Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence – Empowering Victims to Speak out


Janet (name changed to protect identity) is a very strong, college-educated woman who, at the request of her husband, gave up her job to stay at home after marriage. She may not have known that being asked to do so was a form of abuse. Soon enough contacts with friends and family were restricted as was movement outside of the home. Then the beatings started. By then a child had arrived and so Janet thought that it was in the best interest of her child that a traditional family should continue to exist. Besides, her husband was a charmer when he was not a monster and she continued to see glimpses of the person she fell in love with and got married to. So she vowed to do what was necessary to keep that while hoping that her love would change the abuser. Meanwhile, the abuse increased, fueled by bouts of alcoholic haze. Then Janet found out that her husband was having an affair. When she confronted him he walked away leaving her penniless. Initially devastated, Janet was able to move on and rebuild her life becoming both financially self-sustaining and an empowerment activist helping other victims.

Beverly Gooden, an American writer who started #WhyIStayed on Twitter, writes on her site that for her, leaving an abusive situation was “a process, not an event.” She explained in a series of tweets the many reasons it took her so long to get out: she once tried to leave the house, but her abuser slept in front of the door to block her; a pastor told her that God hates divorce; her husband said he would change; she needed time to find a place to go and money to survive once she left; she thought love conquered all; she was isolated from friends and family who lived halfway across the country. Indeed victims continue to remain in abusive relationships for many reasons including financial dependence, the children, fear, religion, isolation, ‘love’, family and societal pressure and because a certain amount of abuse has been normalized to the extent that many women accept such abuse as a given in a relationships and some even still equate that abuse with love.

In fact there was the case of a woman who told her sister that her consistently abusive husband was going to kill her. Yet neither the woman nor her sister reported to the police or sought help, and the sister made this disclosure public only after the woman was murdered. And the case of the twenty-one year mother of one who summoned the courage to leave the abusive relationship and go back to her parents’ home but the family refused to go to the police, take any legal action or even accept counseling because of palpable fear driven into them by the abuser. Or the case of the abused wife of a policeman who never went to the police because her abuser told her that his police buddies would do nothing. Or even the case of a victim whose husband holds high status in society and is actually an anti-abuse ‘advocate’ so no one believes her when she shares her experiences of abuse.

As well, we have come across a number of cases on social media that were referred to the traditional media but which never published anything. Since we had no way of contacting the victims we felt that the media had the capacity to contact them, tell their story and hopefully catalyze police action to bring the abusers to justice. We also know of cases of abuse in situations where the abusers are rich and so the victims are often in denial or feel that the materially comfortable lifestyles are a worthwhile tradeoff for the abuse.

In effect, femicide and gender based abuse are reaching crisis proportions in Guyana. The media has been doing a great job of focusing attention on and advocating for action to address thus scourge. Now can the police set up a mechanism so cases can be directly referred to them? Of course, the actions of some police continue to leave much to be desired. The case of the officer who accompanied the victim to her home so she could collect personal belongings and then left her there resulting in her murder made headlines and the line minister’s response is not exactly what was expected. We also know of cases, some of which have been publicized, of victims being ridiculed and insulted when they go to the police station to report abuse. Then there is the case of the woman being stripped naked in the lockups because the police thought she was suicidal. Bribery allegations against the police also continue to be shared by victims. No wonder so many victims refuse to go to the police.

Concerted, ongoing police training is thus an absolute necessity and perhaps it’s also time for police to be fitted with body cams. Also needed is legislation to ensure cases go to trial even when victims refuse to testify and for the public to be made aware of the services offered by the government and other stakeholders so victims can be encouraged to walk away with the road ahead not as bleak and hopeless as they may have thought. In fact there are quite a number of NGOs, including The Caribbean Voice and other members of Voices Against Violence, that offer a range of services, including counseling, legal assistance and safe houses.

As the government gets ready to observe another 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, we urge that consideration be given to some suggestions recently put forward by the Registrar of Barbados’ Supreme Court, Barbara Cooke-Alleyne: introducing electronic monitoring equipment for violent offenders; appointing legal aid for victims without representation; increasing the length of time for counseling for victims (vision of counseling for all victims); and removing penalties for false accusations, so victims would be less afraid to speak out.

