RCC calls on communities to be more proactive

Child Protection Week
In observance of Child Protection Week, the Rights of the Child Commission (RCC) has called for more proactive involvement of communities in protecting children.
During a press conference on Friday, Investigation Officer of RCC, Andre Gonsalves, is calling on the community to be more proactive as it relates to child protection.

From left: Nicole Cole, Commissioner of Women and Gender Equality; Commissioner Colleen Anthony; Suelle Williams, RCC Commissioner; RCC Chief Executive Officer Amar Panday; RCC Investigation Officer Andre Gonsalves; and ChildLink Guyana Programme Manager, Kean Chase at the RCC press conference

“I think we have to go back a little further to take a look at our community, and our community relationship with the family. Somewhere along the line, we are failing, our community is failing to support the institution of the family. We need some kind of intervention from that part.” Sharing the same view, Programme Manager of non-governmental organisation ChildLink Guyana, Kean Chase, disclosed that the community has a pivotal role to play in child protection. She emphasised that persons must recognise the institution cannot address the issue of child protection alone and appealed to residents of communities to be vigilant.
She highlighted in recent visits to Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), it was noted that the area has the highest case of child sexual abuse; however, many persons were unaware of the commission or where to lodge reports.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, Amar Panday, said that the agency has been involved in several activities with various organisations to enhance the livelihood of children throughout Guyana.
Some of the organisations which the Commission has been engaging include the Sophia Holding Centre (NOC), the Timehri and New Amsterdam prisons, several Regional Democratic Councils, and regional and district Hospitals.
He explained the recent Youth Ambassador’s Programme – an important development of the Commission along with its partners – was as a result of a critical recommendation made through the United Nations (UN) committee report to Guyana.
“The Youth Ambassador’s Programme is an initiative where children and young people, initially Regions Three [Essequibo Islands-West Demerara], Four [Demerara-Mahaica] and Five [Mahaica-Berbice] are trained to serve in their schools, communities and regions as youth ambassadors for child protection and education,” Panday is quoted by the Department of Public Information as saying.
Work was also conducted in all the regions, including the Indigenous and hinterland communities to educate residents on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The CEO disclosed that the Commission is also engaging the Guyana Police Force (GPF) with regard to the handling of cases involving children.
“We have been doing a lot of work with the Guyana Police Force. In many of its divisions… engaging with officers and ranks; providing capacity building, trainings and orientation as to what are the psychosocial and professional responsibilities of Police Officers when handling cases involving children,” he posited.
In light of the recent case of the late Leonard Archibald, Panday said the Commission is actively liaising with the Guyana Police Force to ensure his family receives justice.
The Commission is encouraging persons to lodge reports of child abuse at its office at 66 Peter Rose and Anira Streets, Queenstown, Georgetown, or through whatever means necessary.