“Don’t disenfranchise the youth” – Kwatamang Senior Councillor

– bloated electoral list is a recipe for chaos – Min. Bulkan

– Ministerial Outreach to Rupununi Region continues

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, February 16, 2019

A passionate plea was made to national leaders not to take any action which will result in the disenfranchisement of young people whenever the next General and Regional Elections are held. The call came from two-time Senior Councillor of Kwatamang Village, Lakeram Haynes.

During a community meeting in the North Rupununi village with Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, Haynes related that he is concerned with national political events and the calls from the opposition for elections in a short period of time.

“I would be disappointed and not happy that if there should be an election in the near future and our young people who are eligible to vote are not involved,” Senior Councillor Haynes said.

“I don’t think that is the right thing to do to them, that is denying them and whoever is making decisions should consider this – that our young people are there and they should have full rights to make a decision for themselves,” Haynes noted.

He raised the issue given the political situation in the country which he said is of concern to the residents of Kwatamang and the wider North Rupununi.

Haynes made the plea during a four-hour community meeting at the pavilion of the village sports complex.

Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan echoed the concern, stating that young people, particularly first-time voters, must not be denied their constitutional right to vote.

“Nothing should be rushed, to allow for the disenfranchisement of an individual and this is why we have been calling on GECOM and we have even been demonstrating that to guarantee the integrity of this process what we need is a new house-to-house registration exercise to produce a list that is clean and sanitized,” Minister Bulkan said.

“The current list is too bloated. It contains approximately 600,000 names and if we add the new registrants it will take that list to close to 640,000 people when our population is only about 750,000. It’s a recipe for chaos,” Minister Bulkan warned.

Haynes is one of five senior councillors who are within the Annai sub-district. One of the main economic activities in the 110-household village is the production of durable clay bricks which is a popular and cost-effective building material in the Rupununi. Haynes invited Minister Bulkan to tour the brick-making location after the meeting. Kwatamang is noted throughout the Rupununi for its superior clay bricks which are hand made by Indigenous artisans in wooden moulds.

Minister Bulkan and 18 of his ministerial colleagues have embarked on a historic region-wide outreach covering 28 villages. It is the first time these many ministers have visited the region at the same time.

Minister Bulkan visited the two neighbouring villages as part of the massive government outreach in Region 9 at the weekend. He presented water pumps outfitted with hoses, farming tools, brushcutters, footwear, sport gear (including footballs, volleyballs and cricket bats), radios and solar torchlights to the communities.

Images: Karime Peters