Written by Leroy Smith  Guyana Chronicle

Sunday, 25 March 2012 20:30

–practice destroys social fabric

DOMESTIC violence could be vastly reduced if there was a more serious approach to the root causes of the problem — the men in society.
This is according to Minister within the Finance Ministry, Bishop Juan Edghill, who opined that if there is not meaningful input into the cause of the problem, society would forever be confronted with battered women, abused children, orphans and broken homes.

Human Services Minister Jennifer Webster is greeted By Pandit Suresh Sugrim on her arrival

The minister was speaking to scores of persons who had gathered on Saturday to witness the ground-breaking ceremony for the Humanitarian Village of the New Jersey Arya Samaj at Ankerville, Port Mourant, Corentyne, Berbice.
Minister Edghill thinks there should be direct contact with grown men and young boys when several issues are addressed, domestic violence being one of them. He said domestic violence comes from a depraved heart, and that the practice is learned behaviour.
Minister Edghill, who is also a minister of the Gospel, opined that the behaviour can be changed. He commended the Arya Samaj for the step it took in providing a safe haven for persons who have suffered as a result of this practice by males, but said that that was only the beginning of the process.

Bishop Edghill explained that there was also need for more focus to be placed on the family, since the family was an institution that played an important role in the society.
He said that rather than trying to change the definition of the family, like was being done by some people, what the family really needed was strengthening.

Returning to spirituality was also another effective way of addressing the issue, the Bishop proffered. He reminded that, despite the faith and religion one practices, all speak of the need to strengthen the family as well as love.
Once those principles were adhered to, the minister opined, the problems of domestic or child abuse should be eliminated, as those would be contradictory to the teachings of one’s religion.
If those principles were not taught and practised, society would forever have to be responding to the call for protective facilities and homes like the one the Samaj intended to erect.

Human Services and Social Security Minister, Jennifer Webster, who also spoke at the event, said she would ensure she remained accessible and open to working with all those whose vision was to rid the society of gender-based violence, because it has long been a social illness in the society, and continues to destroy society’s moral fabric.
She added that if the issues that affect the family, and moreso women, were not addressed, society would be sunk further by domestic violence. She mentioned that, at the level of the government, she was going to ensure that the legislative framework in place to protect women and children was utilized to its fullest.
She also told those gathered that if there were areas that were causing victims not to be properly protected, then the laws would have to be revised where necessary. She urged all women to get on board, and to speak with one voice to effectively be heard in their quest to stop the practice of domestic violence, which seemed to be a fixture in society of late.

Other issues

Special invitees putting all hands on board to turn the sod for the Humanitarian Village

Domestic violence is seen as one of the major problems for women and children, but there are other issues which affect the lives of those persons, and those should also be address.
Minister Webster spoke of empowering women, offering training in the areas of life skills for both women and girls, while building the self-esteem of children as areas which should also be focused upon.
She assured that she would be working with all those who expressed an interest in addressing the issues that affected children and women.
The sod turning event was attended by Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds, who is at the moment also performing the duties of President of Guyana. The Acting Head of State said he was extremely pleased with the move by the Arya Samaj in responding to a very real need of the society. Over the years, he said, the Arya Samaj has been looking beyond its personal needs and priorities in an effort to channel help in the direction of the less fortunate.
In her address, Ms. Varshni Singh made mention of the importance of rendering assistance to those who needed it, regardless of their religious and other beliefs. She pledged her support to working with the Minister of Human Services and Social Security in the area of children and women’s interests.
Karen De Souza of Red Tread underscored the need for the Government to be more aggressive in safeguarding the rights of those who sought the service of the state for justice.
Also speaking at the event were representatives from ‘Rights of the Child’, Red Tread, and members of the diplomatic corps. The event also saw attendance from representatives of the various faiths, business and regional officials of Region 6, and volunteers of the Samaj.

The sod-turning comes almost two months after the organisation was granted a plot of land by President Donald Ramotar, having written and getting approval from former President Bharrat Jagdeo for a plot of land upon which to construct.
The works of the New Jersey chapter are being aided locally by the Guyana Central Arya Samaj. The new facility will be built at Lot 21-26 Ankerville, Port Mourant, where the land is located.
The Humanitarian Village will cater for the elderly, homeless, physically challenged, abused, and victims of fire and other situations that cause persons to be separated from their homes.
The Arya Samaj plans to work very closely with the Government of Guyana and any other organisation, irrespective of its religious and/or ethnic standing.

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