Young people are driving this campaign
By STABROEK STAFF | Thursday, November 24, 2011
Over the past year, Guyanese have had a spirited debate about the future of our country, and I want to thank you and the publisher of your newspaper for making this possible. What has happened over the last few months cannot be denied, covered up, or erased by spin doctors, propagandists, letter writers or lack of editorial space. The young people of this country have risen up. They are driving the political campaign of the main opposition APNU, and it is a beautiful sight.
A few months ago, I remember complaining about the apathy among the youth, and the silence at UG‘s Turkeyen Campus. Well, I have been proven wrong, for the young people at UG are now anything but dormant, and have spoken! Youth now constitute the most vocal and active component on the campaign trail.
I have witnessed the lethargy and strain of incumbency as the PPP/C struggles to run on their 19-year record of rampant corruption, nepotism and atrocious governance. Like many, I have observed with interest the movements of the disenchanted and politically discontented. I have struggled to understand why some among us still cling stubbornly to the belief that Guyana’s political future lies in the old winner-takes-all, one-party rule, that has left us a poor and broken people. I have pondered the negative effects of racial cleavage and the scars that it has left on this land. I have watched with amazed pride as former enemies and several diverse groups came together for common cause, and I have marvelled at the rise of a partnership that has now become a national movement.
Whatever happens next week, it is clear that the pendulum of history has swung and altered the course of Guyana’s history. APNU has shown that when politicians, groups and parties put aside selfish political goals and band together for the betterment of the nation, good things can happen.
From their manifesto we see the policies and programmes that they will implement. We see an emphasis on strong and inclusive governance, with all stakeholders having a seat at the table in a government of national unity. We see a commitment to invest heavily in human development, economic empowerment and job creation. We see the return of an Ombudsman, a new and more transparent procurement system and senior public servants and ministers having to declare their assets. We see the implementation of the Chang and Symonds reports recommendations that will strengthen the police force, a complete overhaul of the tax system, and establishment of a constitutional reform commission that will remove the dictatorial presidential powers of the 1980 constitution, replacing it with a more democratic document that has safeguards for minorities and enforces the rule of law.
I am confident that the young people and the women of this nation will ensure that we will never return to the dark days of one-party rule, the maximum leader, and elections that are just a racial census. I have visited their Facebook pages, I have received their Tweets, and Blackberry messages. This generation that sends and receives their information in megabytes has finally come of age. Whoever wins these elections will have to deal with them. The APNU Campaign Movers, the Guyana Action Committee, Granger Action Groups, and the many other groups that have been formed to agitate for change in our native land, will not be silenced. In the words of American singer and song writer Tracy Chapman, “Poor people are gonna rise up and get their share. Poor people are gonna rise up and take what’s theirs … finally the tables are starting to turn…..”