The PNCR held a leadership retreat over the weekend in the wake of what it said was threatening storm clouds nationally and globally and strategic goals identified are to be incorporated into a report.
A statement from Congress Place said that on Friday to yesterday its leadership travelled to an out of town location for what was dubbed a major strategic leadership retreat “focused on the transition and change needed in the Party against the backdrop of threatening storm clouds on the global, national and regional horizons.”
This was the third such retreat in the last six years.
According to the statement, PNCR Leader, Robert Corbin “set the stage when he likened the PNCR to a ship travelling on a turbulent sea, which, needed to weigh anchor for a weekend to review the performance of the captain and crew, as well as the welfare of its passengers. The maintenance of the ship to ensure better performance and the re-evaluation of the course to be followed to the next port of call were also essential.”
Congress Place said the retreat was therefore, held because, in this context, the party had to “pause and reflect, review and revise the language, tone and thrust of the political debate”. It said that it also had to focus on the issues that would educate people and stir them to action. “For this to happen, critical issues and new strategic options, for the country and the Party, had to be examined and analysed in depth, with frankness, honesty and under conditions of open debate”, the party asserted.
The retreat was coordinated by Lance Carberry, Alan Munroe and the General Secretary, Oscar Clarke. The main facilitators were Dr. Aubrey Armstrong and Dr. Ivor Mitchell. Among resource persons were party veterans like Haslyn Parris, Cammie Ramsaroop and intellectuals such as Professor Clive Thomas and Brigadier David Granger (ret’d). Representatives of civil society, trade unions, religious organisations, youth groups and the diaspora were also invited to share their perspectives.
Participants included Central Executive Committee members, PNCR Members of Parliament and PNCR representatives from all ten regions.
The party said that the retreat allowed for a broad range of new ideas to be put on the table for discussions and vigorous debate amongst the seventy participants.
The strategic goals are to be incorporated into the report of the retreat.
The party has experienced internal turmoil over the last two years following the failed challenge by the Vincent Alexander-led Team Alexander (TA) of Corbin’s leadership. After much acrimony the challenge was withdrawn but several members of TA were disciplined and MP James McAllister recalled from Parliament.
In the wake of the departure of several leading party members it was also recently announced that Winston Murray had given up the post of Chairman on a matter of principle though he remained a Member of Parliament and the party’s shadow finance minister.
The party has also faced piercing questions about its stance toward the government and whether it was providing effective leadership of the opposition. Corbin has been accused of taking a soft line on the government and this at one point led to President Bharrat Jagdeo rising to his defence.
Corbin has recently reiterated the party’s long-held view that shared governance is a must if Guyana is to progress. The party is scheduled to hold a congress later this year.