Janet was among the few who eventually spoke out on publicly, something that many who walk away and put their lives back together are reluctant to do. This is why VAV has decided to observe 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence by organizing speak outs sessions across Guyana. VAV is a gathering of NGOs and other stakeholders that, three years ago launched the Annual National Anti-Violence Candlelight Vigil, which has seen 1000 plus vigils organized across Guyana since its launch. It is an attempt to forge that collaboration that everyone from the President downwards, have been and continue to call for. Domestic Violence activists, advocates and other stakeholders emphasize that speaking out is important for many reasons. It can happen to anyone, regardless of age, social background, gender, ethnicity, education level or wealth and in all kinds of relationships: heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. Also it happens all year round, can be physical, emotional, psychological, financial or sexual and the abuse becomes more frequent over time. Ignoring it condones it. It is not acceptable and should not be tolerated as everyone has the right to live a life free from violence.

Gender-based violence has a higher rate of repeat victimisation than any other crime and is caused by the abuser’s desire for power and control. Thus the abused individual constantly lives in fear and is unable to predict when the next attack will come, yet becomes increasingly dependent on the abuser leading to isolation from friends, family, colleagues and to the individual accepting the blame for the abuse and denying the fact that it’s actually happening. Individuals can develop post-traumatic stress which includes a range of symptoms: agitation and anxiety, depression, panic attacks, trouble sleeping or relaxing, numbness, sense of isolation, nightmares. One of the most serious risks to children in our society, domestic violence leads to anxiety, depression, truancy and the possible fear of abandonment in children. It will contribute to removing the fear of being ridiculed or disbelieved by friends and family members. The bottom line is that no child should have to live with the thoughts of violence or fear. Speaking out encourages more individuals to seek support from specialist support organizations and could save lives, especially since victims are often murdered by abusers, or end up taking their lives.

From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute. Currently, more than 3,700 organizations from approximately 164 countries participate in the campaign annually. For the first time organizations in Guyana are joining this effort. The speak outs are being supported the Women & Gender Equality Commission, Help and Shelter, the WPO and The Caribbean Voice. At the time of completing this article, about a dozen speak outs have been planned by organizations such as Golden Om Dharmic Youth, Emerging Young Leaders, Guyana Women’s Roundtable, Orchid Foundation, Young Pioneers, Young Champion’s Network and others, including a number of activists, in various parts of Guyana. Organizations, groups and communities are urged to bring people together and have them share experiences, personal or otherwise, on gender based, child and sexual abuse as well as brainstorm on ideas to address these scourges. These ideas will be gathered together and shared with relevant government ministries and agencies as well as the media.

Speak Out sessions do not need large attendances; in fact small groups create intimate circles that can make victims much more comfortable as they share. Guest speakers are not necessary. Anyone can moderate a session. Organizers are urged to video the sessions so they can be used for sensitization, advocacy and activism. For additional information and/or support to organize speak outs please send email to emergingyoungleaders18@gmail.com, youngpioneeers592@gmail.com or caribvoice@aol.com or call 612-9488, 665-7547 or 621-6111.

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Continuing the fight against domestic violence


Guyana Chronicle Editorial, November 18, 2018: THIS publication has repeatedly highlighted the need for initiatives and programmes to fight the pervasive social malady known as gender-based or domestic violence. The Government of Guyana, which obviously shares the concern, continues to work towards eradicating the problem.

First Lady Mrs. Sandra Granger has expressed the view shared by government and experts on the subject; the First Lady said, “It is critical that empirical research is conducted into the root causes of violence in our society, and particularly gender-based violence, so we can analyse and determine how it may be addressed and eliminated through government-stakeholder action.”

Following up on this approach to the problem, a new initiative is set to begin on November 25. The campaign called, ‘16 Days of Activism’ is a collaborative effort among the government, the non-governmental organisation known as The Caribbean Voice and the United Nations Women’s Initiative. The campaign which aims to reduce acts of gender-based violence in Guyana, will conduct education, sensitisation and solution-oriented sessions during the 16 days of planned activities.

