justice and the recognition that the rights and aspirations of all Guyanese, whatever their ethnic or racial origins and whatever their social backgrounds and religious beliefs.  These rights and aspirations must be respected, protected and enforced since they are the foundations of a stable society. The need to revisiting the vision of One People and a nation with the same destiny could not be more relevant.
 
 
THE HISTORICAL EXPERIENCE OF THE PNCR QUALIFIES IT FOR THE MISSION TO SAVE GUYANA 
 
Many in Guyana today are seeking to rewrite history and it is sometimes necessary to remind ourselves where we came from, if only to reinforce confidence in our capacity to overcome the tremendous obstacles that we now face. A Nation that knows not its history is bound to make the same mistakes again. There are some in Guyana and elsewhere who write and speak as if Guyana only came into existence twenty-eight years ago and for our young people who have no point of reference the true picture of Guyana over the years is distorted. Many forget that Guyana was once a slave colony with years of British colonial exploitation and all its adverse effects; that in the long struggle for Independence there were other Governments before 1964 in Guyana; that at the time of Independence there was barely a mile of paved roads in the whole of Guyana; that Guyana was bankrupt in 1964 after seven years of corruption; and, that there was racial strife, if not warfare, caused among other reasons by the desire of some to transform Guyana into a Soviet styled Communist State. So while I emphasise that it is necessary to close the pages of the past and concentrate on the glorious future we must not forget.
 
We must always remember that this is a party with a rich and proud history; that led Guyana out of colonialism to political independence; that reshaped our Economy and placed it on the road to economic progress; but, more particularly, led the way in the psychological transformation of Guyanese, giving them confidence to think independently; that helped Guyanese to have confidence in themselves and to believe that they had the capacity to undertake the Herculean task of making Guyana a modern, developed and independent state.  
 
This is the same Party, which, as part of the original PPP, entered Government in 1953 with a landslide victory; that, after the suspension of the Guyana Constitution by the British, broke ranks with the then PPP and in 1955 became the Burnhamite PPP with JP Latchmansingh as its first Chairman and Eugene Corriea as its treasurer; that had stalwarts throughout its history committed to the cause of Guyana. Stalwarts such as Jane Phillips Gay, Winifred Gaskin, John Carter, Ptolemy Alexander Reid, all deceased and some such as Margaret Ackman, Hulda (Precious) Walcott, and Cammie Ramsaroop who are still with us today.  
 
And for the record, this is the same Party, when in Government, though many claim it did nothing in twenty eight years, that was responsible for most of the major agricultural infrastructure in Guyana today such as the MMA, Black Bush Polder extension and the Tapacuma Irrigation schemes; that is responsible for building the entire coastal road network in Guyana from Essequibo to Corentyne; that is responsible for several of the Educational Institutions such as the six multilateral schools spread across Guyana, the Technical Institutes in both Georgetown and New Amsterdam; that in responsible for several other landmarks in Guyana such as the Cultural Centre, the Canje Bridge, the Demerara Harbour Bridge; that is responsible for establishing Guyana’s social security system, the National Insurance Scheme; that is responsible for fostering and promoting cultural development through activities such as Guyfesta; that is responsible for recognizing religions in Guyana and making their holy days as national holidays; that developed and promoted the Guyana National Service to train and prepare our youth to face the challenges of a newly emerging nation; that is responsible for free Education from Nursery to University that made it possible for many children of the poor to develop their potential.  
 
Today, when I read or hear some of those beneficiaries writing and speaking as though their development and personal achievements were by divine miracle; when I hear some of them distort the contribution of one of Guyana’s great, if not the greatest, visionaries, Forbes Burnham, his successor Desmond Hoyte and the PNC, I lament and beg that fate will not judge them too unkindly.  
 
I can continue listing many other achievements over the 28 years, but my real purpose is not to respond to those blind critics. I wish to emphasise that with the mammoth task before us to rebuild and reshape Guyana, the PNCR has the appropriate credentials, CV, experience and capacity to lead the mission for a new, modern and developed Guyana. AND we are not alone. We continue to reach out boldly to others with capacity as we have done throughout the years of our existence. If there is anything I should really boast about, it is that the PNCR is the only Party that has demonstrated its willingness and readiness to work with all Guyanese, irrespective of their past political affiliation and views, once they share our vision for a better Guyana. It would take too long to give examples.  
 
