There will be those amongst the Guyanese population who will be indifferent towards the May General Elections. Others will be similarly apathetic from years of personal developmental stagnation and ignored promises by the politicians and government. Some will be outrightly hostile to elections, their campaigns and all political parties.
That segment of the population known as the electorate – the eighteen – and – over body of persons entitled to vote after fulfilling the requirements of the representation of the People Act- registration, ID card, on the OLE, etc – will be the target of the Party Election Campaigners whose dedicated desire is that their Parties govern- or “reign” – over us through five years of membership in a new government and/or Parliament.
I make bold- based on my experience of many Elections Campaigns at personal significant levels- to advise the electorate how they should deal with what they’ll be confronted with between now and the 10th May coming. In a manner to maintain your blood pressure, mental acuity and integrity generally and your ability to focus on still living as decently as you want to.
You see people, even, if you’re amongst the few thousand Guyanese Jehovah Witnesses or thousands of under-eighteens who don’t or can’t vote, your senses will be assailed, through the media, small or large meetings/rallies, visits and telephone messages and the modern Social media, with explanations and persuasion as to why you should “support” respective groups and personalities. These individuals and parties are planning to chart and enrich your future, you’ll be told, constantly.
So how should you respond? Whilst maintaining your equilibrium and your sanity? (By the way) First of all: do you know that you could be jailed for not registering for your national identification documents, but not for not voting?)
You might be tired, after 2011 to 2014, of political posturings and campaigns. But you must find a reason to vote! That should not be difficult. It’s a personal duty and a vital element of your democracy called Guyana.
I suggest now that first of all, go about your daily task of making a living – your employment, your service to family and community, assisting the even less-fortunate and ask for higher spiritual guidance at places of worship.
Next, when you make time, get savvy about the politicians’ use of the media. Consider the letter-writers and columnists. (Some Columnists are useful born-again professionals who were once “loyalists”, now with insights into mischief of the past and now with reasonable guidance.)
Newspaper publishers with their overall mission and preferential ideology; the editors and sub-editors must be challenged by the frequency and length of “political” letters. Check and you’ll see thousands of column inches by particular writers -named and anonymous.
Ignore – or “enjoy” – the cuss-down, buse-out outpourings. Some voters might actually be moved by aggressive rhetoric. You calmly decide who is bringing realistic programmes and policies; whose plans and promises you can trust after two decades of one group. Beware of those new baby parties. Check to discover if they are fronts for others and there to split the collective vote for your own preference.
Don’t join in any lewd or dishonest abuse of even those campaigners you do not like. And whether you are for, or against one Party, don’t trust either as if they are divine. (Find out how and where to vote!)
Voter, even as you have your duty to your choice, analyse the new wonderful ads, promos and elections gimmicks – digital graphics, posed photographs, television tricks, then consider your final decision. Seriously assess too, those who hold themselves out as worthy to be your future representatives. What do you actually know about them? Their background, their morality, their attitudes to others; their experience and or qualifications; their own ambitions?
I was attracted to the advice embedded in a Stabroek News letter by the regular, consistent E.B. John this past Monday. Not so subtly deciding that you-all want to change the incumbents, Mr John advises caution about expectations if that change is made manifest by say, May 13 next. “Optimism about the immediate efficacy – the ability to produce expected results – must be tempered with caution”, John advises. A new Administration will have to grapple with re-constituting vital institutions, with the shortage of specific skills and human resources, with funding; with attitudes, no “quick-fixes”, he warns. Read him, then vote.
P.C. Conray and his bosses
Young Georgetown Police Constable Conray – aged thirty-two – was promoted to full corporal the other day. He welcomed that as his just reward for honest hard work in law enforcement and protection and keeping peace and order in a now rugged disorderly Capital City.
Poor Corporal Conray! He never joined the Police Force for any runnings: protection money; renting uniform or weapons; being off-duty enforcer; intimidating motorists or “vanishing” – evidence in Court. No-no! Conray as Constable was clean. Somewhat rare! Hence his mental and psychological challenges born of his religion, upbringing and morality. Spawned by a lack of example too!
Conray remembers money disappearing from his own Force’s Finance Office; the allegations that very senior personnel could not explain the purchase of some maritime vessels; that the Americans cited officers getting US Visas by stealth; that a former Top Cop had sexual allegations levelled against him causing him to utilize legal protection; that very senior officers’ names appeared in the media as abusing their spouses and Conray actually saw a senior officer with costly hobbies, very inebriated at a hotel parking lot.
Poor Corporal. He knows that all are human and may fall short. But the young fellow knows police reform must start at the top!
Pay heed, ponder…
*1) See how the major political contenders on TV, invoke the memories and images of Cheddi, Forbes, Hoyte and Jagdeo!
*2) Notice the unfortunate circumstance of some media -print and electronic- perpetuating shades of racism in their captions which they are supposed to detest.
*3) This season will earn the people’s NCN – TV millions of dollars! Especially from the governing PPP. So many ads! The whole Babu Jaan programme etc. Congrats NCN!
*4) I also hate ISIS for erasing history. Those marauders are destroying centuries-old historical monuments!
*5) Watching World Cup Cricket from dirty Georgetown, I see New Zealand’s pristine cleanliness and beauty. (New Zealand’s Airport Immigration once made a Jamaican footballer clean his boots before entry!)
‘Til next week!