Gender-based violence is a major problem in Guyana, with incidents of violence against women having increased by some 14.2 per cent over the last six years. Statistics show that there is a geographic component to the problem, with the highest number of crimes being committed in Essequibo Islands-West Demerara, Demerara-Mahaica, and the East Berbice-Corentyne regions. Those three regions alone account for three quarters of all reports.

In August 2018, at the opening of the 20th biennial convention of the National Congress of Women, President Granger said, “Unless we take concerted action to eliminate violence against women, we will never remove the scourge of inequality. People will not find it even necessary to consider providing equal access for girlchildren to go to school. We need to deal with this problem of violence against girls and women. It is not easy; it is not just sexual violence. It is physical violence as well. It is chopping and killing, murder…It is the daily subjugation and suppression of women…”

In addition to short-duration programmes such as 16 Days of Activism, Guyana’s government also recognises the need for long-term approaches and international cooperation and collaboration, as part of a comprehensive, holistic methodology.
In March, the UK’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security 2018-2022 was launched in Guyana. This international strategy seeks to reduce and eventually eliminate gender-based violence – particularly against women – by employing scientifically sound approaches, as part of the UK’s efforts to meet its declared international objectives and obligations in Guyana.

The five-year National Action Plan is built on four pillars: prevention of conflict and all forms of violence against women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations; participation with women equally with men with gender equality being promoted in decision-making processes on peace and security at all levels; protection and promotion of women’s and girls’ rights in conflict situations; and relief and recovery with women and girls’ specific needs met.

At the launch of that programme, First Lady Mrs. Sandra Granger lamented, “It seems not a single day passes without a report of someone being raped, brutalised, or murdered, usually by an intimate partner or previously intimate partner.”
In his remarks at that event, British High Commissioner to Guyana Gregg Quinn said that, “globally, one in three women are beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime.” He commented that, “beating your wife or girlfriend does not make you a man; it makes you a coward.”

Domestic violence is a persistent and major problem throughout the world and its effects are known. According to the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA), “Domestic violence damages the prospects for economic and social development of every country, not just the lives of the victims.”

Regarding the major cause of domestic violence, CAFRA said, “domestic violence has been described as “systemic and structural, a mechanism of patriarchal control of women that is built on male superiority and female inferiority, sex-stereotyped roles and expectations, and economic, social, and political predominance of men and dependency of women.”
CAFRA noted, “The 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and the 1994 Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belem do Pará) were developed to explicitly guarantee women’s right to live free from violence.”

Considering the fact that Guyana is known to have a major domestic-violence problem, and being signatories to numerous international treaties and conventions to eradicate the scourge, and most importantly, knowing that gender-based or domestic violence is a crime against the humanity of women, the initiatives, programmes, and various undertakings should not only be continued, but expanded and intensified.

