Many Guyanese are currently agonising over which vote to cast in the upcoming National and Regional Elections scheduled for Monday, March 2, 2020. Today, we live in a world where political competition is becoming fiercer, and everyone is being well-opinionated, expressive and firm in their choices.
Nevertheless, despite our political differences and views, we must take into consideration morals, attitudes, respect and manners that we, as citizens, must regard and practice throughout this serious electoral process.
Free and fair elections and functioning electoral systems are the quintessence of democracy. Democracy is important because traditionally liberal, constitutional democratic governments tend to perform well. People living in these societies, tend to have higher standards of living, greater educational opportunities, longer life expectancy, greater access to culture and diversity, better reported happiness and life fulfilment, more freedom including freedom of expression, and more wealth than people living within undemocratic regimes.
When Guyanese vote, the Government and the lives of people can either become better or worse. If the wrong choices are made, racist, sexist, discriminatory or unjust mindsets can be attenuated, and the future of our lives and the next generation will be at stake. Economic opportunities can vanish or fail to materialise. Millions or even trillions of dollars will be spent on ill-conceived plans and entitlement programmes that do little to stimulate economies or alleviate poverty. We fail to spend money on national development programmes that would contribute more to the society’s welfare. We inflict and perpetuate injustice and poverty. To avoid this, every eligible Guyanese should practice their civic right to vote.
Do not let the call for the reduction of Polling Stations hinder your right to vote. Stand strong to cast your ballot and do not allow yourself to be disadvantaged. Under the People’s Representation Act (amended), voting is legally and morally important. It changes the quality, scope, and kind of Government. Electoral outcomes can be harmful or beneficial, just or unjust depending on which party or coalition obtains the majority of votes.
Although many countries have included code of conduct practices and outlawed discrimination in procedural systems, practices of political discrimination are still prevalent. Several countries that still struggle with the development of their nation tend to face minority/Indigenous rights issues and security threats, which may exercise political discrimination against sections of the population.
The increasing indifference and antipathy towards politics, combined with the emergence of populism, undermines a democratic outcome in countries such as Guyana. We abandon, hurt, exploit, oppress and discriminate our fellow Guyanese. Many of us are greedy to gain power and status, and in so doing, people are often ill-treated and victimised. Crime has increased in our country, and it is quite shameful and absolutely appalling that our motto – One people, one nation, one destiny – is not followed nor practised. Instead, racial segregation has been the outcome and injustice has been a consequence. We allow our political differences and opinions to separate us and as a result, conflict is widespread in our country. As the famous nationalist, Mahatma Gandhi rightfully said, “Many people gather around power and very few around country”. This is evident in Guyana, as certain people yearn for power and control for themselves rather than for the country’s further development, enhancement and progress.
As Guyanese citizens, it is our obligatory duty to abide by the Constitution and exert respect amongst others. It should be agreed and established that, regardless of race, religion, gender, status or political preference, we must respect and accept the opinions of our fellow country’s man. Despite the seriousness of this time, we must practice safety and be extremely cautious and aware of our surroundings.
We should all desist from throwing rude remarks, bullying or fighting. In the Polling Stations on Elections Day, it is important not to intimidate or disrespect anyone. Do not be fearful in Polling Stations. Be mannerly, polite and accepting to others. Also, remember, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but, in expressing this opinion, we should be careful not to offend others. Do not vote based on race. Fellow Guyanese, ensure to vote for a political party that will most certainly work with democracy to further develop and enrich our country, a party that promises absolute transparency and truth.
We will come across adversity in every sphere of our lives, and there is no doubt of coming face to face with a person who has nothing but malice, hatred and cruelty in their hearts. When we are united, our country will experience major progress. United we stand, divided we fall. The one thing that can truly bind us together forever is love, love of country, love of dreams, love of hope and love of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is only through the strength of unity, acceptance and spread of kindness, our nation can be a much better, safer, just and enhanced place. Remember to always be kind, accepting, just and faithful. Let us not be overcome by evil but let evil be overcome by good. May justice prevail in this land of ours.