Commendations and suggestions to the government

Dear Editor,
THE Caribbean Voice lauds the government, especially the Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud, as well as the First Lady and her office for the strides being made and upcoming plans for the disabled community in Guyana. In this context isn’t it time for all public buildings to be made accessible to the disabled?
We also laud the University of Guyana and more specifically Dr. Paloma Mohamed, for the pioneering step to introduce a module on domestic violence prevention available for the entire university community. We sincerely hope every student will seize this opportunity to become part of the solution to this scourge.
However, we also join with the many who have expressed shock and disappointment at UG’s association with alcohol promotion and sales. While we do understand the need for funds and recognise the significant role played by DDL in this respect, both these entities must realise that this alcohol alliance is awful and send so many wrong messages. There is urgent need to rethink and reframe that alliance so that UG does not directly become a purveyor and promoter of alcohol sale and consumption.
As well, some years ago, UWI lecturer, Dr. Katija Khan, informed The Caribbean Voice that she was involved as a consultant in helping UG to implement a Masters in Psychology programme, following the introduction of the degree programme in psychology. So, would it be possible for UG to inform as to the status of that master’s programme that has been in works for years? It is moot to remind that one needs a minimum of a master’s in psychology along with at least one year of supervised clinical practice to be considered a professional clinical counsellor.
Meanwhile, we join with so many others, especially columnist and social advocate, Freddie Kissoon, in urging that the verdicts for those found guilty of acts of domestic and sexual abuse need to be urgently addressed. Far too often perpetrators get away with little more than a slap on the wrists and while we understand that each case is different and judges and magistrates interpret and apply the law as they see fit, surely such application should start with minimum sentences that do not water down the seriousness of such crimes. Perhaps too it’s time to finally launch that registry of sexual abusers and also a registry of perpetrators of gender-based violence and femicide, which is becoming a growing trend globally. The Childcare and Protection Agency was supposed to have launched a registry of child sexual abusers years ago and The Caribbean Voice had also been informed that one for adult sexual abusers was also being planned. Isn’t it much more logical and convenient to simply have one registry? Citizens need to be aware of both sexual predators and gender-based abusers when such personnel enter their communities so that they can raise the alert level and become proactive.

Yours respectfully,
Annan Boodram

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