Women's Issues In Guyana

Large turn out at Region Six ‘Stamp it out’ consultations

Posted in Education by wiig on November 10, 2007
Tags: , ,

Chronicle – November 10, 2007

Minister of Human Services and Social Security Priya Manickchand continues to lead the sessions on government’s consultation paper on sexual violence, seeking inputs of different interest groups.

On November 7 and 8, the Minister and officials of the Ministry held meetings with residents of Albion, New Amsterdam and Crabwood Creek. There were also meetings with members of the legal fraternity, the Guyana Defence Force, Neighbourhood Policing Groups, and students to raise the level of awareness on the prevalence of sexual violence and to garner suggestions toward amending the outdated laws that do not protect victims that are sexually violated.

The Human Services Minister said sexual violence is pervasive in the society and actions are not taken expeditiously enough to give the victims justice. She noted that there aren’t many facilities that cater for victims, especially in the hospitals and at police stations.

“For this reason, the consultations will be held in the 10 administrative regions to garner people’s input to change the laws and implement strategies to help victims through their ordeal and minimise sexual violence,” Minister Manickchand said.

Some persons at the meetings highlighted that child marriages are prevalent in the region and that the issue should be addressed.

The consultation paper contains proposals that are aimed at garnering feedback from the public to strengthen protection against sexual violence and reform the laws on sexual offences.

A referral centre will be introduced in various hospitals across the country which will be manned by a police officer and a doctor so that victims will be able to receive attention at a central point.

Minister Manickchand told the residents that sexual violence can lead to many social issues such as HIV/AIDS, poverty and encourage children to take to the streets.

“The law is not what the Government puts on paper; it is the people who have the responsibility to make the laws proactive. If you fail as a person, the country fails,” Minister Manickchand said.

The Human Services Minister said that she is working to expedite the consultation process on the paper during a three-month period so that the draft Bill can be laid in Parliament between January and March 2008.

She is urging all Guyanese to offer their comments and suggestions on the paper as these will influence the final programme of reforms.

On November 12 and 13, Minister Manickchand will visit Region Three to continue the meetings.

On November 2, the public consultations began in Region Five with several meetings held over a two- day period.

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