The Ministry of Social Cohesion this morning opened a two-day Conflict Management Workshop for the Rastafarian community at the Racquet Centre Boardroom on Woolford Avenue.
The aim of the workshop is to provide ideas and resources for effective peacebuilding; assist the participants to understand that conflicts can be managed; that there are opportunities for individual and collective growth; and to enhance the skills needed to work in peacebuilding and reconciliation at the community level.
Programme Coordinator of the Department of Social Cohesion, Sharon Patterson said the department is aware that conflict is inevitable and it is about finding approaches to manage and deal with these as they arise.
“We have recognized that there are enough issues with the vision for cohesion and harmony for our country. The vision is one day there will be a unified Guyana where our differences or diversities are embraced, conflicts are resolved, relationships and building those relationships is emphasized and decision-making processes lead to equal opportunities and benefits for all. Hence, this programme is intended to be a critical part of our work programme,” Patterson explained.
The Department of Social Cohesion has held more than 70 two–day training programmes in diversity, education and inclusion throughout the regions of Guyana since 2016.
These sessions, she added, have seen some results in terms of behavioural changes at the community level.
Chairperson of the Rastafarian Core Group, Ras Khafra highlighted that the Rastafarian community has its own share of intra-community and major intercommunity conflicts with the other communities with its use of cannabis for cultural and religious purposes.
Some of those issues have resulted in court cases and therefore, the community is currently engaging the society to have its rights recognised and respected with the amendment of narcotics legislation.
Khafra urged his colleagues to fully participate in the training and to learn as much as possible and make the right decisions on behalf of their communities so that progress and development would come.
By: Ranetta La Fleur.