Indigenous Guyanese were encouraged to become advocates for social cohesion last Saturday by the Reigning Miss Indigenous Heritage Queen, Ms. Sherryanna Balkaran at the Mahdia Social Cohesion Sensitisation Session.
According to the Ministry of the Presidency, Ms. Balkaran who was at the time speaking at the session organised by the Ministry of Social Cohesion, held at the Campbelltown Benab in Potaro-Siparuni (Region Eight), encouraged those who had been hurt by discrimination or those who had perpetuated such acts to seek out unity with their fellow Guyanese.
“As persons residing in Indigenous communities, villages, and even towns, like Mahdia… we are often scorned and discriminated [against], and looked upon as persons from a lower class and sometimes we ourselves have discriminated [against] others. But I would like to implore you to be advocates… [and to] be as be as socially cohesive as [you] possibly can… If we are united and we stand strong together we can counter, curb, and maybe annihilate problems that affect us all,” she was quoted by the MotP as saying.
The session was hosted by the Coordinator for the Ministry of Social Cohesion, Ms. Sharon Patterson and was aimed at providing the residents of Mahdia and the nearby villages with an outline of the role of the Ministry, as well as to share the progress they have made in the implementation of their five-year strategic plan.
Ms. Patterson opened her presentation by explaining that the Ministry has a multi-layered approach to the promotion of social cohesion. “Many people think [that] it’s just about race; [and that] it’s just about ethnicity. I want you to leave this afternoon understanding that… [social cohesion] is about everything that makes us different as individuals. That could be our culture. That could be religion. That could be our age… It could be gender,” she said.
The sensitisation session was attended by Micobie Toshao, Mr. John Andre, Region Eight Councillor, Mr. Wilkie Prince, Officers from the Guyana Police Force and local miners, farmers, religious leaders, and residents from Mahdia, El Paso, Paramakatoi, Campbelltown, Princeville, and other surrounding villages, MotP said.