Excerpted from Robert Corbin's 14th Congress speech - August 2004
Excerpted from section entitled: FAILURE OF CONSTRUCTIVE ENGAGEMENT
“…This item of inclusive and shared governance was not strictly new. It is the subject of an entire Chapter, Chapter 3: on Governance, in the ‘National Development Strategy (2001-2010) - A Policy Framework for eradicating Poverty and unifying Guyana.'”
“The National Development Strategy represented a turning point in our history. For the first time, one-hundred-and-eight-nine (189) Guyanese from all walks of life; from all geographic regions; from our villages, town and hinterland communities; from all racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds and across all political persuasions came together, discussed together and worked together on the future of our country.”
“They produced the National Development Strategy, long identified as the absolute pre-condition for good governance. The NDS is a framework for us to follow. It is a policy paper that should be recommended reading for every Guyanese.”
“Assuming that the National Development Strategy is accepted as a starting point we cannot escape the compelling recommendations in Chapter 3, Governance. Indeed the proposals suggest that a prerequisite for success is a change in the system of Governance.”
Excerpted from the section entitled: FACING THE CHALLENGES
“I recommend as compulsory reading the National Development Strategy Paper for those who still labour under these misconceptions that the simple return of the PNCR to National Assembly will solve our problems. The more intelligent approach for this Congress is to determine the reason for this state of affairs and prescribe the way in which these serious issues may be addressed. The ultimate question for us as a nation is whether we are willing and ready to face the challenges that the prescription may suggest.”
Excerpted from section entitled: ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL POLICIES OF THE PLATFORM
It follows from what I have already outlined that the methodology for arriving at our social and economic policies demands intense consultation.
A PNCR led coalition should undertake to negotiate and implement, with all the economic stakeholders in our country, the basis of a consensual Economic Policy Framework that is based on the maximum participation and support of all stakeholder groups and which addresses the overall developmental and growth prospects in a holistic and realistic way.
I am not, however, suggesting that it would be easy to arrive at a consensus on the economic and social policy of the platform, but I submit that there are general principles which have been accepted by all. Where then is the starting point?
For the first time in recent history, one hundred and eighty nine Guyanese from all walks of life; from all geographic regions; from our villages, towns and hinterland communities; from all racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds and across political persuasions came together, discussed together and worked together: The result is the document we now know today as the NDS. While it is not a development plan it represents a good starting point for the software of the platform. That document outlines the objectives of the strategy as follows:
“(i) to attain the highest rates of economic growth that are possible;
to eliminate poverty in Guyana;
to achieve geographical unity;
to attain an equitable geographical distribution of economic activity; and,
to diversify the economy.”
I do not think that these objectives can be faulted. Once there is agreement then we should utilize the vast human resources of Guyana to take it from here. There is no doubt that we have the people, once we are prepared to have them involved.
How could a country, which has provided the brains and the hands that have built industries in other countries, which have served international institutions professionally, not have the manpower to take us forward? What we need to do is to re-instill in the Guyanese at home and abroad the feeling of hope. We must all believe that it is possible to arrest the descent into the abyss; that it is possible to revive the patient. But I submit, that recovery is only possible if everyone is on board.
Excerpted from section entitled: GOVERNANCE PROPOSALS
At this Congress, the PNCR must set out, in clear and unmistakable terms, a realistic Platform which defines how we will reform the way Guyana is governed to make our political landscape more inclusive, and more responsive to the needs of all sections and groupings of Guyanese. This is a time for radical and imaginative solutions. To sustain change, the structures of the nation itself should be modified including strategic plans, policies and procedures. For Guyana to change- it must have a government that is visionary, persuasive and consistent. Guyana desperately needs a government that can translate vision into a realistic platform and the energy and competence to carry out that plan. It must have a government that is as broad based as possible and that is flexible enough to bring on board its platform, for the reform of governance, all ideas, all realistic proposals, all patriotic elements and all who are willing to work with us for a better Guyana.
The PNCR must make it clear to the nation that we stand ready and committed to a platform of Shared Governance and Inclusivity. We must make it clear that we are willing to share Executive Authority and to explore and negotiate imaginative forms of governance and reform of our national, regional and local governments to ensure that the goal of full inclusivity is realized. We must make it clear to the nation that we will stand ready to discuss, without precondition, the basis of our development strategy in an all inclusive arrangement in which every relevant stakeholder will participate. We are not isolated nor are we original on this matter.
Assuming that the National Development strategy is accepted as a starting point we cannot escape the compelling recommendations in Chapter 3, Governance. Indeed the proposals suggest that a prerequisite for success in a change in the system of Governance.
You may access the full-length version of Mr. Corbin's speech by clicking here.