GUYANA TODAY: A TROUBLED LAND
 
Guyana today remains a land of great potential, but one that somehow is never able to realize it. I propose, however, to share the PNCR’s vision of the future rather than spend much time on its problems. This is not because the problems are unimportant, quite the contrary, but it is necessary to understand their root causes if solutions are to be found. I have already spoken about them on numerous visits to this Region and, in any event, all you have to do is to read our daily newspapers on-line. 
 
Our economy is still in crisis, with relative little investment and minimal economic growth. This remains the case despite the huge debt write offs that Guyana has recently benefited from. Mismanagement, lack of accountability and corruption have reached unbelievable levels, with crime, particularly the drug trade, reaching alarming proportions. The unprecedented levels of unemployment, HIV / AIDS, the rising cost of living occasioned by outrageous electricity bills, high water rates, etc. have all had their impact on the rising levels of poverty and the decline in standards of living. It is sufficient to state that Guyana is in urgent need of a comprehensive recovery programme to survive and make it a modern twenty first century state. I will leave the analysis of these conditions and details of the PNCR programme to the Party Chairman who, in his address tomorrow, will deal with some of these matters. The PNCR believes that the way forward must rest in setting a clear, shared vision for the future with an appropriate system of Governance.
 
 
 
THE WAY FORWARD:
 
On March 31, 2004, in an Address to the Nation, I stated, 
 
“I address you and share some of my views and those of my Party on the way forward.  
 
I sincerely believe that, irrespective of our race, religion or social class, we all yearn for a society, in which we can live together in peace and harmony, eschewing racial prejudices and conflicts; where we have a strong and sustainable economy that encourages wealth-creating processes, develops the skills of our youth and works to the benefit of all, justly distributing the rewards of success; where the system of governance guarantees equal opportunity for all our citizens to improve the quality of their lives; where jobs, job opportunities and services can be available to all without discrimination or corruption; where all forms of corruption, entrenched privilege and inequity are eliminated; where crime would be minimal; and, where our environment facilitates peaceful and harmonious living.  
 
In simple language, we want peace and a reasonable quality of life; we want to be treated fairly and justly; we want our children to have equal access to all opportunities for advancement; we all want to participate in controlling our own destiny; we want to know that we can live without fear of criminals invading our homes and robbing us of hard earned property; we want to be free of all forms of violence whether racially or criminally inspired; and, most of all, particularly our youth, we want to know that they can have a future in Guyana and not elsewhere.   
 
The question we all face is, how do we work together to achieve this?  
 
Regrettably, after nearly twelve years, of simmering conflict, confrontation, division, corruption and mismanagement, our dear, great and green land of Guyana has become a bloody, fearful, poverty-stricken and lawless land. 
 
This situation has been exacerbated by our failure as a people, after nearly fifty years, to find political consensus or a system of governance that is more accountable and responsive to the popular will. We are therefore still confronted by several questions:  
 
How can we work together to reduce the growing racial divisions in our country?  What can we do together about crime, violence and the confirmed link between corruption, death squads, politics, government, drugs, heavy weapons and money laundering?  How can we together attend to the fears of our Indian brothers and sisters that they are targets of violence?  How can we together attend to the fears of our African brothers and sisters that they are the targets of systematic discrimination? How could we attend to the fears of all Guyanese that they are the victims of poverty, bad governance and crime? How can we together start a process where every citizen thinks of himself/herself as a Guyanese, first and as a member of a particular race second, recognizing that there is no conflict between the two identities?  How can we together examine the effects of the above developments on our society and our social relations and the impact on our economy?  How can we all agree on constructing
 and sharing a vision of the future that will create a just, secure and productive society?    
 
When the majority of our young people plan to leave Guyana we do have a crisis. Whither Guyana’s future?  We must therefore find ways of engaging our citizens about these urgent questions rather than continuing meaningless exercises geared to buy time for partisan political advantages or vicious character assassination with constant and divisive racial overtones.”
 
I submit that we can all contribute to the answers to these questions.
 
 
PNCR’S APPROACH TO THE FUTURE 
 
The PNCR believes that an important area of consideration is our system of Governance.
 
