– as they celebrate Emancipation Day
As Guyanese observed Emancipation Day (Freedom Day,) Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo called on citizens to be conscious of the new challenge to them and the nation freedom.
Speaking with reporters at the Emancipation observation at the National Park on Saturday, the Prime Minister noted that the challenge “to conquer us, to enslave us, once again”. He was referring to the challenge from Venezuela to our territory and people.
To this end, the Prime Minister pointed out that the spirit of our African ancestors, to resist and fight against oppression and domination, “is still a live fight”, the Government Information Agency (GINA)
“We cannot separate the struggle of African people for liberation, the struggle for a nation state of all of our Guyanese people with this new challenge to take away what we have, that is our nationality, our identity and what we are-a Guyanese people,” the PM said.
Prime Minister Nagamootoo noted that Freedom Day is an event for all races, for the reason that all have drawn inspiration from the African struggle, the core of which has been resistance. He pointed out that resistance has been at the heart of the many struggles against injustices and wrongs.
He noted that the African fight is not over, because there is still a debt that is owed. For the reason that slavery benefited European powers, there is resistance for the recognition of that fact, even for a moral debt to be paid. The new Administration fully supports this resistance for repatriation, the PM said.
Guyanese from all walks of life turned out at the National Park to join the annual Emancipation celebrations, hosted by the African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA.) This year, the ACDA’s event was commemorated under the theme “Rekindling our past glory through youth innovation”. They were joined by several Government Ministers.
The grand celebrations at the National Park featured a number of songs, dances and other cultural displays by both local and overseas performers. Performers included the Djoniba Dancers out of the USA, Blakk Rasta out of Ghana’s and from Guyana recently-crowned Miss World Guyana Lisa Punch, Natural Black, Mystic Dance Group, Devine Star, X Factor, Charmaine Blackman, Junior Calypso, Shantel Gittens and former Chutney King Roger “Young Bill Roger” Hinds.
Apart from the live performances, there was a fashion display, activities for the children and a number of food and beverage booths.
Freedom Day or Emancipation Day is celebrated in Guyana on August 1. Emancipation Day or Freedom Day, as it was earlier called, marks the abolition of slavery in 1834.
A new British study has revealed that smoking marijuana is more dangerous for men than women, with men four times as likely to experience cannabis psychosis.
Previous research has examined the relationship between marijuana and psychosis, but the role of gender in relation to the drug’s mental health effects is less well understood.
Psychosis is a mental health disorder that causes people to perceive things differently from those around them, whether it manifests as a loss of contact with reality in the form of delusions or hallucinations, and/or difficulty performing simple tasks.
But it remains unclear why the male brain appears to be more susceptible to cannabis induced psychosis.
In pursuit of answers, Ian Hamilton of Britain’s University of York drew on past literature and National Health Service (NHS) admission records to compile the study.
“Male cannabis users outnumber female users by 2:1,” Hamilton observed. “However, this ratio increases significantly for those admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of cannabis psychosis, with males outnumbering females by 4:1.”
There is nevertheless no definitive scientific data to explain these statistics.
While Hamilton’s study, published in the Journal of Advances in Dual Diagnosis, may support previous research suggesting that oestrogen forms a defensive barrier against the effects of cannabis, there is as much evidence that this predominantly female hormone actually accentuates the drug’s effects.
“The marked gender differences in rates of cannabis psychosis is puzzling,” Hamilton said.
“It is possible that mental health and specialist drug treatment services, which have a disproportionate number of men, are identifying and treating more males with combined mental health and cannabis problems.
“However, it is also possible that women with cannabis psychosis are not being identified and offered treatment for the problems they develop.
“When it comes to cannabis psychosis gender does matter,” he added.
Hamilton concedes that the NHS admission records, which were his primary source of data, may have been corrupted by social factors. He proposes that fewer women resort to admitting themselves to hospital for drug related problems than men, even if their psychosis is severe. With twice as many men frequently using cannabis as women, the chances of more male admissions to hospital are doubled from the outset, moreover.