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Alcoholism


The issue of alcohol and the massive damaging effects it is having on individuals and communities has once again been brought to the fore. It was reported in the media that, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), alcohol kills a whopping three million people worldwide each year — more than AIDS, violence and road accidents combined. It was stated that men are particularly at risk.
WHO’s Global status report on alcohol and health 2018, published recently, presents a comprehensive picture of alcohol consumption and the disease burden attributable to alcohol worldwide. It also describes what countries are doing to reduce this burden. And for those that are lagging, it explains what could be done to discourage the use of alcohol and possibly reduce the huge negative impact it is having on countries.
According to the WHO, alcohol causes more than one in 20 deaths globally each year, including drunk driving, alcohol-induced violence and abuse and a multitude of diseases and disorders. Men account for more than three quarters of alcohol-related deaths.
The report explains that alcohol drinking is linked to more than 200 health conditions, including liver cirrhosis and some cancers. Alcohol abuse also makes people more susceptible to infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV and pneumonia.
For young people, the numbers are even more alarming, with a full 13.5 per cent of all deaths among 20-29-year-olds considered to be alcohol-related, the study found. In comparison, HIV/AIDS was responsible for 1.8 per cent of global deaths in 2016, road injuries accounted for 2.5 per cent and violence for 0.8 per cent. Globally, an estimated 237 million men and 46 million women suffer from alcohol use disorders, WHO said.
Here in Guyana, there are many social ills affecting citizens, and alcohol abuse is seen one of the contributing factors. According to the WHO, the alcohol death rate for Guyana is 5.95 per 100,000 (globally ranked 70). This is still quite high and urgent action must be taken to further reduce this figure.
Due to poor lifestyle choices such as; alcohol abuse, tobacco use, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity, NCDs have resulted in large numbers of our young people dying. Another significant number have also fallen ill and therefore cannot contribute to their families or the development of their communities in any way.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was quoted in the media as saying that far too many people, their families and communities suffer the consequences of the harmful use of alcohol through violence, injuries, mental health problems and diseases like cancer and stroke.
According to The Caribbean Voice, an organisation that has been engaged in research etc in this field, alcohol is a trigger for abuse, especially gender based, child and sexual abuse. It explains that some abusers rely on substance use (and abuse) as an excuse for becoming violent – alcohol allows the abuser to justify his abusive behaviour as a result of the alcohol. Alcohol affects the user’s ability to perceive, integrate and process information. Further, the organisation points to other substantial costs to society include property damage, job loss and health service costs.
WHO is urging countries to do more to counter harmful drinking and to reach a goal of cutting global consumption by 10 percent between 2010 and 2025. It is also urging countries to tax alcohol and ban advertising of such beverages to reduce consumption. However, this is not enough, there is need to push for a change in attitude and lifestyle changes in general, especially amongst the younger segment of our population.
While the Government must play a crucial role in designing the relevant programmes and policies and putting in place the necessary legislative framework and other support mechanisms aimed at addressing the harmful use of alcohol, this burden must also be shared by other stakeholders too; such as religious groups, the private sector and other Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) etc.
It is hoped that the Government here, international development partners and other stakeholders will use this most recent WHO report on alcohol as a wakeup call to take urgent action aimed at addressing the harmful use of alcohol in this country.
(Guyana Times editorial of November 17, 2018)

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16 days of activism campaign against domestic violence planned


The Social Protection Ministry will be collaborating with Voices Against Violence to raise awareness on gender-based violence and the elimination of violence against women.
The awareness session will kick off on November 25 and conclude on December 10. The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanise action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.
In recent years, the voices of survivors and activists, through campaigns such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, #Niunamenos, #NotOneMore, #BalanceTonPorc and others, have reached a crescendo that cannot be silenced any more. Advocates understand that while the names and contexts may differ across geographic locations, women and girls everywhere are experiencing extensive abuse and their stories need to be brought to light. This is why the UNiTE Campaign’s global advocacy theme this year is: Orange the World: #HearMeToo.
Currently, more than 3700 organisations from approximately 164 countries participate in the campaign annually. Joining these organisations this year is Voices Against Violence, an umbrella entity comprising NGOs, FBOs, CBOs and other entities and activists, that is organising speak outs across Guyana. This effort has been endorsed by the Ministry, which is partnering with Voices Against Violence; the Women and Gender Equality Commission and Help and Shelter.
Organisations, groups and communities are urged to bring people together and have them share experiences, personal or otherwise, on gender based, child and sexual abuse as well as brainstorm on ideas to address these scourges. The idea is to create scope for victims to speak out since doing so is a form of catharsis that can also motivate and inspire other victims. Speak outs sessions do not need large attendance; 10 persons would be enough. And since this is about the attendees themselves, guest speakers are not necessary. Anyone can moderate a session. Organisers are urged to video the sessions so they can be used for sensitisation, advocacy and activism, while ideas can be gathered together and share with relevant Government Ministries and agencies as well as the media.

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Guyanese to speak out on gender-based violence


From November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Cam-paign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.

For far too long, impunity, silence and stigma have allowed violence against women to escalate to pandemic proportions – one in three women worldwide experience gender-based violence.

