With the momentum of Guyana’s regional and general elections picking up, several persons have been weighing in on their expectations for this season. Many young persons have related their varying expectations across their social media platforms. The Guyana Chronicle interviewed several students of The University of Guyana (UG) to gather their views on what is being called “the Mother of Elections”. The students expressed their views of the electoral process so far, as well as their expectations post-election March 2020.
International relations student, Luanna Moore, gave her opinion on the current status of the electoral process, calling on the varying political parties to have a change in their modus operandi. “Don’t be on your campaign trails telling people what the other parties haven’t done, tell them what you will do, what you can do and what you will try your best to do, that’s what we want to hear, that’s what the people want to know about, that’s what you should use to get the people to vote for your party, not vote for me cause this one didn’t do this, or that one didn’t do that,” Moore said.
Further she stated that for post-Election 2020, she would like to see the involvement of youths at a higher level. She explained that although many of the representatives of the varying political parties are boasting programmes and initiatives that would ‘benefit’ youth, she feels that there is a divide when older persons are placed in charge of those initiatives and programmes, as they, the older persons, would be somewhat detached to the plight of the younger persons, due to difference in experience.
“The older persons are so indifferent to the issues that young people face that sometimes when you ask them [a] question on policies and so on, that they would use to alleviate these issues, they do not even have answers to it, and this is just because they cannot relate to these issues, because of the change in time from when they would have been a young adult,” Moore explained.
Further Moore stated that she is looking forward to all of the political parties maintaining a level of order and respect as they campaign further into the election season. “I cannot trust a politician to have respect for me, if they can’t have respect for the person running for the same office as them. If they’re out here name calling and dragging each other through the dirt, I wouldn’t trust them to be my leader,” she said. Moore further pointed out that these offices are supposed to be the highest offices in the country and that the persons who are vying for them should possess a certain level of respectability.
Another student, Donovan Cupid, said that he observed that the citizens of the country are somewhat blurring the line that govern an individual’s right to express their political views. He explained that his understanding is that anyone can have trust in the policies of whatever political party they choose and that, that must not divide the country. He stated that he has noticed that persons have not been respectful of their fellow citizens’ rights to freedom of choice. “Solidarity and unity, that’s what we should all be striving for,” he said, and added that this is pivotal to any country’s development, stating that after the election, regardless of what party wins, the country still has to press on and that that can only be achieved through unity.
Cupid further stated that he believes that the systems are in place to facilitate a free and fair elections saying, “As I see now, I would like to believe that GECOM is very prepared and the electoral bodies, as well as the electoral observers, are in full force in Guyana, such as the Carter Centre as well as the Ethnic Relations Commission are standing to make sure that this election is free and fair, as well as the ABC countries, which consist of America, Britain and Canada.”
The Guyana Chronicle interviewed a third student, Courtlee Rodrigues, who said that he was expecting to see three things from this election season, those being free and fair elections, change of approach in how the parties are operating, the inclusion of youths, mental and physically disabled persons and minority groups.
“I expect free and fair elections. I expect a certain degree of respect that we haven’t seen over the years because the political climate, in my opinion, it has been changing constantly and there are more youths involved now, I would like to believe, than there was in the history of Guyanese politics. I would like to see the youths involved. I expect to see the youths more involved and I expect for a platform to be given to youths, and people living with disabilities as well. Third thing I expect coming out from this election would be an air of mutual agreement to inform the process and not the old-politics approach,” Rodrigues explained.
Rodrigues further stated that he had noticed several of the parties employing what he called ‘colonial method’ politics to divide and rule the people of the country so as to serve their own agenda.
“It’s the same method that was used in the colonial era to say that this person is that, don’t side with them, it’s been quite some time and we haven’t been able to work it out. And we also see high levels of racial levels and it can be said that this is being perpetuated from the very top of our society and it’s very sad.”
Rodrigues further made the comparison of the country pre 2015 elections and current day stating that since that time, persons have moved away from being completely dependent on government intervention for their livelihood and that they have moved toward becoming their own entrepreneur, and toward educating themselves toward better opportunities. He contends that whatever the outcome of the March 2020 elections, in his estimation the citizens of the country would still have to avail themselves to varying opportunities that would enable them to benefit from the wealth that Guyana has to offer.