Walking in solidarity students, members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and employees of the Ministry of Social Protection, today lead a march against child labour. The event commenced at the Ministry’s Cornhill Street office and concluded with a rally at the Durban Park, Homestretch Avenue.
Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, with responsibility for Labour, Keith Scott urged the participants to “become their brothers and sisters keepers” and to aid the government’s mission to eradicate child labour.
“You [students] must, therefore, see yourself not only as future leaders but persons who are now today tasked with the responsibility to help in the fight to eradicate child labour, you are also tasked with the responsibility of being your brothers and sisters’ keeper… report those that are making children like ourselves work instead of receiving an education,” the minister said.
He stressed that education is of vital importance in the developmental stages of young people to achieve their goal. This includes being involved in extra-curricular activities among other factors that will enable them to be well-rounded individuals as opposed to becoming “victims of underdevelopment”.
Chief Labour Officer, Charles Ogle told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that the upcoming implementation of the National Child Labour Policy will soon reinforce the government’s plan to eradicate child labour. The Policy will focus on education, re-education and sensitisation on the issue.
Assistant Chief Labour Officer, Ministry of Social Protection Karen Van Sluytman-Corbin explained that “the objective of this walk highlights the plight of children engaged in child labour and to show that the ministry by extension the government of Guyana says no to child labour and we are committed to stomping it out from our community.”
She shared that the ministry will be distributing pamphlets in schools to raise awareness.
St. Winifred Secondary School pupil Lianna Peters told the Department of Public Information that she, “decided to join this walk because I think that child labour is wrong and letting a child work instead of going to school is not the ideal thing”
The government remains committed to its promise to eradicate child labour by 2025. The World Day against Child Labour was observed on 12 June under the theme, “Generation Safe and Healthy: End Child Labour”.
By: Neola Damon.
Images: Jameel Mohamed.