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New leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, Aubrey Norton said his election is a clear mandate from his party that they want a vigorous response to the corrupt intentions of the ruling PPP/C Government.
Norton, was only Saturday elected Leader of the PNCR during the party’s 21st Biennial Delegates Congress. He made the comments on Wednesday while addressing party faithful at the 19th Death Anniversary memorial of the late party leader and former President Hugh Desmond Hoyte at the Seven Ponds, Botanical Gardens.
Saying that there are many lessons to be learnt from the past leaders, Norton said his new Executive must work to rekindle hope in the people of Guyana. He accused the government of wanting to squander the country’s patrimony through reckless spending and bloated contracts. “We will hold them accountable. The PNCR is strong. The PNCR is resilient. The PNCR is a tested and proven organisation. We will not fail our people,” he assured.
In observance of his 19th Death Anniversary, Hugh Desmond Hoyte, the second leader of the People’s National Congress Reform and former President of Guyana, was recognized as a trail blazer who contributed significantly Guyana’s economic and infrastructural development.
In his address, Aubrey Norton, the newly elected Leader of the PNCR, said when the late President left Office in 1992, he had placed Guyana on a clear path to development.
In support of his statement, Norton pointed out that international prestigious reports of some of the major international financial institutions, such as the Inter-American Development Bank, have recorded the achievements made under Hoyte’s leadership.
“Guyana is clearly on the road to Global recovery… there are sufficient lines in the banking system… the majority of the State Enterprises have been privatized … rice production and commercialization have been liberalized. Private Sector Enterprises, both national and international have been appearing more and more, with important investment in the mining sector; forestry and industrial activities. The construction industry is visibly reactivated,” the IDB had reported in 1991, at a time when the global economic system had ravaged the open economy:
Norton said Hoyte must be credited with liberalizing the Guyanese economy and opening new opportunities for the private sector.
“It was clearly the intention of then President Hoyte to see the entire private sector expanding and being represented while contributing to the development of the Guyanese economy. Unfortunately, this wide concept of the private sector has been reduced to the Private Sector
Commission which is not at all reflective of the Guyanese private sector. It is my sincere hope that we move towards a wider more representative private sector rather than one that is politically affiliated and purporting to represent the private sector in Guyana,” the PNCR Leader said.
He further pointed out that the action taken by Hoyte led the World Bank to conclude that, “No country has come so far, so fast.”
“The international community clearly acknowledged his contribution to the development of Guyana. The foregoing should dispel the notion that the PNC destroyed the economy. As I long as I am Leader of this Party these myths will be vigorously debunked.
In fact, the Economic Recovery Programme which was responsible for the recovery of the national economy was inherited by the PPP in 1992. They mismanaged that programme. By 1998, Guyana would record negative growth rates. At present, the PPP seems to be heading down the same road of destruction that they traversed between 1992 and 2015,” he submitted.
Norton said Hoyte’s successes were not limited to the economic realm but spanned across sectors as he worked to build institutions that were independent of political control and domination.
Norton said, in this regard, the late Leader and President appointed professional persons as Permanent Secretaries and developed an independent public service.
“It should also be noted that he penned a letter to his Ministers and Permanent Secretaries directing them to allow public servants to operate as professionals and not as political operatives. He implored on his Ministers the need to not override public servants. He further stated that if a Minister felt he was correct in what he was doing he instructed the public servants to ask them to put it in writing. Mr. Hoyte must be credited with insulating the public service from political interference. Unfortunately, the PPP came to power in 1992, victimized and politicized the public service ending the new vistas that were opened for good governance. Here too, they seem to be on the road to destruction once more,” Norton told those present.
He reminded further that it was Hoyte who placed Guyana on the global environmental map with the creation of the Iwokrama Rainforest Project in 1998 when he offered the Commonwealth pristine lands to establish the Iwokrama Rainforest Project. Additionally, the late Leader and President was the brainchild of the Guyana Prize for Literature.
“After 1992, the PNC faced some serious and formidable challenges. Indeed, some of our critics wondered if we could survive. But as a result of hard work among our people and by forging major regional and international alliances, Mr. Hoyte rallied the PNC and left us a legacy we can be proud of. Like any leader he has made mistakes but his achievements cannot be questioned,” Norton said.
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Caption: Leader of the PNCR Aubrey Norton paying tribute to Hugh Desmond Hoyte, the second leader of the People’s National Congress Reform and former President of Guyana