The Guyana Foundation wishes to urgently call on the Ministries of Public Health, Social Protection and Public Security to make urgent and bolder efforts to safeguard citizens in communities around Guyana. The recent crimes of child rape, familial homicide are clear indicators that all is not well across Guyana and it will continue and get worse.
The counselling work we have been conducting in Essequibo alone tells us that the mental state of the people is extremely fragile. We offer free counselling six days a week at our center and assist with counselling at the Suddie hospital. Typically that counselling gives psycho-social support, counselling for depression, having suicidal thoughts and counselling for survivors of suicide.
Each case is confidentially logged according to gender and age. We are at liberty to say to the public that the numbers are increasing steadily. It has forced us to strengthen our resolve to deal with these issues by going door to door in communities in Region #2. We can no longer wait for persons to come to us. That is how bad it is. We do not have the capability to blanket the region because we are a non-profit organization. We have engaged the television station to reach out for volunteers, the response has been good. We started our walkabouts in Charity and that work will continue from village to village.
We have also been making efforts to network with representatives in the region from the various Ministries. This is still in a fledgling state. The personnel and the resources attributed to this region in particular are woefully inadequate. The framework within which these Ministries that have been functioning for so many years need to be improved urgently to meet the changing needs in the communities.
We have found that persons with suicidal thoughts do not as a rule present themselves to a hospital or police station. Mothers who are suspecting family members of child molestation are afraid for their own lives from domestic abuse; they do not head to the police station or the hospital, and they continue to suffer in silence until there is a fatality. We then read about it in the newspapers and on social media.
We have conducted workshops with health workers and police cadets to share whatever knowledge we have and how to deal with some of these social ills. We were alarmed that some of our first responders enquired how they could get counselling since many of them had suicidal thoughts. What this tells us is that to bring healing to our communities, pinned down by poverty for so many years, we have to work together.
There are countries that can help us and are willing to; there are other international NGO’s that can bring their resources and experience to Guyana to assist us. The religious bodies, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and others are willing to help if they are given the right signals from these Ministries.
Moreover, the people of Guyana are sickened by what is going on. How have we fallen to the level where children being sodomized, women and children being beaten to death, young men and women ingestion poisons to die is the stuff that fills our news reports?
We are calling on these Ministries to work together to come up with a battle plan as to how they intend to lift up our communities to stop this senseless loss of lives. Make your plans public, people want to know, people want to help. The Guyana Foundation is willing to assist in any way possible.
We will continue to strengthen and expand our work in the communities and we invite citizens to join us in our work.
Supriya Singh-Bodden, CCH, Founder, Guyana Foundation