A clear vision of the future, shared by the entire Leadership of our Party includes;
 
  • A participatory Government, freely and fairly elected, working in a Shared Governance model with all other freely and fairly elected parties to the National Assembly of our country, and representing the interests of all classes, groups and persons who have a stake in the society and who share widely in decision-making.
  • A Guyana that enjoys fraternal relations with all its neighbors and shares in the goal of fostering closer Caribbean unity.
  • A society where there is Inclusive Governance, through Shared Governance, that is enshrined in a Constitution that guarantees transparency, social justice, law and order, workers’ rights and the promotion of greater women’s rights. 
Shared Governance is not an invention of the PNCR, according to some propagandists, “to get into Government through the back door”. Indeed it took some time and lengthy and intense discussion and debate within the Party for us to accept that position and it was not until our Congress in August 2002 that we formally approved the proposals for Shared Governance. This is perhaps as it ought to be because shared governance cannot be imposed, it has to be accepted.  
 
During the past years the PNCR engaged in wide consultations with civil society. We met business, professional, religious and youth organizations to share the vision of the PNCR. It would be accurate to say that these proposals have gained widespread acceptance from those organizations and groups that were consulted.
 
Time does not permit a detailed examination of this proposal but it is not new and it has been posted for some time on our website, www.guyanapnc.org. It is sufficient to say that shared governance does not abolish elections and the need for the PNCR to be always prepared to win an election must never be forgotten.
 
Our desire to change the system of Governance demands that we do not adopt a dogmatic position that we have all the answers and the most comprehensive development programme for Guyana. We must of necessity be prepared to meet with all stakeholders around the table and fashion a mutually agreeable national programme that addresses the concerns of all. It is true that we have already made public our program for development and modernization of Guyana in our, Agenda For Development, and the Guyana 21 Plan Published since 2001. These programmes must of necessity be updated, as the world environment is not static. But there will be others with equally good ideas and we must be prepared to listen and discuss how we can put together programmes of transformation? What is required to transform Guyana into a 21st century modern state? And, I am sure you too at this Conference will make further suggestions. 
 
Consequently, in accordance with our objectives and decisions at our last Congress to work with all in Guyana towards building alliances, we have been working together with all Opposition Parties in Guyana to ensure that Guyana progresses.
 
 
ELECTIONS 
 
One area of co-operation has been on the arrangements for the forthcoming elections and I note that you have included in your Agenda an item, “Winning the next Elections”.  Let me at the outset say, for the removal of all doubt, that the PNCR has the capacity. It can and must win the next elections if Guyana is to have a secure future.   
 
There has been an ongoing psychological campaign to impact upon the mind of Guyanese, both at home and abroad, that, because of the ethnic voting patterns of the past, the PNCR cannot win an election. This argument is not supported by the historical reality or by present circumstances. Several analyses on this matter have been seriously flawed. 
 
Any objective evaluation of previous Elections Statistics will reveal that, having regard to the ethnic voting patterns and the composition of the Guyana electorate, it would not have been possible for the PNCR to achieve the results it was awarded over the years of its existence without a significant vote from the non Afro-Guyanese Community. The suggestion that the PNCR can never win an election is seriously flawed and part of a campaign to demoralize PNCR members and its traditional and non-traditional supporters, and to prevent new converts from having faith in the PNCR as a future Government. We must not succumb to this psychological warfare. I am convinced that the PNCR has the capacity to win any elections. If I were not convinced about this I would not have accepted the position as Leader of this Party. Perhaps in our workshops tomorrow you can make further suggestions on how best to achieve our objective.  
 
Historically the PNC from 1957, and later the PNCR, has never achieved less than 40% of the votes at any election. In this period the population of Guyanese of African origin has never been more than 38%. The point I am making is that it would not have been possible for the party to achieve those results if it were only dependent on Guyanese of African origin for its votes. This would also be assuming that all Guyanese of African origin voted exclusively for the PNCR. This could not be true. That would be to assume that Sam Hinds and Roger Luncheon vote for the PNCR. Second, this category of persons comprises the lowest percentage of persons registered and they are not the highest category of eligible voters who go to the polls.  
 
The realities of the political situation in Guyana are another consideration. The PPP has failed to deliver on their many election promises. First the lean clean and mean Government has never materialized. Instead, corruption nepotism, mismanagement, vindictiveness and discrimination have characterized their administration. Second, the aim of promoting democracy has been honoured more in the breach, with changes coming reluctantly and only after prolonged agitation and pressure from the PNC and other stakeholders in Guyana and in response to strict conditionalities imposed by the International Financial Institutions, IFI’s, and donor Governments. Consequently, many of their supporters are now dissatisfied, disappointed and disillusioned by their lack of performance.
 
