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Ethnic Relations Commission
66 Peter Rose & Anira Streets, Queenstown, Georgetown, Guyana
Tel. +592-231-6479, 231-6473,
231-6281, 231-6265
Fax: +592-231-6246

July 24, 2009

ERC concludes four successful Women’s Workshops

The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) today concluded four women’s workshops which were held in Regions Three and Four as part of the Commission’s strategic priorities for the year 2009 and also in keeping with its mandate of “Promoting Harmony and Good Relations”.

The first workshop was held on July 21, 2009 at the La Chalet Country Club, Soesdyke Linden Highway and attracted approximately 75 participants from several communities along the East Bank Demerara and Linden Soesdyke highway.

The July 22, workshop at the Grand Coastal Inn, Le Resouvenir, East Coast Demerara attracted approximately 95 women from Cummings Lodge to Mahaica while the workshop held on July 23 at the Aracari Resort sought the participation of approximately 75 women from 28 different communities in Region Three.


Participants of the Region Four, East Coast Demerara Women's Conference in discussion at the Grand Coastal Inn.

The final workshop which was held today at the Duke Lodge in Kingston, Georgetown, attracted approximately 44 women from 15 organisations in the capital city. This has brought the total to approximately 300 women whom the ERC interacted with over a four day period.


Chairman, ERC Bishop Juan Edghill addressing particiapnts at the Georgetown Women's Workshop held at Duke Lodge.

The aim of the workshops was to provide a forum where women from all fabric of society can come and freely express their thoughts, opinions, and views on issues affecting them, particularly with respect to harmony and good relations and also make recommendations for the improvement of their communities in this regard.  

In his address to the women at these conferences, Chairman of the Commission Bishop Juan Edghill explained the role of ERC in promoting harmony and good relations in Guyana and added that the Commission has over the years been actively involved in community dialogues and national conversations with all religious and community leaders, politicians, youths and civil society. The ERC Chairman was also the facilitator of the workshops.

Commissioners Carvil Duncan and John Willems who were also present at the conferences told their audiences that the ERC targeted women because they are influential persons in society and that it is important for them to understand their roles as mothers and as such they were asked to share their views on how to create a better Guyana for all.

Short films were shown; the Little Red Dot, which encouraged all to appreciate each other’s culture and differences and how to deal with persons who are racists or make racist remarks to others, the Guyana Skit which showed Guyana as a boat and highlighted the need for unity and cooperation to move the country forward and Dinner for Two, an animated film which had a similar message.

After the presentations, the Chairman initiated a discussion with the gathering on their understanding of the films and the messages behind the stories, how it applies to Guyana and what can be done to improve our communities and villages. At the end of each meeting the women were urged to make a private commitment to themselves to change their lifestyles, families and communities and be a paradigm of change in society.

It should be noted that when the participants were asked: (a) What kind of Guyana do you desire? (b) What are the obstacles in achieving this? (c)What are your recommendations? All of the answers from across the regions were similar.

“We need a Guyana where everyone respects each other for who they are, where there is tolerance for each other, where there is effective communication, where there is peace, love, harmony and unity amongst all, where every Guyanese is treated equally.”  The women highlighted.

However, the approximately 300 women gave their commitment to playing their role in ensuring peaceful communities where the people live in harmony, working together and are united.

The ERC is a permanent Constitutional Body enshrined by Constitutional Amendment Act No. 11 of 2000 which amends Article 212 D to provide for the establishment of an Ethnic Relations Commission. The Commission continues to perform its mandated functions in the areas of public education and awareness, investigation, conflict resolution and research.

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