Mr. Vincent Alexander, MP
Chairman (ag) of the People's National Congress Reform




Mr. Corbin, Leader of the People's National Congress Reform and Mrs. Corbin, fellow members of the Central Executive. Invitees. Delegates and Observers. It is with a sincere feeling of privilege and honour that I bid you welcome to this our 14th Biennial Congress.  

To our delegates from the Guyanese Diaspora, I salute you far your demonstration of commitment to your country and Party. Your Party considers your involvement in the affairs of your motherland as an essential pillar in the reconstruction of Guyana and the realization of its untapped potential, of which you are an integral part and from which you derived your being. 

Special mention must be made of our local delegates and observers for their continued belief in their Party. Your presence here today, and over the next two days, is evidence of your resolve to continue the struggle far the ideals which you and your Party uphold. Even in the face of the threat of various forms of reprisals for having the courage to identify openly with your Party, you have stayed the course. This signifies your belief in., and commitment to the inevitable change for the better under the leadership of your Party, the People's National Congress Reform. 

Accolades must be showered on our hinterland comrades,, who in the face of many adversaries, including the rigours of traversing harsh terrain for prolonged periods, have persevered and endured to be here with us today. You are undoubtedly, at much cost to yourselves, demonstrating a preference for a Guyana under the leadership of the PNCR. You do deserve a resounding round of applause. I ask our comrades from Regions 1, 7, 8, 9 and the remote parts of 2, 3, 6 and 10 to stand and be recognized. 

To our invitees,, we extend a special welcome. We note your continued interest in what the PNCR has to offer Guyana. We salute you for being bold in exercising your freedom of association in the face of a vindictive regime. We assure you that the days for such fears are numbered and that the PNCR will defend and uphold the freedom of association, and of conscience and indeed all freedom, s that are universally acceptable. 

To the diplomats, we are appreciative of your availing yourselves of another opportunity to hear and see what the PNCR stands for. Hopefully, there will be no Sorensen type reprisal for your presence here. 

This 14th Biennial Congress is of tremendous significance to our Party and to the nations at large. Guyana is at the crossroads. The outcome and resolve of this Congress will determine whether the downward trend continues or whether we experience the reversal which all Guyanese would benefit from, though some are in denial. The PNCR has in the past demonstrated its ability to find solutions to Guyana's problems. Its capacity has however been under-minded by the fractious nature of our society; the anachronistic political culture which pervades our society; and the fragility of our economy which has been like an albatross over the years. That change in all of these spheres is essential can hardly be disputed. 

It is in this context that the PNCR has arrived at its Congress Theme and the resolve which inheres in it. Firstly, we must build a just society as the basis for attaining and maintaining peace, thus creating an environment conducive to Cohesion. Secondly, with National Cohesion, we would be better able to make maximum use of our human, material and spiritual resources, which in itself can establish the foundation for reconstruction in every facet of national life. 

This Congress is therefore challenged to build a framework or the foundation for the attainment of Peace, National Cohesion and Reconstruction. 

In so doing, the Party has to demonstrate by its percepts and practices that it embraces and fosters Peace, Cohesion and Reconstruction. 

In that regard, mutual respect for one another, tolerance, inclusivity, meritocracy, selflessness, hard work, accountability, honesty, constant introspection and commitment to country, based on a common vision will have to be the essentials of the new national ethos. The Party would have to be integral to the creation of that ethos.   It is also self evident that such an ethos cannot be imposed by any one Party. It has got to be articulated through national consensus and achieved through collective implementation. 

This Congress is about how the PNCR positions itself to give leadership to this process? and mobilizes the nation to be owners of the process. It begs two questions, what do we do internally to transform the Party into the nucleus of such a process? And how does the Party reach out to totality of the cells of the nation in an effort to infect the nation?

Internally, we must be a united team focused, committed and equipped to achieve our ideals. Externally, we must be recognized, influential and accepted for what we are worth. 

In repeating my welcome to all of you, 1 reiterate that this Congress is not merely a traditional occasion,, ritual or celebration. It is another stage of a work-in-progress, as the PNCR responds to the challenges which presently face our nation. This Congress must therefore have frank, intense, focused and meaningful discussions that will leave re­-enforce our resolve to do the job.   Concomitantly, we must elect a leadership team that is committed to the task and endowed with the skills to get the task done. 

I close with the poem entitled: Dedicated to Youth by a little known Guyanese poet, Ivan Forrester who bestrode the PNC and was adjudged a Poet by the late; Martin Garter:    

A moment past will not return
The dead year has no resurrection
But the ghost of night will haunt
The memory of the wasted day
Then regrets and remorse must fail
To fill the empty coffers of the wastrel
To be master of your moment
And there can be no sorry past
For the efforts of your present
Must be a catalyst to a bright future

I thank you

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana
Friday, August 27, 2004


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