During the last Congress of the PNCR, there were some candidates, offering themselves up for leadership posts, and who were campaigning on the grounds that they were young. But when you look at them closely, you were forced to ask just how young is young?
Do not tell me that a person who is over 30 years of age is young. That is not young. In my book, once you are over 30 years of age, you cannot consider yourself as young.
A great many persons nearing forty and even over forty years are calling themselves young. They are not young; they are matured adults.
When the political parties therefore speak about having a number of young candidates for this year’s local government elections, they need to qualify this by identifying those who are really young and those who are matured adults but believe that they are young.
The political parties are going to put up a great many so-called young people on their slates for the November 12, 2018 local government elections. They will also place a token number of them on the slates for general and regional elections. But when the time comes for making Cabinet appointments, these so-called young persons will be ignored.
How many persons under 30 years of age are there in Cabinet? The answer is none. There is no person under 30 years of age in the Cabinet. And young people are said to be more than half of the population of the country.
And do not tell me that persons under 30 do not have the experience to become Ministers. The PPP appointed Bharrat Jagdeo, Robert Persaud and Irfann Ali as Ministers before any of them reached 30. And Forbes Burnham and Cheddi Jagan were both front benchers in the Legislative Assembly before they reached the age of 30 years.
The difference between Burnham and Jagan and the young politicians of today is that before the age of 30, both Burnham and Jagan could enumerate their political accomplishments. The same cannot be said of many of those who are running for public office today.
The problem we have is that many persons are running for office in politics and sports in order to make a name for themselves. It should be the other way around. Persons should only run for public office if they have a track record of achievements.
Public office is not a place for persons to feather their ambitions because when they get power, they end up feathering more than their ambitions.
If you have not achieved anything in life, if you have not climbed the corporate ladder or demonstrated the acumen for achievement, then why should you be allowed to hold leadership positions? Why should people vote for persons who have achieved little or nothing? What is it that they are voting for: potential?
You cannot carry potential to the market. So do not tell me to vote for any young candidate unless you can identify for me what that person has achieved in life. Do you really believe that in colonial Guyana any under achiever could run for the office Mayor during colonial times? That would have been unthinkable.
There are underachievers in life who believe that politics is a doorway for them to become important and rich. But if they could not achieve anything outside of politics, why should anyone expect them to do so in politics? In other words, what is that they are bringing to the political table?
There are charlatans who use sporting associations to achieve public fame, but prior to this, they were failures. Some persons want to seize control of sporting organizations, but they have no money or influence to bring to it. Some sporting clubs have never produced audited statements and yet some of their officials want to take control of sporting associations.
All this talk therefore about giving young people a change at local government is balderdash. Let the young people prove themselves outside of politics and then let them gain the confidence of the public. But do not ask the public to vote for someone who has never held a position of responsibility or who has no significant accomplishments to their name.
Show me those persons who have a track record of success and they will get my vote. Show me those seeking to make a name for themselves and they will never get my vote. Politics is not for pretenders or opportunists.
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