The time for change is here and now. In recent years, the voices of survivors and activists, through campaigns such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, #Niunamenos, #NotOneMore, #BalanceTonPorc and others, have reached a crescendo that cannot be silenced anymore. Advocates understand that while the names and contexts may differ across geographic locations, women and girls everywhere are experiencing extensive abuse and their stories need to be brought to light. This is why the UNiTE Campaign’s global advocacy theme this year is: Orange the World: #HearMeToo

Currently, more than 3,700 organizations from approximately 164 countries participate in the campaign annually. Joining these organizations this year is Voices Against Violence, an umbrella entity comprising NGOs, FBOs, CBOs and other entities and activists, that is organizing speak outs across Guyana. This effort has been endorsed by the Ministry of Social Protection, which is partnering with Voices Against Violence. Other partners include the Women & Gender Equality Commission and Help and Shelter.

Organizations, groups and communities are urged to bring people together and have them share experiences, personal or otherwise, on gender based, child and sexual abuse as well as brainstorm on ideas to address these scourges. The idea is to create scope for victims to speak out since doing so is a form of catharsis that can also motivate and inspire other victims. Speak out sessions do not need large attendance; 10 persons would be enough. And since this is about the attendees themselves, guest speakers are not necessary. Anyone can moderate a session. Organizers are urged to video the sessions so they can be used for sensitization, advocacy and activism, while ideas can be gathered together and shared with relevant government ministries and agencies as well as the media.

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Suicide prevention is so much more than just sharing a helpline number


SINCE its launch in 2015, mention has often been made about the Suicide Helpline, although stats are hard to come by even though releasing them could be an incentive for others to use the helpline. In any case, saving a life can’t solely rely on the person who is at risk, who will most probably never call the helpline; the person who would do so is the someone else, who is able to recognise that the person is actually at risk, someone such as a gatekeeper or lay counsellor who are trained to identify suicide warning signs. And this is so necessary in the context of Guyana, where there seems to be pattern of ignoring even the most obvious signs on the part of family and friends of those at risk; and/or dismissing suicide ideation as jokes and/or not being serious. Gatekeepers would also help others to be able to identify the warning signs and thus enable circles of understanding that all such signs must always be taken seriously, even if it means erring on the side of caution.

The issue of gatekeepers brings to the fore the concept of collaboration. This has been touted over and over and over by all and sundry, including the government, as the way to go in small economies such as Guyana’s; such economies cannot afford to roll out the comprehensive mental health and suicide-prevention infrastructure and supports. Collaboration is best exemplified by the Gatekeeper’s Programme, which arms communities with lay counsellors who can take proactive action to not only prevent the act of suicide, but to also address various forms of abuse.

The Caribbean Voice is getting ready to launch a national lay counsellor train the trainers programme next year. Since the government is best positioned to ensure the logistics necessary for such a programme, we will be reaching out to requisite government ministries, agencies and departments to seek partnerships. This will include help to bring on board NGOs, FBOs, CBOs, local government agencies and mass-based organisations; this is to ensure not only that the trainers are provided with the skill sets and knowledge base, but to also support them as they then seek to train gatekeepers in every community, once they receive their training. In effect, this can and should be a total collaborative effort.

Once signs are identified, scope must also be provided to such individuals to talk more and to give them a response that’s non-judgmental and really supportive. But this too calls for some basic training in emphatic communication and here again, gatekeepers come into play. In effect, we need to deepen the mental health literacy of our nation, to the point that people become self-aware of the triggers and improvers of their own mental health, as they are with their physical health. And this process starts with gatekeepers who can train others in their communities.

At a recent forum on suicide in Guyana, mention was made of the need for community-based services to tackle suicide. Well this process can start with gatekeepers who are the most critical cog in the wheel of suicide prevention at the community level. This is why too TCV is also extremely happy that the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), on September 17, launched a virtual course on suicide prevention for primary healthcare workers in the Americas, including the Caribbean. The course, which is free, self-directed and available in English on PAHO’s Virtual Campus for Public Health (https://www.campusvirtualsp.org/en/), is divided into seven modules; it is also based on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Intervention Guide for Mental, Neurological and Substance Use Disorders (mhGAP-IG) that includes evidence-based interventions to identify and manage priority mental health disorders, including self-inflicted injuries and suicide at the first level of health care.

