Guyanese support sex offenders registry, believe unemployment can drive suicide

Guyanese overwhelmingly support the establishment of a registry of sex offenders. This was one of several findings in a poll commissioned by The Caribbean Voice and conducted in June and July. And although most Guyanese seemed unaware that attempted suicide is a criminal offence, they significantly agree that it should be decriminalized.
Other findings include significant support for mandated counseling for all persons with mental health issues who appear in courts to answer charges; all health care workers and educators be mandated to report any and all forms of abuse or suspicion of abuse and all police be trained to appropriately handle abuse and suicide cases.
Below are the stats relating to the poll:
Should government establish a registry of sex offenders?
Yes No Not Sure/No Response
90 2 8
Should attempted suicide be decriminalized?
Yes No Not Sure/No Response
74 8 18
Should all persons with mental health issues in front of the courts be mandated psychological evaluation?
Yes No Not Sure/No Response
88 4 8
Should all health care workers and educators be mandated to report any and all forms of abuse or suspicion of abuse?
Yes No Not Sure/No Response
82 6 12
Should all police be trained to handle abuse and suicide cases?
Yes No Not Sure/No Response
86 4 10
Lack of awareness that attempted suicide is a crime seems to be because the law is not enforced but survey respondents were very vehement in calling for it to be taken off the books. They also felt that the system is failing those who become suicidal and that significant efforts to prevent suicide have not been made by government. As well they believe that suicide is greater among the poorer segments of the population driven especially by alcoholism and unemployment. Thus they are calling for counseling to be provided free of charge, across the nation, as the charges would become an additional burden on victims. Many also feel that suicides and suicide victims should not be publicized since this could also compound the problem.
Unemployment indeed seems to lead to depression and suicidal mindsets, based on TCV’s interactions with many, especially young people, who have contacted us seeking help to obtain jobs. They often detail their struggles with depression and suicide ideation. While we do refer some to individuals we feel might be able to help, in almost all cases, the help never materialized, in spite of the promises made. TCV is of the view that suicide wise this a disaster waiting to happen. So we are wondering whether there is a mechanism in place that we can refer these persons to access. Perhaps the media can publicize any info relating to a referral system for these young people. Requests have come in from many different regions.
Coordinated by pollster, Dr. Vishnu Bisram, the poll had a sample of 1010 respondents (410 Indians, 304 Africans, 182 Mixed, 102 Amerindians, 12 others), which yielded a demographically representative sample of the adult population. Voters were polled randomly to make it as representative as possible with respect to varied age, class, occupational, residential and religious statuses as well as of ethnicity, educational levels and geographical diversity.
The results of the poll were analyzed at a 95 percent significance level and a statistical sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points was found. This means that in theory, in 19 cases out of 20, the results based on such a sample will differ by no more than 4 percentage points in either direction from what should have been obtained by seeking to interview the whole voting population. Sampling results based on subgroups (such as Indians or Africans have a larger potential sampling error).

Table 1: Racial Composition of Polling Sample 1010
Race Number Percent
Indian 410 41
African 304 30
Mixed 182 18
Amerind 102 10
Other* 12 1
* Includes Portuguese, Chinese and all other ethnic categories.

About caribvoice

Free lance journalist, educator and community activist. Guyana born New York based.
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