I welcome the call by Mr Rickford Burke for ‘The youth population … [to] form a new political movement’ (SN, Jan 10) to break the stranglehold of our politics by the two dominant parties. This is a courageous call and the writer must be applauded for it.
Guyana stands at a momentous crossroads in its politics and governance; our past political glory in the struggle that brought us liberation from the British came to an end with political independence. We have been saddled with bad governance and the most selfish leaders. Every party and every government has failed us. So why not give the youths a chance?
Mr Burke stands to be ostracized by his colleagues in the government he supports for calling for such a radical change that will sweep aside his friends from office. He has gone out on a limb to take on politically connected corruption, wholesale theft, secretive deals, shadow corporations and the massive rent-seeking network that has permeated every corner of the government not just over the last 30 months but preceding that period as well. Such an appeal for a multi-ethnic youth party is most welcome to help institutionalize democratic and honest politics in Guyana.
Such a youth party is needed now more than ever. The dark period of authoritarianism, grand larceny and covert institutional looting of the public coffers (by the older generation) must come to an end; at the pace of looting, not much will remain for the youths. Thus, it is in their interest to seek to take control of the institutions of the state. People will flock to such a group.
Like, Mr Burke, I am putting my bets on youthful leaders since the experienced (older) ones have failed us by only thinking of themselves. Youth political activism and leadership may be the missing cure for what ails our politics. The two dominant political groups are not serious about changing the political system. They want to retain the status quo. And the AFC is content with enjoying the perks of office; they have abandoned their mission of being the key to open the door of bad politics.
The PNC is not interested in constitutional change to empower the population. The PNC led government has been fumbling and does not seem to have the ability to manage the affairs of the nation in an open transparent manner. Every aspect of its governance is secretive and it has been bold enough to tell the public to trust it even when everything is kept in the dark.
And the PPP, since its implosion in 2011 during the nomination process for a presidential candidate, is torn asunder by bitter factional squabbling.
While a murky future awaits any new party in Guyana, people have had enough of political failures and the same failed politicians who are only interested in themselves and in making empty promises. The youths will make a difference to the politics; they have not been cultured in corruption and race hate.
A youth party´s entry into politics is a test of fire (being burned by race). As Mr Burke stated, voters will have to move away from race. A new youth party will simply have to be nimble on the radioactive subject of race. It must appeal to voters on issues and reject the PNC-PPP Indian-African matrix that has crippled our nation. And the youth movement must be the antithesis of corruption and bad governance.
Our political parties and their leadership have seen a gradual decline in the degree of respect the people once showed them. The country has been depleted of good leaders perhaps because of migration. We now pray for a political renaissance in Guyana. Who to the rescue to lead the renewal, other than youths?