SPEAKING at a youth rally organised by Youths for David Granger (YDG) Friday evening, former A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Member of Parliament (MP), James Bond, urged parents to “kick out” their children from their houses should they refuse to vote. The youth rally, which was being held at John and Hadfield Streets at the popular ‘Fish Shop’, attracted a thousands of persons, particularly youths who were eager to hear from the youth representatives of the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) coalition.
Following a series of redundant expressions by the youth representatives, Bond made his appearance, underscoring the importance of youths in the electoral process of Guyana.
Discharging statistical data from the compilation of a census, the young attorney-at-law emphasized the magnitude of influence young voters were capable of achieving should they exercise their franchise and vote at the May 11 polls.
But as Bond continued in his speech, in the midst of underscoring the need to vote, he urged supporters,
“You mothers and fathers, anytime your child tells you they not voting, kick dem out; put dem out de blasted house.”
Playing to the gallery, the young attorney said, “Don’t put dem out on the landing or the step or the gate; kick dem right out de house.
“You have got to vote, young people. You come and lime at the Fish Shop’ every Friday, and you don’t have an ID card! Shame on you! You go and lime at Gravity and 704 and you don’t have an ID card! Shame on you! You working for 40 and 50,000 dollars and you don’t have ID card! Shame on you!”
But according to Article 59 of the Constitution of Guyana, while it is one’s democratic right to vote should they qualify, it is not compulsory for one to vote if they don’t want to. This means that the democratic right is also extended to non-voters, since there is no penalty for not voting.
Article 59 of the Constitution reads:
“Subject to the provisions of article 159, every person may vote at an election if he or she is of the age eighteen years or upwards and is either a citizen of Guyana or a Commonwealth citizen domiciled and resident in Guyana.”
Bond’s ‘kick ‘em out’ call was echoed by the main speaker of the night, Christopher Jones, also a former APNU MP., Jones, earlier this year, had also emphasized the importance of youth voting, saying: “I think the single most important thing in the life of a young person is the ability to cast a vote.”
Attendant issues as it relates to voting, he opined, include, inter alia, where one would be able to work, if one would be able to find a job, the type of job one would be engaged in based on their studies, how much they are paid, if they could afford a house lot, how secure that person and their family be, and the education their children would get. These, he added, were just some of the critical issues which depend on the younger generation voting.