Minister of Social Cohesion, Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. George Norton, has green-lighted a partnership with HEAL Guyana, a local non-profit organisation working to end racism among Guyanese, especially as general and regional elections near.

Recognising the positive impacts being made by the programmes executed by the Department of Social Cohesion, HEAL Guyana reached out for support in its fight to end racial discrimination in the country.

Founder of the organisation, Ms. Sharon Laljee-Richard met with Minister Norton on Monday last, at his office on Main and Quamina Streets, Georgetown.

“We know that during the period of elections, tension rises among our people, and there are some persons who make every effort in creating racial mischief. To fight this scourge, we want to execute our ‘National Call for Peace’ initiative. A large part of this involves reaching out to our political leaders reminding them of their importance in maintaining peace and calm throughout the season,” Laljee-Richard explained to Minister Norton in the presence of Permanent Secretary (ag) Ms. Melissa Tucker, and Technical Officer, Ms. Olive Gopaul.

In responding, Minister Norton lauded the initiative, noting that the aims and objectives are noble, and deserves praises and support.

“An organisation that is working to build bridges and bring Guyanese together will have our Ministry’s support,” Minister Norton said.

While financial assistance could not be made readily available, Minister Norton invited HEAL Guyana to be part of the Ministry’s Social Cohesion sensitisation sessions that are being executed in various parts of the country.

“A major aspect of social cohesion deals with partnerships – partnerships that help to foster a harmonious environment conducive to achieving unity. I believe that a partnership will HEAL Guyana would be beneficial to all involved,”Dr. Norton said

Ms. Laljee-Richard accepted the offer, noting that it will be a great opportunity to be part of the work of the Department of Social Cohesion.

Reflecting on the proposed ‘National Call for Peace’, Minister Norton expressed hope that his colleagues in the National Assembly will act with decorum and respect for all, leading up to the elections, whenever same is called.

“I also am confident in our Social Cohesion sensitisation sessions as well as our Diversity Education and Inclusion trainings that continue to be hosted in all regions of Guyana. These programmes have had positive impacts at the grassroots level, and whenever an election is called, we hope that the participants of these will remember the teachings and continue to promote love for humanity, respect, inclusion and harmony among all Guyanese,” Minister Norton said.


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