It now has been two decades since we last held local government elections in Guyana. Putting this into an urgent practical context, it means that we have had an entire generation who were born and who grew into adulthood, all while never experiencing the local elections process as a unique opportunity to become directly involved in their community’s political and civic culture.
The effects actually have stretched into yet another generation. For those who were just 17 at the time of the last elections, they are now at least 37 years old. As individuals who likely are important mentors and role models to younger generations, this generation has never voted in a local election nor has it experienced the often exciting aspects of a local political campaign that can be critical to how communities envision their prospects for progress, growth and prosperity.
We are representing a broad section of Guyana’s population who is 37 and younger. So vital is this goal, that all of us have signed this letter, as we begin a mission of advocacy to reverse this disappointing reality that has lasted far too long in our country.
As idealists who see an unprecedentedly exciting future for our country, it boggles our minds that the elected guardians of our democracy have allowed this travesty to go on unresolved. Setting the immediate priority of calling for local government elections does more than just energize the political process. Guyana is in the midst of extraordinary economic promise and we understand the ramifications of letting the local political process atrophy and lose its critical strength. If young people become hopelessly disconnected, the consequences for the nation could prove costly.
If young people know opportunities to connect to their communities do not exist, the local environment could become a feeding ground for negative behaviours that lead to delinquency and a lack of motivation to continue their education. On the other hand, having the experience of an active local political process in which elections become the catalyst for public engagement, young people develop a clearer sense of identity, a positive focus on recognizing their individual merit and worth, and renewed feelings that motivate them to look for ways to be successful.
The good news is that many of us in the younger generation have faith in the democratic process and we hope that our elders recognize just how important local governmental elections are not just for our individual communities but also for keeping Guyana’s democratic prospects as strong and as fruitful as possible.
Guyana has moved forward thanks to many whom we know have a healthy appreciation for democracy and what it can accomplish. As a younger generation, we share that same love and respect for these principles. We stand as ready, eager students willing to listen and ready to participate. And, through the process of local government elections, we see wonderful opportunities to gain work experience, skills, and valuable lessons about responsibility and accountability, all of which help our local communities thrive.
We believe in our country’s potential for great positive developments even as we sometimes have been disillusioned and disappointed.
Our love and hope for Guyana runs deep within each and every one of us and we are confident that our elders and leaders believe in our national potential just as strongly. We believe that there is no greater platform for investing in our nation than in carrying forward a compelling vision that improves the lives of all people.
Furthermore, it is that compelling vision which can become one of the most powerful magnets for attracting resources and investments which benefit the nation’s economy throughout all communities in Guyana.
From the bosoms of our hearts and depths of our conscience, we plead with love for our country and respect for our national heritage in urging our Local Government Minister to please set forth the date and process for local government elections.
For Blue CAPS