It does not follow that those disillusioned supporters will automatically join the ranks of the PNCR. I would be the first to admit, that because of the ethnic voting patterns in Guyana, there will be some people who in spite of all the incompetence of the PPP will never vote for the PNCR on ethnic grounds alone. However that does not mean that voting patterns in Guyana will never change. The political climate is already changing, as is evidenced by the new political groups that are now emerging.
 
Winning elections is not inconsistent with our goal of Shared Governance. Our support of shared Governance is directly related to our policy of putting Guyana first. We are concerned about making Guyana a modern 21st century state. Elections are only the means to achieve those ends. To achieve this we need all Guyanese, irrespective of race, colour, social origin, religion or other peculiarities on board. That is why we support Shared Governance. Not for the PNCR to win but for all Guyana to win in collaboration with the PNCR. Consequently, it is not enough for the PNCR to win an election alone.
 
It is regrettable that, despite our efforts over the last two years, the other major party in Guyana, the PPP, has shown total disinterest in this approach to governance. They are making a serious miscalculation since they apparently believe that Guyana’s politics will always be based on ethnic voting patterns. Recent developments in Guyana should perhaps cause a rethink. The result therefore is that our Party may have to proceed into the next elections without having achieved general acceptance of the Shared Governance proposal by the PPP. This makes winning elections in 2006 even more important. We will have to continue to work with all other stakeholders for a better Guyana and to give our people renewed hope for the future. 
 
 
I note that in addition to winning the Elections you will be discussing several other issues: 
  • Creating space for the Diaspora in the Party;
  • Crafting an Economic Policy for take off;
  • Cultural changes are necessary for Economic Development and Political Unity. 
I wish to emphasise that we consider your deliberations extremely important to this Party and this brings me to the point where we need to clarify the role of the North American Region within the Party.
 
ROLE OF THE NORTH AMERICAN REGION, (NAR):
 
 
There are at least four areas in which the NAR could contribute to the Party: 
  • Contributing ideas for the development of Party and Government programmes;
  • Providing needed skills;
  • Establishing and maintaining a bank of skills that could be made available for successful implementation of Party and Government programmes; and,
  • Financial support.
It is a constitutional provision, not a concession, that members of the North American Region are entitled to have an equal say in the affairs and the decision making of our Party on the same level as any other member of the Party living within the borders of Guyana. That has been the situation with other overseas groups and regions that have been in existence for decades. Overseas delegates who participated in our recent Biennial Congress will confirm that they had that opportunity. Consequently, I want to assure the Chairman that he does not need to depend upon any goodwill from the Party Leader. He is entitled in his own right like any other member of the Party to have a seat not only on the Central Executive of the Party, but to be elected to the position of Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform. It follows that a future Leader could come from the diaspora. I emphasise this so that you can appreciate that there is no limit to the level of participation of members of the North America Region in our Party. In pursuit of your tasks, therefore, you can make significant contributions to the development of the People’s National Congress Reform, including your ideas for the future development of our country. This is not difficult given, the advance of modern technology. Distance is not a barrier to communication and exchange new ideas.
 
The North America Region can also ensure that they mobilize skills that are necessary to transform and develop our country and we believe that you can also help us in maintaining a skills bank of human resources that could be made available to the party now and in the future. This will become particularly necessary after the elections when we are in Government and faced with the task of modernizing Guyana.  
 
Last, but by no means least, we depend on you for financial support if we are to accomplish the mission in Guyana. You are functioning in an environment in which that fact should be very obvious. I observed the last US Presidential election campaign; all we would require is about ten percent of what was spent then. So you now understand what we are talking about for the year ahead.  
 
In this regard I must say that many groups in North America have already recognized the importance of this matter and I want to publicly thank you, all of you, for your contributions over the past years, without which, our Party would not have been able to carry out its programmes in Guyana. Thank you very much. While the North America Region organizes for the future of our country it is important that you continuously bear in mind the objectives of the People’s National Congress Reform. 
 
