By: Ranetta La Fleur
GINA, GUYANA: There will be more probation officers in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) as the Ministry of Social Protection heightens efforts to tackle social ills plaguing the region. Domestic violence and disputes and child welfare issues are prevalent according to the region’s Senior Probation Officer, Carol Beresford.
Despite a small staff, Beresford said efforts are ongoing to better handle these issues. She explained that the Ministry of Social Protection is currently training new probation officers. “We have to recruit them, train them and then send them out to the various regions so by next month we’ll get one and maybe next three months we’ll get three more, so that is what they’re working on,” Beresford said.
The Senior Probation Officer further explained to GINA that while the department awaits additional staff, the current probation officers are working diligently to curb some of the child welfare issues.
The department discovered that there are many parents struggling with their children who are engaged in substance abuse. “The children are drinking in school and smoking so when the schools reopen we plan on going to visit them because we know it’s very challenging and expensive for parents to bring their children to the department for counselling. So we plan on asking the teachers for space at the school, and we will be working with the children,” Beresford underlined.
Additionally, this region is one that is affected by suicides. Beresford says efforts are also in place to discourage these incidents. The region’s Probation Department will also be hosting some sensitisation awareness programmes to better educate and inform persons on the issue, Beresford pointed out to GINA.
There are plans also to implement the suicide hotline system for persons contemplating suicide, to call and receive counselling. On International Day for the Family which will be observed on May 15, the probation department will be planning several activities. “The objective of these programmes is to bring families together, and we’re hoping that we can work with them and eliminate half of the issues that are going on at present,” the Senior Probation Officer said.
With government offering its full support, Beresford emphasised that her small team of probation officers will continue to work to eliminate the social ills in the region.