Secretary-General of the Commonwealth pays courtesy call to Hon. Dr. Vindhya Persaud, Minister of Human Services & Social Security

Rt Hon Patricia Scotland, QC Commonwealth Secretary-General met with Hon. Dr. Vindhya Persaud on January 12th, 2021 during her visit to Guyana.

In the candid and extensive discussion, the Secretary-General commended Minister Persaud on her holistic vision and excellent work through the Ministry. She extended the support of the Commonwealth Secretariat towards the achievement of the goals that were common in member countries.

 Sharing some elements of her vast experience with the minister, the Secretary- General encouraged Dr. Persaud to be part of a cohesive and collaborative network and equally benefit from work done in other countries.

Minister Persaud highlighted the work done over the past year, including helping vulnerable populations, tackling gender-based violence, women empowerment, gender roles and shared responsibility, programmes for men and boys, mental health, anger management, conflict resolution and many other new and innovative programmes.  

The conversation included the use of virtual platforms and ICT to share resources and expertise and to connect globally. The Secretary General explained her mandate to have a more action-oriented committee that revolves around shared experiences to accelerate positive outcomes on key global issues including women empowerment and gender- based violence, among others.

Hon. Patricia Scotland also commended the ministry’s GBV app iMatter.gy which includes a panic button to access help in an active emergency situation.

It was also noted during discussions on GBV, that while women primarily experience violence, it does not mean that men should be painted as all aggressive and violent. The causative factors were discussed and she noted that based on extensive research, many perpetrators have, in fact, experienced GBV within their home as children. They discussed the work that should include de-stigmatisation and the Secretary – General was delighted to learn of the inclusive models being used by the ministry to engage many people including FBOs, NGOS, youth and CSOs in tackling difficult social ills as well as the emphasis on community engagement.

Among other topics discussed was the WIIN programme, which offers free training to women and the comprehensive model that encourages self-development and financial stability.

Hon Patricia Scotland expressed her happiness that Minister Persaud was taking women from a state of dependence to independence.

Through these discussions, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the ministry are looking forward to productive and fruitful collaboration in many areas, where Guyana could benefit from the experience and resource as a member of the Commonwealth.

The Secretary- General was accompanied by Director and Head, Secretary-General’s Office-Mrs. Deborah Jamieson, Senior Director, Governance & Peace Directorate-Professor Luis Franceschi, Assistant Research Officer, Secretary-General’s Office-Mr. Francis Wanjiku, Assistant Research Officer, Governance & Peace Directorate- Ms. Fayola Fraser.

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