PNCR leader Robert Corbin yesterday said that the process to be used to identify the party’s presidential candidate would involve all members.
“Basically the process is one which involves all members of the party, that will not change,” Corbin told Stabroek News. “They will have an opportunity to identify and nominate someone of their choice and the party membership generally will make that decision.”
Corbin, who noted he was not involved in the work of the committee mandated to draft the procedures, said that a public announcement would likely be made after it presents its report to the Central Executive Committee (CEC). He said he was “aloof” as it related to the process and noted that he would “take the recommendations when they come.” PNCR General Secretary Oscar Clarke, who heads the Presidential Candidate Process Committee, said last Saturday that it would likely report to the CEC this week.
So far, David Granger, Winston Murray, Basil Williams and Dr Faith Harding have all declared their interest in being the party’s candidate. Asked whether he was leaning towards supporting any of them, Corbin said he would wait on the will of the members. “As a member, I will have my own viewpoint and I will have my opportunity to express my own opinion [and] at that time I will do so,” he said. “But at this moment I am looking at the process,” he added.
The proposed procedure to identify the candidate would likely include the convening of a special congress, where an election would be held, after a list of recommended candidates, in order of priority, is submitted to the CEC. However, there are concerns that such a process would not involve the widest participation by the membership in the selection of the candidate. Among the suggestions made to the committee is for every member to be allowed to vote on the candidate, ensuring that the process is as democratic as possible. While the argument against the direct election of the candidate by bona fide party members has been the logistical arrangements it would entail, its proponents have pointed out that it does not stand up to scrutiny since it has already been proposed that the general membership be involved directly in the nomination process.
The call for a vote by ordinary members is also intended to allay concerns about the electoral process and a decision to go the way of a special congress could see a call for the process to be conducted independently.
Corbin in March this year announced that he was not interested in being the presidential candidate again and he said that “a major challenge” for the party was to find “a consensus presidential candidate who could win the confidence of the majority of Guyanese” at the polls.
He has, however, emphasised that he would not be stepping down from the post of party leader, after his announcement prompted speculation that he was prepared to do so.