ERC better equipped to carry out its mandate

–completes two-day capacity building training

DPI, Guyana, Friday, June 21, 2019

Forty-Two employees of the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) are now better equipped to execute their mandate. This follows the completion of a two-day Diversity Education and Inclusion Training conducted by the Department of Social Cohesion.

The capacity building exercise is expected to help the ERC to effectively promote harmony and good relations among all Guyanese. Chairman of the ERC, John Smith described the training as “excellent.”

Smith noted that the ERC is a constitutional body. He explained that when the commissioners were sworn in, they had a fair idea of their roles but with the training, they will be able to better execute the commission’s mandate. He highlighted that one area of focus was addressing the issue of stereotyping.

“I think we needed some orientation on what is expected but this training has opened our eyes to things that we needed to know,” Smith underscored. “Armed with our new knowledge, when we visit various workplaces, we can now better help them to avoid making the mistake of stereotyping persons based on mere assumptions.”

Danessa McCalman, a staff member of the ERC, described the training as a very good exercise. According to McCalman, with the knowledge she has acquired, “going forward I know better, and I can guide any of my colleagues who may be heading in the wrong direction. I can quietly call them aside and explain the sort of impact their action could have on others.”

Head of the Public Educational and Awareness Unit, Rene Chester also commended the training. He believes that it will help to build on the work plan and strategy of the ERC.  “A lot of the tactics that we were educated on, we will be able to add to our existing strategies that will aid in fostering a better unity amongst our people. There is strength in unity,” he stated.

Acting Programme Coordinator at the Department of Social Cohesion Natasha Singh-Lewis explained that the training exercise is critical since the ERC is a key stakeholder in unifying Guyana. Singh-Lewis noted that the Department along with the ERC will be collaborating on four projects geared towards promoting a united Guyana. These include folklore, cultural presentation, a three days activity focusing on youths and exploring the mandate of the ERC as outlined in the constitution.

Images: Abike Barker

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