From a recent trip to Guyana, I am just appalled by the many excuses that the Guyanese people, especially and most surprisingly, the youths, are fabricating not to vote in the upcoming elections. Several of these excuses include, “Me nah interested in politics,” and “Man de line does be too long fuh vote,” or the most common ones, “Meh vote nah gun count,” and “De PPP gun find a way to be there anyway, so wah is de point?”
While most of these Guyanese citizens agree that a change of government is needed, they must realize that change will not come if they sit idly at home come elections day, and then complain the following day and every day for the next five years about how much they are being punished under the PPP. Many of them rely on assistance from their family members outside of the country. But it is about time that they stood up for themselves. Guyana will be stuck in one place and one time if we all do not make the attempt to move forward now. The time has come for change.
It is understandable that the word ‘change‘ can be frightening. When we hear of change, we automatically tend to think of all the negatives that come along with it. What most people overlook is the fact that change can also be positive. After all that Guyanese have endured for the past 47 years, they really do not have much to lose by voting for this positive change called the Alliance for Change. With all of the bright young minds that the AFC has on board and their innovative proposals that they have to offer, they cannot possibly do a worse job than what the past two governments have led us to. The AFC is not asking that electors vote them in and then leave them there for two decades to lavishly enjoy the perks at taxpayers’ expense and abuse the power they hold. All they are asking for is a chance, an opportunity to serve their people and to return to them what is rightfully theirs – a voice in matters that concern the people.
It is undemocratic, not to mention detrimental, to have one government run the country for such a long period of time. We cry out for a democracy yet what we have is close to a dictatorship. The atrocities that are taking place under this current government are unacceptable. By what right do a few policemen have to burn the genitals of a teenage boy they claim was not confessing to them? And then look how easily they are let off the hook. Why is it that poor people have to pay 16% VAT? Why is it that youths graduating from university cannot find jobs in a country with such rich resources? Why is it that bribes have to be passed to our officials before anything can get done? Why is it that justice cannot be served with humanity? When we face challenges of such magnitude, given the tremendous disruption it creates for our lives, families, jobs, and so forth, there is a willingness from people to change with a speed you do not get in otherwise normal times. Guyanese are being given this opportunity to vote for this change, so why should they not seize it?
I cannot stress enough how important it is that we distance ourselves from racial voting. It is a new time, a new generation, a new era in which our prospective leaders should not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by their vision for a better Guyana. I urge each and every Guyanese with the right to vote, to go out and vote. Youths make up the majority of the population, so they must realize that it is they who have the power in their hands. It is they who must make the wise choice for their future. As Maya Angelou once stated, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude, don’t complain.”
I am an American and I am proud to be one because of the rights I hold and the opportunities available to me. However, based on the fact that I lived in Guyana for half of my life, I consider myself a true Guyanese as well, and though I unfortunately do not hold the right to vote, it will be up to my people to make me proud to be a Guyanese this upcoming election. Let us show the world that we Guyanese stand up for what we believe in, that we truly are one people, one nation and one destiny.