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PPP lambastes GECOM, US over push to get youths to vote

Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) on Monday registered its strong objection to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) partnering with an organisation to motivate more youths to vote in the upcoming general and regional elections, saying that the role of an American-funded project smacked of interference.

“As far as the PPP is concerned, this youth grouping is a creature of external interference through the LEAD (Leadership and Democracy ) project and is nothing more than a group of partisan persons who are attempting to hijack the name- Guyana National Youth Council,” said PPP General Secretary, Clement Rohee.

He said the decision to engage the Guyana National Youth Council in getting more youths to vote was not made by the seven-member commission and that the Commission Chairman, Dr. Steve Surujbally and Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield should take steps to have that “imposition on the electorate of Guyana” addressed by the top decision-makers.

The PPP urged GECOM to only collaborate with legitimate and recognized bodies that are regarded as bipartisan.

Asked whether his party feared that the project was aimed at bringing out more youth voters in favour of the opposition, the PPP General Secretary said “that is what we would like to have clarity on because we don’t see how GECOM can enter into this kind of formalistic relation with a youth organisation led by the LEAD project.” He earlier said that he was not so sure that the objective was to bring out more youth voters. At the same time, he was not concerned that more youth votes can be to the disadvantage to the PPP.

Rohee said that while the LEAD project is between the US and Guyana, this country had no say in the promotion of the Guyana National Youth Council.

He refused to say whether he believed the US wants the PPP out of office.

The Guyana government had previously withdrawn the work permit and immigration status of the LEAD Project’s Chief of Party, Glen Bradbury after the US and Guyana had initially failed to resolve concerns about the project.