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Complacency politics deprives society the oxygen necessary to elevate political involvement and holistic development, including the need to vote, and holding leaders accountable whether you voted for them or not. The situation in Guyana may look more difficult given the tendency of rigid ethnic voting patterns. At the same time, it should not escape the attention of people to Guyana’s evolving dynamics. There are emerging groups whose hearts and minds, particularly young voters, are open to ideas.
The young demographic makes up at least 60 percent of the population. Outside of women, they are the next biggest voting bloc. A way must be found to reach them in an all-embracing national politics that is visionary and inclusive as against spiteful and self-serving. Young voters are more in tune with global politics. They look to other societies and evaluate what is happening. They know what they want and don’t want.
They have an opinion on almost everything under the sun. They desire better for themselves in Guyana as is happening for their generation in other societies. A plus for Guyana is that the young are not necessarily wedded to the divisive past. There are more inclined to interracial relationship and creating friendship based on common interest. There is no pretense that they may not be influenced by others to want to preserve racist tendencies, but many minds are opened to value-based benefits and interactions.
In Guyana there are competing political ideas. Some ideas, dare it be said, would do more harm than good to society. There exists an opportunity to support the young, treat them with respect, and value their contributions. The environment is theirs to inherit and a society to help develop because the future belongs to them.
It is a world facing the debilitating effects of Climate Change. With Guyana being a new oil and gas economy there are issues that could portend good or bad for the future depending on how the industry is managed. In human relations the society is still reeling from slavery and the colonial past of race and class stratifications. These have been used to create and sustain political structures of divide and rule.
It is for the young therefore to help shape the ideas on sustainable development and improving human relations. There is a choice to be made treating others as lesser than based on ethnicity, ability, gender, sexual orientation, where they live, etc. Or, seeking common ground based on universal acceptance that everyone must be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of physical characteristics, and that in the eyes of the law all are equal.
It is for the young to shape a positive future and as against the wayward politics of greed, lawlessness, victimisation and hate. Their development stands a better chance to be brighter than their parents accepting the content of a person’s character is better than the colour of skin, texture of hair, sexual orientation, gender, etc. Their development stands a better chance of being engaged in the political process, learning right from wrong, and fearlessly demanding a better society.
The hearts and minds of the young are open. They need political leadership that would set positive examples, put forward positive competing ideas and show them a better way. Guyana cannot develop in the present circumstances because development would not be holistic. Lopsided development threatens the safety and livelihood of all. It is therefore up to politicians to work with young voters and support their aspirations to make life better for themselves, their parents, and the families they will create.