Monday, February 25, 2019

LGBTQ+ Movement Celebrates Social Justice Day with Closing of Police Training

Marking World Day of Social Justice on Wednesday, February 20, 2019, Guyana’s Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD Guyana) and Guyana Trans United (GTU) celebrated a milestone in their collaboration with the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Ministry of Public Security with a closing ceremony of the first phase of training workshops on Gender, Sexuality and Human Rights.

The ceremony was held at the Guyana Police Force Officers’ Training Centre. In attendance were Deputy Police Commissioner (Administration), Paul Williams, DSM, representing Commissioner of Police, Leslie James, DSS, and Lead Training Officer, Senior Superintendent Fizal Karimbash, representing the GPF; Mikiko Tanaka, United Nations Resident Coordinator, other members of the diplomatic corps, public officials, officers of the GPF, and civil society representatives, and sexual and gender minorities.

Mr. Clement Henry, Manager of the Citizens Security Strengthening Programme at Ministry of Public Security, delivered the feature remarks. Mr. Henry discussed the necessity of this type of training to address pervasive discrimination in Guyana at its core. The first series of two-day workshops entitled “Gender, Sexuality, and Human Rights” facilitated by SASOD Guyana and GTU began on January 21, 2019, and sensitized 143 officers from all the divisions across the country. The training was designed to educate officers on basic human rights, sensitize them to the unique needs of vulnerable populations, including gender and sexual minorities. The pre/post-test results from the first phase of the training have shown a marked improvement of the police officers’ knowledge and understanding of diversity issues.

Clement Henry, Manager of the Citizen Security Strengthening Programme at Ministry of Public Security, delivering feature remarks.
Deputy Police Commissioner, Paul Williams, DSM, spoke on behalf of the Commissioner of Police. He reiterated the GPF’s commitment to continuous education for the eradication of discrimination and the protection of human rights. Mr. Williams remarked on the necessity of collaboration and training for collective progress, and endorsed subsequent phases of this collaborative training programme. He voiced optimism for an inclusive and respectful Police Force and stated “that there must be no discrimination.” The Deputy Commissioner told the gathering that the GPF would welcome posters on LGBTQ+ human rights for display at every police station in the country that would remind the officers of their commitments to equality and respect for gender and sexual diversity, based on this training intervention. 

Deputy Commissioner (Administration) Paul Williams, DSM, speaking on behalf of the Guyana Police Force.

With ongoing support from the Ministry of Public Security and the Guyana Police Force, this training programme will be extended to more members of the GPF on a broader scale in the coming months. This project is being supported by Frontline AIDS’ Rapid Response Fund and the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition’s Global Fund Regional HIV Grant.

Representatives of the Guyana Police Force, Ministry of Public Security and SASOD Guyana at the closing ceremony.

Friday, February 08, 2019

LJP visits SASOD

Lennox Shuman, Presidential Candidate and Leader of the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) visited Guyana’s Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD Guyana) on Friday, February 1, 2019, at their office at 203 Duncan Street, Lamaha Gardens, to introduce LJP and share the party’s values and vision for a Guyana which is inclusive and respectful of gender and sexual diversity. Meeting with Managing Director Joel Simpson and Human Rights Coordinator Valini Leitch, Shuman and Sean Dublin, Senior Member of LJP Executive, also invited SASOD Guyana to review and comment on the party’s draft constitution, especially its provisions on human rights and social justice.

In the photo (from left to right) are Sean Dublin, Joel Simpson, Lennox Shuman, and Valini Leitch.