After we first broke this story, thevery next day it was plastered all over the media. Howevere, Rickford Burke, a former Presidential advisor to Hoyte, has lashed out at Corbin and the party leadership (see below). Burke has sepped on Corbin toes after grinding Adam Harris' Sophia toes into the sand.
New York Institute says removal of Guyana MP undermines democracy
NEW YORK: The Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) has condemned the removal of James McAllister from the Parliament of Guyana by Opposition and People's National Congress (PNC) Leader, Robert Corbin. McAllister was a PNC Member of Parliament (MP).
He and a group of senior members, led by then Vice Chairman Vincent Alexander unsuccessfully challenged Corbin for the leadership at the party's 2007 internal elections. They were subsequently placed before a disciplinary committee engineered by Corbin.
The Institute blasted his removal as "dictatorial and vindictive." It added that "The arbitrary removal of a Member of Parliament who was elected by the people, at the whims of one man - the Opposition Leader, overturns the will of the electorate and is an assault on democracy."
In a CGID statement issued Friday by Director of Communications, Jevon Suralie, the Institute's President, Rickford Burke, is quoted as saying "I am shocked that Mr. Corbin's leadership is characterized by arrogance and dictatorship; tendencies which jeopardize our tenuous democratic dispensation."
Burke, a former Chairman of the PNC youth arm – GYSM who was also an aide to late PNC Leader and former President of Guyana, Hugh Desmond Hoyte, added that "The recall of James McAllister provides a keen insight into the PNC leader's domineering approach to governing and antipathy for democratic values."
He said no one with such mentality must ever again be entrusted with the Presidency of Guyana." Corbin ran against President Bharrat Jagdeo for President in 2006 but lost. Burke however said that they both have "dictatorial tendencies."
At the sitting of the Parliament on December 3, Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran, announced that he had received official notification from Corbin, the Representative of the List of candidates for the PNC, on December 2, that McAllister had been recalled. Consequently, Ramkarran declared McAllister's seat vacant, in accordance with "Article 156(3) (c) of the Constitution, the Constitutional Amendment Act of 2007."
Known as the "The Recall Legislation," the amendment was enacted by the PPP government with support from Corbin a majority of his PNC MPs. The legislation enables the representatives of parliamentary parties to direct the Speaker of the National Assembly to declare a seat vacant once a party has lost confidence in a member.
Suralie noted that during its passage in 2007, CGID expressed serious reservations about its undemocratic provisions. He said the Institute had recommended that the Bill be amended to require that, upon a declaration of no confidence in a MP by a Representative of a party's list, the Speaker should cause a special election to be held in the constituency of the MP. This, he said, would allow the people to be the final arbiters of in the recall of their elected representative. The recall legislation is the product of a negotiated deal by President Jagdeo and Mr. Corbin to excise independent-minded MPs who do not tow their party's line. It was enacted after Corbin was challenged for the leadership in 2007.
Burke accused Corbin of being characteristically petty, visionless and uninspiring. "His leadership has been catastrophic for the PNC. With him at the helm, its prospects for electoral viability will remain elusive," he noted.
Corbin assumed the leadership in 2002 after Hoyte died of a heart attack. Since then, the Party underwent a serious split in 2005, leading to the departure of scores of young leaders, including Raphael Trotman, a formidable young leader who was being groomed by Hoyte to assume the reins of leadership. Trotman then co-founded the Alliance for Change (AFC). In the 2006 general elections, the PNC lost five seats in Parliament to the AFC. It also lost several local government seats to both the AFC and Jagdeo's ruling PPP.
Burke added that although allegations of a "compromised" 2007 party election damaged Mr. Corbin's credibility and legitimacy, as well as undermined the PNC's image, since then a leadership culture of malice and undemocratic practices became more entrenched.
He charged that Corbin has pursued a vendetta against the members that supported Alexander in 2007, and that his undemocratic propensities have led to "a brain drain of the majority of the PNC's intelligentsia."
Burke also noted that Corbin has not conceptualized or articulated a new vision as an alternative to the incumbent PPP government and, thus, has lost the confidence of a majority of his constituents and members. "He is an incompetent and irrelevant and does not deserve the vote of the people at any other elections," Burke observed.
"If the PNC hopes to remain a relevant force in Guyanese politics, it must remove Mr. Corbin from its leadership, broaden its political base into a genuine, formidable, multiethnic party, recruit a new generation of bright, young leaders and articulate a new vision for modernity and development," Burke said.