The Caribbean Voice In­spired Awards and Tributes

Weekend Mirror - - GETTING IT RIGHT -


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.

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