A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) has rejected the stance taken by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) against Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM)’s decision to work with the Guyana National Youth Council (GNYC) on an initiative to bring out young voters.
At the PPP weekly press conference last Monday, the party’s General Secretary, Clement Rohee, criticized the “self-anointed” GNYC and said that the body has no authority to represent Guyana’s youth.
Rohee told the media that as far as the PPP is concerned, GNYC is “a creature of external interference, through the (Leadership and Democracy) LEAD Project and is nothing more than a group of partisan persons.”
But the APNU+AFC coalition begs to differ. “The right to vote is a constitutional one and Mr. Rohee condemning an effort to encourage young people to exercise their franchise is disturbing and bizarre,” said APNU+AFC Campaign Co-Chairman Raphael Trotman.
He said that the GNYC and its financiers have every right to execute a campaign to sensitize young people, who, in many instances, are first time voters. Trotman pointed out that the campaign is designed to educate young voters of the need to vote and be part of the democratic process of selecting a government of their choice and said,
“Therefore Rohee’s call can only be interpreted as an attempt to silence the voice of young people.”
In a recently released press statement, APNU+AFC said that it is obvious that PPP is afraid of the voice of young people who have had enough of their mismanagement and corruption.
The statement added, “Young people have no confidence in another PPP government and Mr. Rohee and Freedom House are well aware of this and seem to be employing subversive means of intimidation in attempting to cow young voters from casting their ballot.”
APNU+AFC further noted that GECOM is a constitutional body that is insulated from political interference and bullying of the likes of Rohee and Freedom House, and it is free to make its own arrangements to fulfill its mandate.
APNU+AFC said that it joins GECOM and GNYC in encouraging the young people of Guyana to join with all eligible electors and vote on May 11 for the party of their choice, as the coalition is confident that the young people of Guyana will overwhelming choose change.
The political body said that it explicitly supports the efforts of the GNYC and all other organizations and agencies engaged in sensitizing young people about the need to vote and stands ready to offer whatever support may be required in this regard.
The LEAD project is an initiative of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). It is one that focuses specifically on the capacity of the country’s Parliament, young people, women and Local Government Elections.
It aims at enhancing the technical capacity and functionality of the legislature through the regular use of consultative practices and mechanisms for legislative drafting, analysis, review, and passage.
The project, however, has not been one that is favoured by the Guyana Government. It attracted accusations of interference and an almost sour split between local and foreign parties involved. This occurred when US forces were pushing for the holding of Local Government Elections.
When GNYC went to negotiate with GECOM, Glen Bradbury, Chief of Party (USAID/IRI) LEAD Project was a part of the contingent.
It is because of his involvement that the PPP is against the collaboration, the coalition said.
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