Interest in presidential candidate overblown -Corbin

The PNCR is currently more concerned with forging partnerships with various groups and developing a programme that will ensure defeat of the PPP/C at next year’s elections than with selecting a presidential candidate, party leader Robert Corbin said yesterday.

Robert Corbin

Facing reporters for the first time since announcing he would not be the party’s candidate, Corbin said that the issue is not just who is presidential candidate for the PNCR, but how the party will produce a programme and a group of persons who will manage and take the country forward. “I think this whole issue of a presidential candidate for the PNC is overblown,” Corbin said, when asked about the commencement of the process to select a presidential candidate. “It is only on Nomination Day, that that party, submitting a list,  indentifies who is the candidate in that list that they are putting up for president,” he added. While acknowledging that the “personality” of the presidential candidate would have some influence in attracting votes for the list of candidates, Corbin said that the list of candidates being put up for the particular election is equally important.

Corbin noted that the PNCR has been advocating for the need of a broad platform and he reiterated its commitment to shared governance.  He said that the party firmly believes that shared governance remains the only way to break out of the “cycle of political conflict” that has been in existence for several years.   He said that the PNCR has actively started to work towards this “total package.”

Corbin, however, noted that in identifying a presidential candidate, there is the need to find someone who would enjoy the confidence of the majority of people in the country. Meanwhile, when quizzed about the recent poster campaign advocating party Vice-Chairman Basil Williams to be the party’s presidential candidate over Winston Murray, Corbin attributed this to a group of “mischief makers.” Stating that he was out of the country when the campaign surfaced, Corbin said he learnt about it via the media.

He said that both of the names mentioned in the campaign have denied any involvement. Further, he said the party had earlier exposed a plot by a group of “mischief makers” to undermine the party and he said that this may be the continuance.  The posters, which were placed by anonymous persons, said that Williams commanded support among the grass roots people and respect among all ethnic groups.

They also highlighted that he was outspoken and willing to work with others and that he was intelligent, articulate and qualified with enormous experience.  His years of yeoman service to the party were also highlighted.

Last week Williams distanced himself from the poster campaign. Williams said he believed that any person was free to contest any public office he or she felt they could fill. “I wouldn’t criticise Mr Murray or any other person who believes that they have the ability to run for any office in this country,” he added. Murray had unsuccessfully challenged Robert Corbin for the party’s leadership last year.

Williams, last week, also declined to say whether he is interested in being his party’s presidential candidate at next year’s elections stating that this was a question for the membership of the party.

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