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By Ralph SeeramWith elections in Guyana around the corner, the subject of overseas Guyanese voting in local elections was suggested to me by someone who feels that the subject should be revisited once again.This is a subject that will not sit well with quite a lot of people. In fact it is a very controversial subject and in all probability will, as we Guyanese say,China Jerseys NFL Wholesale, “raise ants nest”Roughly four years ago prior to the last elections the subject was raised by former PPP stalwart and former Speaker of Parliament, Ralph Ramkarran. Mr. Ramkarran at the time was of the view that the Constitution does not specifically prevent Guyanese overseas from voting, meaning that Guyanese in the Diaspora can vote in local elections.Another component of the argument then was that the National Registration Act which limits voter registration to only local residents conflicts with the constitution and therefore was unconstitutional.As I recall Mr. Ramkarran at the time was not advocating for overseas Guyanese to vote in local elections, but was merely pointing out that the Constitution does not prevent that possibility.Mr. Ramkarran needs no introduction to the Guyanese society,Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping, and if there is anyone who should know about constitutional matters it is him. However not being lawyer I would leave the legal aspect of the debate to the legal scholars.I as a practical person prefer to take the practical and realistic approach to the subject, the way the average Guyanese in and out of Guyana may see it.Why would Guyanese like me who “took up our bundle” and left the shores of Guyana to settle in another country, feel that we have the right to help determine the fate of the fellow Guyanese we left behind?I mean, “we cut and run” so why do we think we have the right to help determine the fate of those back home?The most compelling argument those in the Diaspora use to justify their position to vote in local elections is that they contribute to the local economy by making remittances and other material contributions to the Guyanese economy.The Guyanese economy, whether the government wants to admit it or not, is dependent on remittances. Some feel that as much as one-third of the economy depends on Guyanese overseas.Some argue that they are “Guyanese to the bone” and that they should still be given the privilege to vote.I know Guyanese who are 20, 30 and 40 years removed from Guyana who never went back,Jerseys NFL China, who never looked back. Should those people have a right to determine the fate of the locals?This argument that we should have a say because we contribute to the economy is all nonsense to me. Whether they get to vote or not, no one in the Diaspora will stop sending money and other materials things to their relatives and friends because they can’t vote, so the threat of the economy collapsing is not going to happen.One must understand that there is in all probability more than twice the number of Guyanese living abroad than in Guyana. I mean 50 years ago the population was about the same as it is now, around 750,000 people. This potentially means that Guyanese abroad could decide the outcome of local election, taking away from the locals the right to determine their own fate.The argument that Indian nationals from India or US can vote in their respective government elections is not a strong comparative argument. Overseas-based citizens of those countries can hardly influence the outcome of elections in those countries.On the other hand, Guyana is in a unique situation where most of its citizen’s lives abroad and can certainly determine which party governs the country, because of their overwhelming numbers.We Guyanese are scattered all over the world, from Greenland to Africa, Europe etc. Sometimes I am amazed from where I receive emails. Guyanese are everywhere.Some older folks will not like the idea of overseas voting when they remember the fraud perpetrated by the PNC which now calls itself APNU in the 1968 and 1973 elections with overseas votes.Today the dynamics has changed and one wonders who would gain from overseas vote, which political party stands to gain. The PPP has been strong opponents of overseas voters because of what the PNC/APNU did in elections when they PNC were in power.Today the shoes is on the other foot, we know that large numbers of the PPP supporters have left the shores of Guyana, the PPP votes have been dwindling. While I do not have strong numbers to support it, there is evidence that most of the Guyanese migrating are PPP supporters, so by extension the PPP has more to gain if overseas Guyanese are allowed to vote.It would be interesting to know if the PPP will now be open to the idea, can someone in the local press raise this question.Personally I don’t subscribe to the idea that I should vote in the affairs of Guyana. I don’t walk in the shoes of the relatives who lost a love one because a mother died in child birth or after childbirth due to negligence by medical personnel.I don’t wear the shoes of the ordinary Guyanese, who experience blackouts, poor potable water service,NFL Jerseys Wholesale, floods,NFL Jerseys Supply, frustration wasting time and money to get a passport, birth certificate, license, the drivers who are constantly being robbed by policemen in and out of traffic uniform, from victims of crime who complain that police arrived hour after the crime because they have no vehicles.I don’t walk in the shoes of those who are doing well in the present economy, the businessmen,Cheap NFL Jerseys, the miners, the drug barons, those who own their own homes and cars and satisfied with the status quo.I am just someone who goes once or twice a year to Guyana, spends a few weeks, have some drinks with the boys, eat some bush meat and fresh fish and head back to the comforts of my new homeland. Those few weeks do not give me the right to help decide the future of the locals, and it certainly does not give those so called Guyanese who never returned or are years removed from Guyana the right to vote locally.Ralph Seeram can be reached at email: [email protected] and Facebook.
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