What about the children?

first_imgDear Editor,Over the past weeks, we have seen an increasingly alarming trend in Guyana. What started out as a violent threat on social media directed at The School of The Nations, quickly escalated into the shooting and wounding of Principal of the said school Dr O’Toole, forcing the school to close for one week. Subsequently, came shooting threats at Queen’s College, Bishops’ High and Mae’s. There were also two bomb threats to The University of Guyana in two days, leading to suspended classes for both days, and another bomb threat at the Office of the Ombudsman.Against this background, The Caribbean Voice (TCV) is somewhat concerned that the Guyana Police Force sees “no significant threat from warnings to various educational institutions”. What about the children? Surely the police are not simply dismissing the mental health fallout?For one, a sense of security is lost. School is the second home for our children and they no longer feel safe. The trauma is real and widespread because students are not psychologically prepared. They are fearful. They are confused. Some are discouraged and have become demotivated. Many have had sleepless nights and those that sleep have nightmares. Parents and students are of the view that not enough has been done since then to assist them to return to a sense of normalcy. TCV is aware of all of this because we have been talking to parents and students.A holistic approach is required to ensure that students not only heal but also that schools are prepared to proactively deal with issues of this nature. The Caribbean Voice is happy that the Mobile Mental Health Unit of the Education Ministry was deployed but was the services offered to all the schools affected? Will there be follow-ups to ensure that individual students who remain traumatic are offered counselling therapy? Going forward, will entire student bodies be provided with coping skills and mechanisms? Will schools nationwide be trained to respond to such threats through regular drills that focus on strategies like soft and hard lockdowns and evacuation procedures? Will Police be armed with the capacity for rapid response nationwide?For years TCV has been calling for counsellors in schools to assist students to better cope with whatever challenges they face on a daily basis in and out of school. Such placement has become even more urgent now. Also, The Caribbean Voice again offers our youth and student workshop to the Education Ministry. At previous meetings with Ministry officials, promises were made to integrate our workshop into the Health and Family Life Curriculum. We are still awaiting fulfilment of this promise.Finally, the Education Ministry should mandate all schools to set up threat response teams comprising parents, staff and other related personnel that should be trained to quickly act in such eventualities. At least one school affected by the recent threats has already done so. The global village has now encompassed Guyana in its unsavoury fold and our nation must not find itself wanting in its responsibility to protect our children every which way.Sincerely,The Caribbean Voicelast_img read more

Vulnerability analysis needed before building houses – Joe Singh

first_imgIn light of low-lying areas being susceptible to flooding, Major General (Rtd) Joe Singh is urging residents with flat houses on the coast and flood-prone areas to raise their foundations. Singh is head of a task force Government has established to address the flood situation.Singh stated that in the past, houses were built on stilts as a preventive measure against flooding, while their crops were planted on mounds.Recently, the coastland has been hit by severe floods which resulted in massive losses. Poor drainage and non-functioning pumps were some of the factors for the floods.The government has engaged Dutch experts from The Netherlands to assist in fixing the situation of flooding and drainage in Georgetown and other coastland areas. They have made numerous recommendations—one of which is increasing flood resilience among the people.A report released by the experts, recommended that people construct two-storey houses, with the main function being the upper flat. This recommendation, it stated, should be mandatory for all project developers.Singh posited that persons who already have flat houses in the low-lying areas should raise the foundation. He stated that persons should install stilts on their wooden flat houses while those with concrete houses should raise the perimeters of the house.However, in the case of new construction, he stressed the need for the implementation of a building code, which would enable persons to conduct a vulnerability analysis before creating a house plan.He stated further that livestock and crops could be saved in flooding if persons would also raise the foundation of their pens and plant their crops in boxes and pots: “For example, areas like the Rupununi, where there is flooding, residents are planting their cassava on mounds to prevent it from being damaged.” He stated that the drip irrigation shade agriculture technique should be promoted among farmers and residents as a measure to prevent flooding.The Dutch report also recommended that squatting – without sanitation – in flood-prone areas should be eliminated in order to reduce health risks. It stated that flood-proofing sewage infrastructure should be developed.The report emphasised that while flooding will remain an issue in Guyana, and particularly Georgetown, it is important to communicate this to the people and as such a communication strategy should be developed and implemented to explain the principles of living with water.It noted that the plan has to be clear that the flood risk will never be reduced to zero. It said further that an inundation probability map of Georgetown should be drafted and used to explain to the people why it is important to build their houses and businesses flood-proof.“Most people will be aware of flood threats when it happens and forget about it soon after. This loss of awareness influences their behaviour regarding the existing water management infrastructure,” it said, adding that living with water is not just about threats and flood damage but is also extremely economically valuable.It indicated that “people who are aware of the benefits of living with water tend to understand better the constraints that space for water puts on them as well. Flood risk maps are an example of a specific way of communication to the people. It shows the probability of floods and the consequences of floods.”It also stated that there should be simple presentations available nationwide on how the drainage system works, why water needs space, and why it is important to keep the drainage system free from constructions and solid waste.last_img read more