 
THE OBJECTIVES OF THE PNCR
 
Many people from time to time request information on the philosophy or objectives of the PNCR. From time to time we read many contributions and commentaries about Guyana on the Internet and useful suggestions are regularly made. However, some of those proposals are not relevant because they do not take account of the reality in Guyana. This is due partly to the distance of the writers from the current circumstances in Guyana and the fact that some contributors are not aware of the objectives of the PNCR and the full nature of the issues we face in Guyana. Never the less, we welcome them because those contributions help us to understand that there are people who are thinking seriously and are concerned about the PNCR and Guyana. However, I want to remind our party members and supporters that the objectives of the People’s National Congress Reform are no secret. They can be found in our Party’s constitution and they are as relevant now as when our Party constitution was last revised and amended. I therefore wish to direct your attention to certain provisions as stated in our constitution.
 
 
First, it states that the PNC is a democratic organization and believes that all persons are entitled to live a full, productive and happy life. Membership of our Party is open to all Guyanese regardless of their ethnic origin, cultural background, geographic location and opposes all forms of racism, discrimination, intolerance and oppression. The Party is committed to the development of a free and open society with social justice and equity for all our citizens; to the pursuit of policies which will enable the best use of the material of human resources of the Country, for the benefit of all our citizens; the principles of freedom and democracy, including freedom of enterprise, conscience, association, expression and choice of representatives; and, the pursuit of policies and programmes that promote the interests of the disadvantaged in society.  
 
 
Among the objectives clearly identified in our constitution are, 
 
  • to create an environment which is favourable to the party winning and maintaining governmental office by electoral means; to create the framework for every Guyanese to work for spiritual upliftment and to share in the economic well being of the country and to ensure that there is equality of opportunity in the political, economic and social life of the country;

  • to promote the economic and social development of Guyana in a sustainable way, through the rational use of its resources and the conservation of the environment; to motivate the people of Guyana to improve by their own efforts their individual and community well-being; 

  • to create the spiritual and material environment and opportunities for nurturing the nation’s children;

  • to work for the creation of opportunities for the youth to be meaningfully involved in the decision making processes throughout the country; to enable women to contribute to the full extent of their individual capability at all levels of Party Organisation and national life;

  • to uphold the rights of indigenous people and ensure that their institutions, cultures and traditions are protected and their development promoted;

  • to promote the development and full use of the intellectual capacity and the technological and entrepreneurial talents of all the people of Guyana;

  • to maintain its commitment to the democratic ideal by ensuring the expression of the popular will and the good governance of Guyana; and finally,

  • to co-operate with local and overseas voluntary and Non-Governmental Organisations, in pursuance of the objectives of the Party and of the Nation.  

These commitments and objectives of our party are not of recent vintage. They have guided us successfully over the years both in and out of Government. I have either reminded or informed you of them today to illustrate that our party’s constitution clearly outlines what the People’s National Congress Reform stands for and gives a perfect guide to what we will offer to the people of Guyana, when in Government. There should be no doubt or misunderstanding on this matter.
 
 
CONCLUSION 
 
AS we work to mobilize and strengthen our Party in North America it must be emphasized that the mission we have embarked upon is not one for self-aggrandizement or personal fame. It is a mission to save Guyana and to preserve it for future generations. It is a mission that will enable our country’s vast resources to be exploited to the benefit of all the People of our country. It is a mission to restore confidence in our youth that their destiny really lies in the land of their birth. It is a mission to take Guyana as a modern developed country into the future. You, my dear friends who live in North America, can be part of that mission. 
 
In conclusion, I wish to remind you that the greatest challenge we face is to offer a future to the young people of our country. A recent survey has confirmed that thousands of our young people have come to the conclusion that it is better for them to live outside of Guyana than to remain at home. It is a serious indictment on the present administration of our Country. The strange political development taking place in Guyana today is a reflection of the level of disillusionment of our youth and an indication that people are looking for relief in all directions, in the hope that they can save Guyana. Let me, however, state that I am convinced that there is no force in our country with the experience, capacity, and ability to mobilize Guyanese both home and abroad to make a difference, other than the Peoples national Congress Reform. Tonight, if you are like me convinced that there is need for a change in Guyana for the better, we have a golden opportunity to contribute to that process. TO THIS TASK I INVITE ALL OF YOU TO DEVOTE YOUR ENERGIES.
 
 
I wish the North America Region every success. I am confident that if we work with the same enthusiasm shown at this conference I will be returning next year to this forum of the North America Region to say thank you and extend congratulations for a mission well done.  
 
Thank you and I wish you a successful conference.
RHOC
 
People's National Congress Reform
July 8th 2005