There is increasing suspicion over the Guyana National Youth Council’s (GNYC) agreement with the Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom), gauging from the defenders of this controversial initiative. Most of those who have so far offered public commentary in defence of this initiative belong to organisations with a history of lacking democratic credentials and practices of fairness and objectivity. In the Stabroek News of March 6, captioned ‘We should support a massive youth turnout at the May 11 polls,’ PNC/APNU member Ms Lurlene Nestor stands out as one of those belonging to the type of organsiation I described, joining her colleague James Bond. For many their positions have given rise to greater concerns about this controversial initiative.
It is unfortunate that Ms Nestor seems to have absolutely no regard for credibility, as her contribution to the letter column avoided addressing the growing concerns among young people about the lack of transparency of this GNYC-Gecom initiative. There is also their disregard for the inclusion of other youth organisations to develop an initiative that meets the approval of the widest cross-section of the youth population. It is not just about having an initiative; what matters equally is that any such initiative must be credible and can be trusted as being objective and for the benefit of all the youths of voting age in Guyana. Why do Ms Nestor and Mr Bond seem to believe that an initiative (such as the one from GNYC) which is designed to promote a change of government, and ignores the alternative of youth supporting continued progress, is credible and ought to receive the support of the youth population and society as a whole?
From the inception of its formation, the GNYC has not impressed anyone as an organisation that is truly representative of youth in Guyana, and given its history and members’ allegiance to the political opposition parties, it cannot be trusted with pulling off a credible initiative that meets above-board standards. The Gecom has its own integrity to protect and should avoid being dragged into situations where it is supporting any such organization under the wrong pretext of being a representative organization of all the youths of Guyana.
On learning about this initiative I consulted with several youth organisations’ representatives, more than a dozen pf whom claimed no knowledge or involvement with the so-called GNYC. Young people should be consulted and included in the designs of initiatives of which they are the intended beneficiaries. A handful of people cannot make a commitment relating to the future of the majority. The attempt by Ms Nestor to foist her own interpretation on Guyanese of the People’s Progressive Party’s objection to this controversial initiative, describing it as an attack on youth, is ludicrous to say the least.
Only recently, the show of thousands of young people under the banner of the Progressive Youth Organization, youth arm of the PPP in the Mash parade, was again a striking reminder of the PPP’s commitment to young people. In almost every aspect of our political work and governance of this country the youth factor is always considered; it is prominent and recognisable.