Mr. Norton once held the position of General Secretary of the
PNC. He was expelled from the party by its late leader, Mr. Hoyte,
possibly because of internal dispute over PNC leadership. Mr.
Burke was an aide of Mr. Hoyte, and is the currrent president
of GID based in Broooklyn, NY. This piece was originally published
as a letter in the Guyana press on January 11, 2002.]
Mr Rickford Burke's letter (9.1.2002)
puts failure at the foot of Mr Desmond Hoyte squarely when he
wrote in reference to the PNC that 'Indeed the party has never
produced any evidence to establish that it won the 1992, 1997
and 2001 elections, although it successfully challenged the validity
of the 1997 elections in court.
Mr Burke writes a lot about democracy
and must know that in the US where he writes from or in the UK
if a leader loses three consecutive elections then the decent
thing to do is to resign. Or is there no decency here? Please
Mr Burke do not seek to shift the focus. Most people believe that
Mr Hoyte has made his contribution and that it is time for him
to retire to North Road or wherever he chooses.Mr Burke states
that the debate should not be about Mr Hoyte 'It should be about
the future and who is best suited to assume the reins of leadership'.
Well Mr Hoyte must be an issue since he has failed to do the decent
thing and resign.
There is agreement with Mr Burke
that there is need to focus on the future. However, the writer
disagrees that we must become involved in 'who is best suited
to assume the reins of leadership'. If we claim to be democratic
then we must operate within the confines of the rule of law. The
supreme law of our party is the party constitution which states
in Article (4) under the caption Vacancy in office of the Leader
that (a) If the Office of Leader becomes vacant due to death,
incapacity, resignation or other circumstances, the Chairman shall
assume the functions of the leader for the time being. (b) In
the case of death or resignation, General Council shall meet within
sixty (60) days to elect an interim Leader who shall function
until Congress elects a Leader.'
foregoing has established beyond doubt that the party has the
required mechanism to deal with leadership succession and thus
Mr Burke's contention that 'Mr Norton and his colleagues should
work on fostering a consensus candidate' is irrelevant and an
attempt to create disunity in the emerging party leadership and
create the conditions for Mr Hoyte to say there is no alternative
to him. After thirty-one years in politics
such an infantile stroke from a Johnny come lately will never
trap me. The leadership issue has long been resolved by
What is interesting is that Mr
Burke has failed to deal with the major issues of concern to our
supporters. He does not deal with the crucial issue of land distribution
at a time when Mr Baksh and the PPP are distributing the land
in Region four in a way that many of their supporters are being
moved to Region four. This means in the next election the PPP
will be in a better position to win Region four, while Hoyte's
appointees to Boards will be powerless to help our supporters.
Mr Burke seems not to have the
concerns of our supporters at heart. Again he has failed to deal
with the situation in which while Mr Hoyte is dialoguing, the
PPP regime continues to fire public servants and rehire their
cronies at their whims, fancies and caprices.
Mr Burke is insinuating that I
am opposed to dialogue with' the PPP. This is far from the truth.
I support a genuine dialogue, which seeks to give power to our
party commensurate to our support. Unfortunately the present dialogue
is a PPP ploy that keeps Hoyte talking while our supporters are
battered into subjection. This dialogue is a farce and our people
Unfortunately the things that
Mr Burke is citing as successes for Mr Hoyte do not change the
state of our supporters. At best they merely provide Mr Hoyte
with the opportunity to dole out patronage to those he favours
and ensure his personal political survival. What should come first
is the issues of concern to our supporters. These issues are the
ones not obtaining attention.
face reality, Hoyte must go and go fast
so that the party can organise itself for 2006. This is
the best contribution he can make to our people at this stage.