The PNCR remains opposed to extending term limits for the presidency and is open to having discussions with the PPP/C and the other parties in Parliament towards developing a model for shared governance, its leader Robert Corbin says.
Corbin said too that no discussions with the PPP concerning shared governance have commenced and stated that recent suggestions that his party had had a change of heart about presidential term limits were simply acts directed to divert attention from “the real issues” that were facing the country. “The real issues which we face as a country right now, are not whether you have term limits to the President extended. It is the system of governance. That is what we’ve been trying to push for the last umpteen years since 2003…,” Corbin told a news conference yesterday.
He was responding to questions at a PNCR press conference yesterday following a report in Stabroek News on Thursday that a pitch for a third term for President Bharrat Jagdeo was made to a small group of influential PPP leaders at a meeting at Freedom House last month. It was also reported that the arrangement could see a deal with the PNCR for deeper inclusive governance. According to the report, the meeting was told that the initiative could attract the support of seven PNCR MPs for a two-thirds constitutional amendment to revise the provision that currently bars Jagdeo from seeking re-election next year.
Asked if he was convinced that all his party members would vote against a possible amendment to the constitution for an extension of term limits, Corbin said that the members were expected to stick to the policy positions of the party. “On certain matters all members of Parliament of the PNC are required to carry out policy positions of the party,” Corbin said. According to him, “those policy positions, particularly those that are fundamental- go to the core of the party’s position- will have to be carried out by members of Parliament or members of the party whom they represent may lose confidence in their ability to represent their interests.” “And there are consequences for the loss of confidence,” he added.
When asked if his party would support legislation that would facilitate a PNCR Prime Ministerial candidate in a PPP government, Corbin stressed that this is not what his party means when they advocate shared governance. He also said that it would be “naïve” of persons to think that such legislation would sidetrack the PNCR from its agenda.
“Shared governance is not about President and Prime Minister. It is a mistake to believe that shared governance is about allocating spoils between President and Prime Minister,” the PNCR Leader said. He said too that shared governance needs to involve all the political players in the country. “It can’t even be a matter between the PNC and the PPP alone. It has to involve all the political players…at least all the people in Parliament at the moment” he said, while suggesting that it could also involve “other stakeholders out there”.
According to him, “shared governance has to do with constitutional changes”. Corbin said also that shared governance cannot work in Guyana without the PPP coming on board. “The ultimate solution to our problems still rest on the major political forces in Guyana sitting around the table and finding a model of governance that will eliminate some of the cyclical problems we have had over the years and that can create the environment for the acceleration of Guyana’s economic and social development,” Corbin said. He said that the decision to proceed on shared governance has to come from genuine discussion where the identification of which model of government systems would be embraced.