“We have and we must ensure that we take the local government from the ruling PPPC (Peoples Progressive Party Civic).
And you know who played a critical role in the local government elections in Trinidad?- It was young people like yourselves who aided in those campaigns,” said parliamentarian for A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), Annette Ferguson.
With eight of the 14 corporations under the PNM’s belt, that party has since called on the governing coalition Congress of the People (COP) to call early general election.
Ferguson and the other speakers are members of the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR) whose youth arm- Guyana Youth and Student Movement (GYSM)- launched its local government election campaign at a rally held at Golden Grove, East Coast Demerara.
Stirring appeals were made by Ferguson and her colleague APNU parliamentarians- James Bond, Vanessa Kissoon, Christopher Jones and Opposition Leader David Granger- for youths to be registered, get involved in politics, vote and are educated about the new local government system for the six municipalities and 65 other councils for villages.
The speakers urged the predominantly young attendees at the rally to vie for local government offices in their areas, an approach Granger described as an “apprenticeship” to eventually lead the country. “You all must be prepared to use the local government elections as a training school, as an apprenticeship to taking power in this country,” said Granger.
He advised supporters not to become complacent in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) because it is an area where the PPPC has captured the most votes. “Do not take it for granted because this is a very peculiar region you’re living in- Region Four. PPP got the most votes here in Region, not in Region Six, not in Region Three and you got to reverse that trend,” he said. He reasoned that the local government polls would not be an ethnic competition but “a race for quality of life.”
The PNCR stressed that the local government election would be key to improving drainage, waste disposal, the condition of roads, improved schools and the award of contracts in communities. “This new system puts power in the hands of the people,” said Bond.
Bond charged those gathered to engineer change by the ballot, an approach he advised would be successful only if they ceased relaxing, in-fighting and being distracted by entertainment. “This is serious times! We are not going to win an election with young people slacking up and becoming slackers,” he said. He warned that if youths do not become involved politically, the PNCR is “going to be nothing because the big people they are going to go sooner or later.”
Kissoon advised youths to be healthy, educated, mobilized and understand their rights. “When you know your rights and you understand your rights, you are able for our rights,” she said. She urged the gathering to do whatever is necessary to force government to call local government elections.
The PNCR Leader announced that APNU would be launching its local government electioncampaign next month.