Georgetown, Guyana- (August 8, 2015) Minister of Social Cohesion Amna Ally, too her message for a unified Guyana to the residents of the Essequibo Islands- West Demerara,  Region 3, on Friday, August 07, 2015.  Minister Ally said that the role of her ministerial office is to ensure that the reality of the country’s motto of “One People, One Nation, One Destiny” is achieved and that national unity prevails.
The session, which was held at the Vreed- en- Hoop Community High School, also allowed participants the opportunity to give their input for the formulation of the action plan.
Addressing the small gathering, Minister Ally said that the Ministry was established since President David Granger wishes to see a more cohesive and cooperative society; one in which racial discrimination, hostility and segregation are things of the past.
This was later supported by a young man in the audience, who said that it is the people who must change themselves if the ministry’s work is to bear fruits.
The gentleman, who only identified himself as Mr. Sankar, in praising the efforts of the Minister and her Ministry said that the problem lies in the way Guyanese view themselves. He noted that in every other part of the world, people identify themselves as a nation of the country without saying to what race they belong.
Sankar said that this was the total opposite in Guyana, where citizens declare themselves as “Indo Guyanese” or “Afro Guyanese” and this must stop.
“We need to first stop identifying ourselves as Indian and Black and see everyone as Guyanese. We can go very far if we do this. No other part in the world do you hear people identifying themselves like that and look how they stick together, especially in the Caribbean. I am a proud Guyanese and if we see each other like that, we will get rid of racial tensions. Let us see each other as Guyanese and not as an Indian or Black man,” the man expressed to much applause and murmurs of agreement.
Ally said that her Ministry wants to achieve that vision but it was entirely dependent on the communities, the individuals and the citizens to make this a reality. In this regard, Minister Ally explained that communities and villages must first learn to cooperate and appreciate each other’s differences before it becomes a national effort.
“Your relationships in the community are important. We want to promote useful and productive relationships within and among groups at the community level. How you relate to neighbouring communities, regardless of your ethnic background is also important. You have the clear responsibility to foster unity among diverse populations and create a vision for a common future that pivots on the acceptance of differences with a view to harvesting the strengths that are inherent in diverse societies… You can make a positive change in our country,” the minister told those present.
She  further noted that when citizens; individuals and groups alike, fail to find common ground on issues that affect their development, the country is ultimately affected. In this regard, she said that her Ministry wants to build trust among communities and for that to happen there must be behavioural changes and the creation of an atmosphere for peace and acceptance.
Those attending the consultation were presented with the opportunity to share their opinions, concerns and to ask questions. Residents welcomed the exercise in the Region, while they pointed out ways in which citizens can become involved for the fulfillment of the social cohesion mandate.
Among the problems shared, were the need for playgrounds and recreational facilities for the youths. Minister Ally promised to look into in while the residents too assured that they will be doing whatever possible to ensure that the mandate of the Ministry is fulfilled.
The event was attended by Mr. Sheik Ayube, Vice Chairman of Region 3, Mr. Vidyaratha Kissoon, Writer and Social Commentator, Mr. John Adams, Member of Parliament and Sharon Patterson, Project Officer, Ministry of Social Cohesion.

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