By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Three of Guyana’s largest groups – Come Alive Network Inc (CANI), Blue Caps and Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), have signalled their support for the ‘Vote Like Ah Boss’ campaign that is scheduled to be launched by the Guyana National Youth Council (GNYC) in the coming weeks.
The GNYC has already signalled its intention to move ahead with the project despite stern rejection from the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) which has accused the group of being partisan and labelled it “a creature of external interference.”
Co-Chair of SASOD, Joel Simpson told iNews that the rights group is completely supporting the initiative by the GNYC.
“All youth organisations should be involved in encouraging young people to engage in the upcoming elections. The right to vote is a very important right and young people should exercise that right,” Simpson told iNews.
He also proffered that any initiative which seeks to “enhance promote or encourage youth participation” in democratic processes, should be lauded and given the support of the society within which it exists.
“It is unfortunate that the government seems threatened by a civic organisation being involved in voter education and its disappointing since one would think that the government of the day would want everybody to exercise their democratic right,” Simpson said.
Simpson also noted that the government is doing itself a “disservice” by rejecting the programme given what it aims to achieve.
“They are doing themselves a disservice to their own cause as champions of democracy trying to deny and limit the participation of a legitimate youth organisation in the upcoming election through voter education.”
Meanwhile, CANI Executive Director and Founder, Ryan Hoppie told iNews that his group stands firm behind the GNYC and the ‘Vote Like Ah Boss’ initiative.
Hoppie contended that the voter education campaign is something that is needed throughout Guyana and could develop as a model for the Caribbean region.
“We have a lot of first time voters, people are excited to come out there and vote…it is as a result of the work that Come Alive Network, GNYC, Blue Caps and all these other organisations have been doing…I support them 100%,” he said.
Hoppie says he could not fathom a possible reason for the rejection of the programme by the government.
Also weighing on the issue was newly appointed Chairman of Blue Caps, Michael Leonard, who also expressed support to the GNYC voting campaign.
“As far as we are aware they are a non partisan group trying to get young people to vote. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that…we don’t believe that anyone should interfere with their activities….no one should interfere in their work,” said Leonard.