“This research follows a tradition of asking one question only to find by the end you have created many more. All we can say for certain is that when cannabis and psychosis collide, gender does matter,” Hamilton said.
The University of York researchers said their focus on gender differences is important to help improve understanding and the provision of gender sensitive services. (Caribbean360)
Rupununi-based stakeholders in the tourism sector on Thursday agreed to collaborate to establish an organisation to coordinate the further development of the industry in the region.
The “Visit Rupununi” Organisation will establish tourism as a central part of the region’s economy by increasing the number of visitors and improving visitor satisfaction.
At a one-day working session in the Regional Democratic Council’s office in Lethem, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), 35 representatives from the communities, Private Sector, and regional government and Non-Governmental Organisations decided to set the new body as they aired their concerns about the future of the industry. This is according to Conservation International (CI)-Guyana, which facilitated the session.
They collectively decided on the mandate and functioning of the new organisation, agreeing that the main areas of focus would be increasing marketing and promotion of the region as a whole internationally and domestically; developing capacity to raise the standard of the region’s tourism products, improving effective management of the sector; and partnering with the relevant national and other agencies to ensure enabling conditions for growth of the sector.
CI also stated in its press release that participants expressed the importance of urgently engaging the Ministries of Tourism, Business, and Indigenous People’s Affairs for their support.
They also emphasised the necessity of collaboration among themselves and with the national Private Sector and Government agencies responsible for the sector, especially the Guyana Tourism Authority and the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana.
Ensuring a properly planned and operated nature-based tourism sector is one of the most effective ways to raise the standard of living of Rupununi residents while increasing the value of its natural and cultural assets. This working session was a critical point for regional stakeholders to agree on how to turn this much spoken-about potential into reality. The Rupununi is one of Guyana’s most visited regions and currently has some of the best examples of community-owned and operated tourism facilities in the country.
Participants also agreed to implement some actions immediately, including the establishment of a Tourist Information Centre in Lethem, and the formal establishment of the organisation. The Centre is intended to be an information hub for visitors to the Region. These efforts are being coordinated by Ms. Candace Phillips, a former educator and community project management professional.
The event was facilitated by CI under its “Leveraging Natural Capital in Guyana’s Rupununi” project. This project is funded by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the Swift Family Foundation.
CI is an international not-for-profit Non-Governmental Organisation and has been working in Guyana through the locally registered Conservation International Foundation (Guyana) for over 20 years, linking human development with conservation of the earth’s living natural heritage; including supporting the development of the country’s tourism sector.
“Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the well-being of humanity”.
– as D’Edward man charged for threatening meter reader
The Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) has expressed concern over an increase in incidents whereby customers are verbally abusing and violently threatening meter readers, disconnection teams and Water Service Inspectors.
According to a release from the utility company, a customer from D’Edward Village, on the West Coast of Berbice (WCB), is currently before the court for verbally abusing and issuing threats to a GWI meter reader attached to the Fort Wellington, WCB facility. The incident reportedly occurred in early July, when the GWI meter reader requested access to the customer’s premises in order to gain an accurate reading from his water meter.
The GWI employee was then verbally abused by the customer upon entering the premises. The employee claimed that she was made to endure a barrage of offensive language and threats to her well-being.
Upon reporting the incident to the GWI Customer Services Manager responsible for the Fort Wellington Office, the Guyana Police Force was contacted and a full report on the incident was provided. This resulted in the subsequent arrest of the D’Edward Village customer who was charged with indecent conduct and verbal abuse. The incident was brought before the Blairmont Magistrate’s Court in July.
During these proceedings, the accused pleaded not guilty and the matter was sent to the Fort Wellington Magistrate’s Court where it was set to be heard on July 29. The GWI meter reader involved in the incident has been asked to appear and is willing to testify.
