We should support a massive youth turnout at the May 11 polls

Dear Editor,

I write to express my support for the ‘Vote Like A Boss’ campaign. I believe that this kind of initiative is needed to help propel young people to the upcoming polls and encourage them to be meaningfully involved in local politics. As one who has been, and continues to be, actively involved in campaigns aimed at engaging youths in the local political process, I know the real value and importance of campaigns of this nature.

I am, therefore, confused and shocked to learn of the PPP/C’s apparent non-support for such initiatives. On the one hand we blame youths for not going to the polls and on the other we seem to care less about supporting sensible initiatives to help these very young people make informed political decisions and become meaningfully engaged in the electoral process.

The PNCR, as a political party, has over the years taken a number of steps to engage young people and encourage their participation in the voting process. Of course many of these initiatives were branded partisan because they were being promoted and funded by the PNCR. However, one cannot deny the fact that the approaches undertaken by many of these initiatives, hinged mostly on core values and principles of democracy and good citizenship rather than on a purely biased political objective.

I can speak definitively on matters such as these as I was intimately involved in, and led many of these initiatives, which were grass roots in nature. I, therefore, applaud Gecom’s efforts to engage Guyana’s youth and to provide support to help these young people to become more involved in the local political process. Guyana’s future depends on the involvement of all people, especially its youth. It is therefore incumbent upon all of us to take meaningful action to ensure that young people turn out to vote in the May 11 elections and also to ensure that these youths remain engaged in the political process. Their involvement matters.

The PPP/C should be ashamed for attacking any organization which is trying to increase voter participation among young people. The leadership and members of the Guyana National Youth Council should be commended for taking this initiative and making their stake in the upcoming elections known. The PPP’s General Secretary, Clement Rohee, should be ashamed of his retarded approach to this important matter and also for attacking the credibility and name of the GNYC. The PPP’s posture of questioning the intention of the organization is consistent with its treatment of Guyanese youth over the last two decades. According to Mr Rohee and the PPP the GNYC is a “self-anointed” authority which claims to represent Guyana’s youth. Mr Rohee also described the organization as “a creature of external interference, through the LEAP project.” It is sad to see a government describe its youth in such degrading terms. If this is the way the PPP views Guyana’s youth why then should they expect these young people to vote for them?

Let me close by urging all of us to counsel our young people on the importance of voting in this election, and every election to come. Guyana’s success and future depends on how informed and prepared its young people are to take up leadership roles in the nation. Participating in national and regional elections is a demonstration of good citizenship, and being a good citizen is an essential requirement for national leadership or public office.

Let’s help our young people get there. Let us support and encourage a massive youth turnout in the up-coming May 11 national and regional elections.

Yours faithfully,

Lurlene Nestor

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