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Sunday, May 21, 2006
Young people on politics

Despite the present argument about whether or not general elections will be held by the constitutionally due date, it won't be long before the campaign trail really starts to heat up.

In an effort to secure votes, politicians will use every opportunity to sell the dream of a better Guyana to the electorate. A main target in the marketing effort will be our young people, some of who would be voting for the first time. It is expected that issues such as access to education and proper jobs will be in the forefront of advertisements, rallies and debates.

But will all this expected campaigning attract the attention of our young people, or will they view it as senseless blabber? Recently this newspaper invited some youngsters to share their views on the topic.

A major source of concern for the young people was the upsurge in violent crimes, to which there seemed to be no end, they pointed out.

"If our leaders do not grab this thing [crime] by the horns, then there will be further disaster down the road. One of the reasons why people select politicians is to be guaranteed that they will do all that they can to guarantee some amount of safety - I don't see that happening," said 23-year-old Anesso Nedd, who earns a living as a hairdresser.

Overall, the interviewees found difficulty believing that the political parties are capable of successfully implementing some of the plans they talk about.

"I believe they [politicians] have the right concept, but at the same time they are not ensuring that they bear fruit." This was the opinion expressed by Candacia Nurse, an 18-year-old student from the University of Guyana.

Most of the youths agreed that a lack of co-operation among the politicians was severely hampering development in the country.

Twenty-one-year-old Ravi Lakhicharran said: "In order for politicians to be viewed in a positive light, they have to make a collective effort to steer this country forward. It is not productive for one set to be saying one thing and then another set to be saying something else - it is essential that they have a common goal in sight." Lakhicharran added that because the parties fail to share their knowledge and experience with each other, it seems as though the country is getting nowhere.

Then there were those who said that they have just thrown their arms up because keeping abreast with the activities of politicians was a worthless activity. "Personally I don't show as much interest in politics or politicians as a person my age should. In my opinion politics in Guyana is a lost cause since everything seems to be race oriented - that shouldn't be," Denise West, a 19-year-old high school graduate said.

Whereas, 17-year-old Keron James, a private sector employee declared that he does not trust politicians. "In the run-up to elections, they often visit villages and make empty promises to residents and then when the time comes to deliver, they have nothing to show. I really don't pay any attention to what they have to say anymore."

"How can politicians have the audacity to say that there is growth and development in the country, when living and working conditions are not getting any better?" 16-year-old high school student Rudy Juman asked. Juman suggested that the fight against poverty should get equal attention as the fight against illegal drugs. "In many cases poverty can cause people to get into criminal activities like drug trafficking." He ended: "Politicians should stop burying their heads in the sand and also refrain from taking the people's heads with theirs." (Melissa Chapman)

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