by Raphael Trotman, Hon. Minister of Governance
Official Opening of the Civil Society Policy Policy Advocacy Training
Greetings, and congratulations to SASOD and GEF for recognising the need for training to enhance the engagement among stakeholders on matters that affect everyone. The Guyanese Vulnerable Communities Capacities Strengthening Project funded by the EU recognises the importance of Civil Society organisations specifically targeting those with the most need, those who may be forgotten in our haste to achieve development targets and increase the economic wealth of our country and those existing on the fringe of society, unsure of their way in.
An active, vibrant, well informed populace is critical to ensuring that its interests are addressed by its leaders and civil society’s advocacy is the vehicle through which this goal can be achieved. Advocacy should not be seen however as an excuse for the trampling of the rights of others in an effort to achieve group goals but rather must be exercised with the intention of building relationships and strengthening democracy. Civil society organisations that actively work with the most vulnerable are best positioned to inform and guide the process towards the creation of public policies that are inclusive and effective.
The Government of Guyana is one for all peoples in this land and embraces active, respectful engagements with representatives of civil society in the creation of policies and in their implementation. The right to access to information and participation in the formulation of policies and programmes is enshrined in a number of our critical laws including the Access to Information Act and are being upheld by this new administration.
The development of Guyana depends largely on the ability of its diverse groups to collaborate and make decisions that move the country forward. As such, I call on each of you participating in this capacity building exercise to envision over the next two days how you can positively influence and impact the creation of a better Guyana, a more informed and cohesive Guyana.
We look forward to future engagements that will see public policy advocacy that result in Guyana achieving the greatest good for its people.
Best wishes for fruitful discussions and tangible outcomes.