Letter: A wish list for the 2018


Dear Editor,

If The Caribbean Voice (TCV) were to present a pragmatic wish list for the year 2018, elimination of the law criminalizing attempted suicide would probably top the list. In 2016 a motion to this effect was debated in parliament and in principle supported by both sides of the house, but government voted against it because they did not want the Opposition to be given credit for the bill.

TCV suggested a bipartisan bill that would avoid this competition for credit but nothing has since been done.

Other very doable measures, all of which have been ventilated many times in the public domain include:

  • The planned registries of sex offenders targeting child and adult sexual predators respectively, established and operational;
  • Mental health added to the Family Life and Health curriculum in schools nationally;
  • Government support to organizations engaged in significant work on mental health issues;
  • Reintroduction of the Gatekeepers Program;
  • Bipartisan legislation to raise the age of consent to 18 years;
  • A mechanism to tackle pesticide suicide, perhaps modeled along the highly successful Sri Lankan Hazard reduction Model;
  • Rape kits at all hospitals;
  • The steps leading to the bypasses on the EBD overpasses be enclosed so no one can jump off;
  • Finishing of the renovation and retooling of the National Psychiatric Institution in Berbice;
  • Expansion of counseling services to all families of suicide and all abused victims;
  • The Sexual Offences Court at the level of the High Court, be supplemented by a specialized court at the level of the Magistrates’ Courts;
  • A mobile court that would be able to hold sittings in every region on a regular, perhaps rotating basis focusing on sexual abuse as well as gender based and child abuse;
  • A domestic violence unit in the police force with members posted at all stations and also trained to deal with gender based and child abuse;
  • Completion of the integration of mental health care into the current physical health care system including establish psych wards at all public hospitals and psychologists in every major health care institution;
  • Counselors in all schools. The batch of 30 who recently graduated can be used and complimented with upcoming graduates from both the private tertiary institutions as well as UG which is set to offer a Psychology program;
  • Renaming of the suicide helpline as the suicide and abuse helpline and making the necessary adjustments to facilitate. As well wide and continuous publicizing the contact info through all possible platforms;
  • Suicide and abuse sensitivity training for all police and health care workers;
  • Creation of an integrated support network for victims of abuse;
  • Mental health training to be added to the curriculum at the Teachers’ Training College;
  • Bipartisan legislation mandating that all cases of abuse should be prosecuted even if the victim withdraws the complaint and/or refuses to testify;
  • Nationwide workshops to tackle dysfunctional relationships and imbue emphatic communication;
  • Phone companies regularly send out to their cell phone customers, suicide prevention and anti-abuse messages as well as tips to help suicidal and abused persons
  • Commissioning of a survey on the use of Internet and social media in relation to social issues;
  • Setting up collaborative home visit committees in every region to visit families of suicide and abused victims. The first committee has already been established in region two by the Regional Democratic Council in collaboration with The Caribbean Voice;
  • Establishing a database of all stakeholders on the social landscape and convening a national stakeholders conference to address these issues;
  • Convening of a national conference to address violence against women;
  • Launching of the ‘Model Guidelines for Sexual Offence Cases in the Caribbean Region’ as has been done in Jamaica with assistance from the Canadian government. Government should approach Canada for assistance in this respect.

Your sincerely,
The Caribbean Voice


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.