The Caribbean Voice urges government to take the lead in providing scope to ensure that in addition to all primary health care workers, all social workers, welfare officers, teachers and outreach personnel, such as those engaged in youth or women empowerment, take this training. We encourage activists, NGOs, Faith-Based Organisations and Community-Based Organisations to also use this opportunity to gain the critical skills and knowledge to enhance their suicide-prevention activism. And we also urge all media to publicise the link and a message, urging the general public to take advantage of this training.
Speaking of the media, we note that Trinidad & Tobago recently launched its National Media Guidelines for Responsible Reporting on Suicide. While we are aware that significant changes in such reportage has been effected by the local media, reportage is still not where it should be. So we urge the crafting and launching of similar guidelines for the Guyanese media. PAHO has been instrumental in providing relevant training to the local media and its assistance can be harnessed in putting these guidelines together.

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Regulations governing NGOs need to be simplified


According to a recent letter in the local media, “people of questionable character are forming NGOs and going around the world under false pretence, professing to be doing all kinds of good service in Guyana when in reality no one in Guyana is benefiting from these entities”. In some cases, they have never been heard of here. Many of these institutions are collecting millions of dollars from members, donors, foreign and local governments, but there is no accounting of how this money is being spent.
Many NGOs in Guyana do not comply with either their own constitutions or the Friendly Societies Act which governs their operations.”
The Caribbean Voice is a New York-registered NGO and not-for-profit organisation with almost two decades of experience in activism. And from the very inception, collaboration has been the pivot on which we have been operating. Thus we have collaborated with the New York City Department of Education to sponsor an essay context for students; with NBC TV and the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry to raise funds for Caribbean hurricane victims; have held highly successful business and international awards; have published The Caribbean Voice magazine and newspaper for over a decade; have helped other Caribbean NGOs in the diaspora in myriad ways, including mediating internal problems and collaborating with other NGOs on social issues activism, especially abuse and suicide.
Thus when we decided to launch our Suicide Prevention campaign in Guyana, we used the collaborative approach with the National Suicide Prevention and Related Issues Conference held in August 15 in Georgetown, and this was attended by over 75 stakeholders nationally. We have since collaborated with numerous entities, NGOs, faith-based and community-based organisations, local and regional governments, mass-based and special-interest groups, and fellow diaspora NGOs.
All NGOs we have worked with are manned by volunteers who are caring, passionate and dedicated; who give so much of their time, effort and resources to make a difference every which way; and who are generally transparent with respect to both their work and the funds generated for such work.
So while there may be “People of questionable character professing to be doing all kinds of good service in Guyana when in reality no one in Guyana is benefiting,” TCV has no experience of such. If the letter writer is aware of such, we urge that he reports them so they can be brought to task before creating significant harm.
However, we are aware of entities registered as businesses but are promoting themselves as NGOs, and of a handful of individuals for whom social activism is a fashion statement and an ego-boosting excursion.
Also, we are aware that the cumbersome and burdensome Friendly Societies Act has brought a number of NGOs to a standstill, while impeding the work of others. So we believe that the regulations governing NGOs need to be simplified, and the registration process made easier and less demanding. Thus three persons should be sufficient for registration purpose, instead of the stipulated minimum of seven. As well, the process should easily facilitate not-for-profit and tax-exempt status, which is currently not the case. And there should be a simple procedure to facilitate diaspora-based NGOs to operate in Guyana as well as to set up local branches of their organisations. Currently, over 100 diaspora-based NGOs operate at some level in Guyana.
TCV also suggests there should be oversight to ensure registered businesses do not project themselves as NGOs, or fundraise as such. In fact, we also suggest establishing a data base/registry of NGOs, so all NGOs can be easily tracked and monitored and so that stakeholders’ collaboration can easily be built for any aspect of activism, such as suicide or abuse prevention, for example. This database/registry should be available to the public.
All NGOs should also lodge copies of their constitutions with the relevant Ministry, and user-friendly mechanism should be set to facilitate complaints and quick and conclusive investigations. While we do absolutely agree that transparency and accountability must be in place, we suggest that monitoring be standardised, so as not to be onerous and breathing- down-the-neck demanding. As well, anyone who supports charitable work and social activism via any NGO should not only have the right to demand accountability, but should be able to access same via the database/registry.

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