The Caribbean Voice Inspired Awards and Tributes
Guyanese folk, especially those who have participated in the country’s community service sector in some formalist way over the decades, should support and embrace the concept of the El Dorado Award as expounded by Caribbean Voice and its mentors.
However a scan of the recently published listing or innovation of the awards schedule (SN December 19) reveals a sharp under-value of the Guyanese humanitarian experience, and indeed the socialisation process that corresponds to Counselling and Suicide Prevention.
1. Caribbean Voice over the past year has engaged in media interventions that are significant, particularly at the level of flagging those traits prevalent within the East Indian villages and neighborhoods that contribute or influence towards individuals becoming suicides.
Indeed the kind of activism co funded or sponsored by Canadian Life Support organisations was very much appreciated during the late 1990’ s and subsequently with the efforts of Vince Ramcharran and Professor Samad to a lesser degree within selected East Berbice locations.
But these counselling tend to be of limited duration for a number of reasons. Voluntary work in contemporary Guyana requires stamina and fortitude; and at times even those as requirements are not sufficient to ensure realistic goals.
Counselling and the Environment sans Poverty Alleviation, Depression.
Activism and or a lifetime recognition such as the Pakaraimas should be so synonymous with a broad involvement in communication micro grounding in the traditional (the faith based church Mandir and Masjids) as a start line, except for notable projects linked to the provision of specific needs ( Kempadoo, KamptaKarran or the Bakja Health Centre).
1.1 Caribbean Voice it would appear may well have had those subjective criteria to contemplate. The danger or, if we prefer, the high risk factor emerges when there is a class and ideological deviation from reality needs and suicide prevention focus does not connect with anthropological fractions in a formulated mediation that is long terms- examples being the Rupununi Women’s Help Group as well as Save Abee.
The point is that there has to be a broad based attack on poverty as well as domestic and gender violence that rejects the notion of truncated margilisation of communities that are not viewed as politically part of a pro-government consensus.-
Pakaraimas – El Dorado and Some Omissions
● The late Dr. Josh Ramsammy-for his pioneering environmentalist work in bio diversity, in extractive sector river/ air pollution (the 1995 Omai Disaster), as well as his support scientific research beneficial to Guyanese development.
● The late Dr. MotiLall- for his tremendous contribution to the fight against tuberculosis, and in the latter part of his services the fight against HIV Aids and the reemergence of TB in parts of Guyana. MotiLall also developed a direct community relationship that was tantamount to Counselling (health, access to education and sub- regional government departments etc.).
● Mr. Clifford Reis, Director Banks DIH- for his consistent advocacy of rendering assistance to communities, supporting local Special Needs and or disabled persons organisatons as well as education pursuits for young people.
2. Attorney Counsel Miles Fitpatrick, arguably one of Guyana’s leading advocates for law reform and Constitutional Rights. His ineterventions during the 1970s in particular included the establishment of a low income community shelter for socially at risk, predominantly urban youths (i.e. the movement against Oppression) thus deterring in some way a trend of extra judicial police killings.
● Mr. Tony Xavier- for his commendable involvement in lobbying and urging the (then) Central Government to lay emphasis on infrastructural ( road, bridges) development (Georgetown Roads Phase I and II. Xavier also contributed towards a qualitative improvement in the area of rural sub- regional road development that had a practical impact on the lives of People.
● The ( l ate), Attorney Gaumattie Singh- for her considerable pro bono legal services, particularly in instances where access to the established Legal Aid Offices or lawyers was not available.
● Then there was a political involvement as a Rights advocateof AnnetteArjunefor her immense environmentalist work, especially in the area of Mangrove Restoration and Related matters of concern to shoreline security and river-rain neighbourhoods. This work has also contributed towardseconomic initiatives craft and Micro cash crop or garden farmventures inparts of rural Guyana a spin- off of the improved anti flood interventions.
● Dr. Royston Anderson, Former resident medical doctor at the Berbice Public Hospital- for his compassion and humanitarian work (similar to that of Dr. MotiLall at the community level). Many Berbicians would credit Dr. Anderson for his capacity as a counsellor in areas of psychotic aliments.
2.1 Dr . Bhi r oHa r yPsychiatrist and supervisor of services in the sector of mental health / Dr. Harry certainly must be one of the most knowledgeable and experienced specialists in suicide and the illness that results in suicide.
Special Considerations and the Empowerment of Low Income Elements
Empirically whenever there is a widening gap between the higher earning and l ow i ncome groups there arises these tensions that demand solutions beyond the pragmatism of laissez- faire.
Two organisatons that are active in social counselling that should not be overlooked are firstly, the Guyana Islamic Trust (GIT) and, the Bakja Health Center (for Natural Medicine).
GIT’s agenda lays emphasis on helping the Impoverished both Muslims and others. In several parts of the country the Islamic Trust assists the vulnerable and distraught. Bakja combines social phycology with Self Reliance and targeting those that the system has failed. Mention could be made of the curing of ailments associated with either drug or alcohol abuse.
Finally Caribbean Voice should, providing there is such a decision examine the tremendous contributions of Philomena Sahoye– Shuryand the late sociologist KamptaKarran both of whom were active for years as counselors to what are culture groups of the formerly disenfranchised and ethically insecure- a broad a category as one would expect under the circumstances of state Capitalism in Guyana.