According to the water agency, this incident is reflective of an overarching problem affecting GWI’s field employees who are experiencing heightened abuse by customers. Acting GWI Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Nigel Niles, has mandated that Customer Service Managers make contact with the Guyana Police Force regarding any incident in which customers threaten bodily harm or engage in excessive verbal abuse of any GWI employee.
“The safety of our employees is of utmost importance,” the CEO pointed out while adding, “we will not tolerate any threats of violence towards our field operatives or Customer Service Representatives stationed at our offices. The company will seek prosecution of any customer who attempts to verbally abuse or physically attack any GWI employee”.
Niles went on to say that GWI has implemented a ‘no tolerance policy’ for excessive verbal abuse or any form of physical abuse by customers. He further advised that customers who are disgruntled must seek assistance through the normal channels provided by the company’s Customer Services Department.
Additionally, the acting CEO advised that customers must be cognisant of the fact that they are legally obligated to allow GWI meter readers access to their water service meters as stipulated in the Water and Sewerage Act, 2002. He further indicated that it is an offence to obstruct any GWI employee from gaining access to GWI’s apparatus. Acts such, an attempt to do such can result in prosecution, Niles added.
For more information on GWI’s Customer Service policies, customers can call GWI’s Public Relations Department on 225-0471-5; visit the company’s website www.gwiguyana.com or send an email to email@example.com.
By Kristen Macklingam
In its continued efforts to provide social and welfare services, the Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) during the year of 2012 attended to 3689 cases of child abuse which were reported via the then Human Services and Social Security Ministry and “walk-ins” to the Agency.
The CCPA in a report to the National Assembly recently stated that it was able to give a 100 per cent response to all of these cases where it provided safe places for recovery and rehabilitation for each victim. Of the total, 503 victims who needed protection.
Guyana Times understands that psychosocial support and other assistance were provided to about 10,000 at-risk children and their families and the Agency attended to more than 16,000 cases that year.
The CCPA stated that while it had successes, there were insufficient resources and services to make lasting changes in the lives of its clients.
The Agency had difficulties in reaching its target to facilitate the re-unification of 250 children living in institutions with their families or family substitutes and receiving financial and psychosocial support for their continued well-being.
The combined total of children placed in foster care and children re-integrated with their own families was 173. This is 69 per cent of the target.
It was noted that the shortfall in the target was due to the inadequate number of foster families available and insufficient financial assistance for families to have the children return to the family homes.
In spite of constraints, the CCPA was able to host 12 training workshops for persons who provide child protection services, including Police Officers and caregivers at children’s homes and orphanages.
Meanwhile, children’s homes and orphanages were visited and monitored to ensure the implementation of the minimum standards of operations and 200 vulnerable children were provided with alternative care (out-of-home care) at the three State Care Centres located at Mahaica, Sophia and Georgetown.
The CCPA explained that these centres were overpopulated throughout the year as a result of the demand for these services, the severity of emerging cases and the vigilance and responsiveness of staff.
“The three Government-owned Care Centres (safe houses) for children in need of protective care continued to be overpopulated due to an increased number of children being made vulnerable by inadequate parental care and child abuse. Apart from the Government Care Centres, the 20 private children’s homes and orphanages also had issues of overcrowding. ..There were 805 children in institutional care at the end of 2012, with 220 at the Government-managed Care Centres in Sophia, the Drop-in-Centre and the Mahaica Children’s Home.”
Unfortunately, seven per cent of the target 3000 parents and other primary caregivers were equipped with techniques and skills for effective parenting.
“The low level of achievement occurred as a result of insufficient resources. More resources, both human and financial, are needed to conduct this activity country-wide,” the Agency reported.
However, the CCPA was able to facilitate the Adoption Board where 12 meetings were held throughout the year and families were found for 109 children through the adoption process.
The Agency also reported that one of its targets set for the said year was to conduct public awareness programmes via the media on “Child Rights” and other issues affecting the well-being of children as well as to encourage community members to foster a child.
“Work was done, but not enough to make an impact. This was due to inadequate resources…A national public awareness campaign is needed to ensure the desired result,” the CCPA added.