Ricardo Camay de Jesús, is 20 years old, studies a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and is one of many of the volunteers that the Movimiento Victoria Ciudadana (MVC) has at the counting tables at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum, in San Juan.
The young man, who is in his second year at the Manatí campus of American College, carries his laptop to take his courses virtually, sometimes from the Coliseum itself, and at the same time volunteer in the scrutiny process.
“I am here to defend who is going to represent us on Capitol Hill, to defend our needs. I am here for democracy to be clean. That everything arises as it should be, “he said in an interview with Primera Hora in one of his breaks, at the Coliseum.
“I do not regret the sacrifice I am making. I have acquired a lot of knowledge from old and young people. I love being here, ”he said. “There are times that I have had to ask for a break to be present in my video or Zoom classes, but so far the teachers understand,” said the young man, who is a basketball referee and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he has not been able to to work.
“There are no games, there are no tournaments, so I’m unemployed,” said Camay de Jesús, who arrives early at the Coliseum from Morovis, where he lives with his parents, although he sometimes spends the night in San Juan, with some uncles or friends.
In the Coliseum, Ricardo does not receive a salary for his work, unlike many other electoral officials, who are employees of different government agencies and are kept there by political parties in what is known as standout. “Here most of them, except for Proyecto Dignidad and us, have highlights. The mayors send them or they come from the Capitol ”, said the university student.
“I do it as someone says, for the love of art, but because I like it,” he said to add that he has worked at the scrutiny tables, in the Administrative Board of Absentee Voting and Adelantadon (JAVAA), in the minutes and as line supervisor.
“I have been here since November 5 and for a few days I have been wearing a hat and when I am a supervisor almost all the games know me as the short boy with the hat. In the midst of the pandemic, I have been able to meet many good people, as if I had known them for a long time, “he said. Despite partisan tensions, he said he has been well impressed by the teamwork that election officials do.
The MVC official said that due to the risk of COVID-19, work in the Colosseum has been complicated, as many observe the protocol imposed by the deadly disease, but others lower their guard. “We ourselves have to clean the tables when we arrive and some people pull down their masks, as usual, to talk. It really is not the time to act as if nothing is happening, “he said.
He said that at the Colosseum they administer serological tests and many do them daily, but others do not. In addition, of those blood tests, he indicated that he on his own, once a week, does molecular tests in a laboratory “to make sure I am negative.”
For the tranquility of himself and his relatives, he said that he observes a strict protocol both in the Colosseum and when he arrives home. He said that he smears alcohol on himself and before getting out, he puts on other clothes in the same car, while the one he takes off he puts it in a plastic bag. “The one that I put in the car, even if I only had it for a few seconds, I also throw it into the hamper and then I go to bathe,” explained Camay de Jesús.
He said he came to the MVC through the candidate for representative from District 12 whom he met between July and August. “I contacted him through the networks, I started walking and campaigning with him and that’s how I joined the MVC. I worked as an electoral officer and after the elections, I came to the Coliseum, at the call of Alexandra Lúgaro and Manuel Natal that they needed people here and in JAVAA ”, he said.
“The majority in the Movement are civil servants voluntarily, free of charge, we are not employees of the EEC, nor do we have prominence. We are there because the Movement made its call and we responded. We want to ensure that the process is correct and transparent, even if we have the main parties against it, ”said the young electoral official.