By Fareeza Haniff
Opposition Leader, David Granger at a press conference on Friday, June 06 called on the administration to end its indifference and inaction towards the issue.
He believes that the government’s lack of action is a contributory factor to the continuation of the crisis.
“It must now demonstrate the leadership needed to curb the spate of suicides in this country, the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Leader said.
Guyana has seen its fair share of suicides in recent months, specifically in the Berbice and Essequibo region. Studies have shown that there are cases of ‘copycats’, and according to Granger, patterns have emerged over a period of time.
It is in this regard that Granger called on the administration to pay attention to the patterns so as to address the crisis. There are no recent statistics by the Ministry of Health of the number of suicide cases or of attempted suicides.
However, data indicated that suicide became the leading cause of death among young people age 15-24 and the third leading cause of death among persons age 25-44 with averages of between 150 to 200 deaths annually in Guyana.
Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, a former Minister of Health, reported in September 2010 that more than 5,000 persons had lost their lives to suicide in the previous 25 years.
There were 946 reported suicide deaths in Guyana during 2003-2007. Available statistics indicated that 201 suicides were recorded in 2003; 186 in 2004; 171 in 2005; 202 in 2006; and 186 in 2007.
“The PPP/C Administration in 2001 promulgated a National Suicide Prevention Strategy, but this, apparently, seems to have been abandoned. This was followed by the establishment of a National Committee for the Prevention of Suicidal Behaviour (NCPSC) and, subsequently, by a National Committee for Suicide Prevention – NCSP – in 2007 under the chairmanship of the Minister of Home Affairs. These measures, clearly, have all failed to curb the incidence of suicide,” Granger said.
He further noted that despite the occurrence of more than two suicides every week, the government has failed to implement a coherent strategy to reduce or prevent the incidence of suicide.