General and Regional Elections are imminent and I have noted the re-emergence of the various Youth organizations that claim to represent young people in Guyana. The premise of organizations dedicated to educating youth to the importance of civic duty of participating in the electoral process as an elector or candidate is commendable.
I myself undertook to guide and assist young people to get involved in political life and would like to share my experiences, which have been instructive.
Our organization, Youth Movement Guyana, was born from the idea that young people need to make political decisions based on logic. My role as administrator was to moderate discussions and coach logic versus emotion.
In 2015 for example, the national dialogue was rife with allegations of massive corruption; however, the allegations rarely withstood scrutiny. At one session, we tabulated one newspaper’s claim of $500 Billion in annual corruption, this from a Budget of $112 Billion.
Once we started digging into the issue and exposing the depth of the propaganda, I was accused of being a front organization by then popular writer, Ruel Johnson. I should not have been surprised, but I was.
This allegation led to polarization within our informal grouping and we decided not to make an attempt to contest elections. The small core left endorsed the PPPC before the 2015 based on the sound reasoning that the corruption claims were a smear campaign and that the lack of realistic manifesto of the APNU+AFC showed lack of vision and would lead to poor policy and governance.
Editor, it is a sad feature of our G&R Elections that so much effort is spent by the youth organizations to separate young people from the decision making process and divert their vote to the APNU+AFC, for that is the purpose of these seasonal organizations.
‘Vote like a Boss’ was a catchy slogan, ostensibly aimed at getting out the vote but not so subtly directed at voting against the PPPC. This is a con designed by old people to keep young voices out of the decision making process.
A simple examination of APNU+AFC roll call of Members of Parliament is all the evidence needed. These same forces are again funding and directing young people up that dead end street. Ruel Johnson and Sherod Duncan are once again leading the charge.
Having watched the Alliance For Change self-destruct, they are members of a new front organization, the Policy Desk, which seeks to use subterfuge and trickery to attract votes for APNU+AFC. The same promises made in 2015 are being regurgitated, with the hope of bags for Ruel and Sherod and nothing for the youth.
I offer these small bits of advice to young people wanting to have a say in the decision making process, I would not advise an attempt to form a party at this late stage, the logistics of organization and the monetary requirements are simply beyond reality. Any youth organization that promises to raise the hefty sums required should be treated with suspicion.
I urge you to ‘interview’ the established political parties, meet with activists in your area, question them deeply, see which group appeals to your sensibilities, observe them closely, spend a period volunteering, pledge no allegiance until such time as you feel comfortable with a group and their modus operandi.
Politics should not be a career. It is ideally a period in your life where you give service to your nation. Early political involvement by way of volunteerism should not hinder your chosen career path. It should enhance it.
In life there are no shortcuts to success, so it is in politics. Do not fall for the sweet words of the conmen. Don’t vote like a boss, volunteer with an organization, work your way to whatever level you desire; enjoy the experience, learn from it and live in the moment.
One day you may indeed be the Boss with the satisfaction of knowing you earned that success through hard work and dedication.
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