By Rabindra Rooplall
THE FARMING community of Essequibo Coast did not see the anticipated turn-out for the long-awaited Local Government Elections (LGE). Residents of Region Two slowly trickled into polling stations throughout the day.Of the total 28,646 electors living on the coast, many, even reluctant to speak, said they really didn’t care who won, as long as the elected officials created avenues for employment of the region’s residents and development for the region as a whole.
“Whoever go in, I just want them to do their job and make the place better. This thing shouldn’t matter is who win, it should matter is what they will do for the people; if they can’t do nothing, then put somebody else,” one voter in the Anna Regina community told this publication.
Spot checks at polling stations from Supenaam to Charity could not give a true sense of the voter turnout, since many either visited polling stations in random numbers or just decided to do so during the day. There was neither cluster nor lines at any of the polling stations on the Essequibo Coast.
Another notable factor was the lack of youth participation in the voting process, as only sparse numbers appeared interested.
“My mother send me out to vote because I am no getting jobs and we need more opportunities,” one young lady shyly related.
Market vendors related that they would be voting, but this would be at a time when there were limited patrons, as polling stations would be open until evening.
Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, visited the Essequibo Coast on Friday, and toured multiple polling stations to get a feedback on how the process was going.
Former IMC Chairman of Anna Regina, Mark McLean, said the turnout was low and persons did not really understand the benefits of the LGE and how it could affect them directly, even though Local Government officials made decisions every day that affected the wellbeing of residents and their communities.
“People need to understand the seriousness of the elections,” he declared.
PPP candidate and businessman Toolsie Narine said that Friday being a working day, most people had left the voting for after their working hours. “I believe it will pick up, although there was not such a high interest,” he opined.