PPP wants Govt to name its nominee of choice

first_imgOutgoing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moonAs member countries of the United Nations (UN) prepare to elect a successor to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon later this year, Guyana’s political Opposition, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) is calling on the President David Granger-led A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government to make public its choice for the post.Currently, nine candidates are vying for the top UN job and the PPP in a statement Wednesday said it has been following with interest the mechanisms put in place by the UN to have the position of Secretary General filled and as such, it wanted to know if the Guyana Government has considered any of the candidates.“The PPP, as a major stakeholder, and without prejudice to any of the contestants, is interested in knowing as to whether or not the Guyana Government has given consideration to any of the named candidates and if so, which from among them it will support when the matter of the vote comes up at the United Nations,” the Party said in a statement.Those vying for the SG position are former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra, former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, Macedonian diplomat and former Foreign Minister Srgjan Kerim, former Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Natalia Gherman, former Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, Slovenian President Danilo Turk and Slovakia’s Deputy Prime Minister Miroslav Lajcak.A new Secretary General is expected to be elected soon, with Ban’s second term coming to an end on December 31.Article 97 of the UN Charter provides that: “The Secretary General shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.” In other words, Article 97 creates a two-stage process: a recommendation by the Security Council followed by a decision by the General Assembly.In Monday’s secret ballot, the fifth in the process, former Portuguese Prime Minister Guterres remained in the lead. The 15-member Security Council will continue holding secret ballots in a bid to reach consensus on a candidate that it then recommends to the 193-member UN General Assembly for election. The next secret ballot is scheduled for October 5.last_img read more

Save Ganta Hospital

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FeJAL, LIWOMAC Want Women Promoted in Governance

first_imgThe Female Journalist of Liberia FeJAL and partner Liberia Women Media Action committee LIWOMAC have ended a two day conference with the theme: “Promoting Women in Governance.”The workshop, which started Tuesday, January 28, brought together some key panelists like Madam Ruth Ceaser, chairperson Liberia, National Women Political Forum, Mr. Nathaniel McGill Secretary General for Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), Maureen Sieh, Senior Media Specialist IREX-Liberia and others.Serving as panelists Ruth Ceaser said “the history of women in politics shows that women have  been discriminated because of societal and cultural barrier.”She further that the struggle of the Liberian women for political emancipation has been one of continuous challenges and opportunities.She also said women’s participation in politics and political process and every area of decision making is significant because it was significant for Liberian and all African women to rise above cultural barriers and put the kitchen behind them.Madam Ceaser said there was a bill that needed to be passed by the Legislature describing it as the 30 percent Gender Equity Bill that will give women the chance to participate in Governance at this percentage.But the discussions was seen arguable when the CDC General Secretary Mr. McGill  discussing the future of women in politics disclosed that the 30 percent Gender Equity Bill won’t be passed because the men are not going to compromise with the women that which to contest because the men also want to occupy the seat.“Out of 73 seats in the Legislature women have additional 15 seats and that the men won’t compromise the race for women but they will rather fight for themselves,” he said.Madam Ceaser said, the issue of women being the care takers of home will come to end contributing the lack of women’s participation in politics as the result of ‘Cultural Barrier’ being the set back  “We women has seen the light and think cultural barrier won’t be the issue any more because we will make sure to work tirelessly in passing the Gender equity bill that will help us get on the path with males.”At the same time Mr. McGill told the audience that his party the CDC has contributed to promoting women in high place mentioning Geraldine Doe Sheriff as one of the beneficiaries.He said he is not against the bill but his opinion is that the bill won’t be pass stating that since the 50-50 bill was pass and acted into law it has not been implemented but its only on docket “so are you people working to have 30 percent in government when the first 50-50 bill has not been implemented? He said this shows that this will only be passed but cannot be implemented,” he assure.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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