[www.inewsguyana.com] – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the British High Commission have offered to fully finance the Ministry of Social Cohesion’s National Round-table, scheduled to be held on Thursday, September 03 at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre.
This disclosure was made by Minister of Social Cohesion, Amna Ally, at a press conference at the Ministry of the Presidency on Monday, August 31. The Round-table will provide the forum for discussions to take place among national stakeholders so that the Ministry’s five year strategic action plan can be crafted.
Present at the press briefing were the British High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn; international facilitator for the Round-table, Mr. Chris Speis; local facilitator, Mr. Lawrence Latchmansingh and Programme Analyst on Governance and Poverty at the UNDP, Mr. Trevor Benn.
In expressing her gratitude to the two organisations for their gesture, Minister Ally said that while the road to national unity is certainly not an easy one, partnerships like these tend to assist in supporting the crossing of those hurdles.
“This ministry has a challenging role, but we believe that with the support of stakeholders, the Guyanese people [and] our international stakeholders, we are going to achieve the answer to this question of bridging the gaps. This Round-table is fully financed by the UNDP and the British High Commission in Guyana and I want to publicly state our gratitude because we believe that this is a very, very important takeoff point for this Ministry,” she said.
Minister Ally said that while the figure is not immediately at her disposal for disclosure, the sponsorship is a substantial one and will take care of all expenses falling under the purview of the Round-table.
In the meantime, British High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn, underscored the need for cohesion united country, noting that it is time that all Guyanese take up the mantle of ensuring that social cohesion pervades the Guyanese society.
Mr. Quinn noted that this responsibility must be facilitated through a space for open and honest discussions. It was on this note that he praised the Ministry for the National Round-table Initiative, as it provides the needed space for these types of discussions to be fostered.
“The importance of social cohesion must be stressed. It is a long road and a difficult one but the fundamental takeaway is that this is not just for the Minister of the Ministry. This is for everybody to take responsibility for and to be a part of. Everyone has a responsibility to ensure social cohesion. What we have to do is to ensure that they have the space to share; where they will be willing to say what they want to say,” the British High Commissioner said.
In the lead up to the Round-table, regional consultations and preparatory meetings were carried out by the Ministry, where stakeholders were given the chance to share their opinions on how best the Ministry’s mandate can be achieved.
These suggestions were noted and will be presented at the Round-table for discussion and analysis, after which a five year Strategic plan for the Ministry of Social Cohesion will be drafted. According to Minister Ally, all solutions that are immediately implementable will be put into action as soon as the document is finalised.
The event will open on Thursday with cultural presentations, an address by President David Granger, as well as remarks from Sir Shridath Ramphal, representatives from the Commonwealth, the UNDP and the British High Commission.
More than 50 local organisations, including inter religious bodies, Human Rights organisations, cultural groups, the Private Sector, representatives from all 10 regions, and civil society are expected to take part in the Round-table. [Extracted and modified from GINA]