Shadick tells of legislation targeting children, social issues
Guyana Chronicle
February 28, 2002

A DRAFT bill, which will revolutionise the laws pertaining to care and maintenance of Guyanese children, is to be taken to Cabinet shortly, Minister within the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security, Ms Bibi Shadick announced last weekend.

She was speaking on the weekly Government Information Agency (GINA) television programme ‘Answers’ broadcast last Sunday night.

Shadick said the legislation will target problematic issues such as the custody of a child in a divorce situation and the age of consent for sexual relationships, which is now 12 years.

She said she would suggest that the age stipulation be raised to age 16, because a young woman will then be more able to determine what she is doing.

Shadick said another area of concern to be included in the law has to do with what she described as “backtrack activities in the adoption process”.

According to her, there are many cases of overseas relatives wanting to adopt children with both parents who are capable of performing their duties.

The Minister said her Ministry would refuse to process most of such cases in which nothing is wrong with the biological parents.

Shadick also announced that plans are being finalised for the official opening of the ‘Drop-In Centre’ to provide services for children who frequent the streets at night.

That facility will offer counselling to the targeted beneficiaries and others who need it, in an attempt to return them to a safe and stable home environment.

Meanwhile, the Ministry is continuing to be involved, as well, in the truancy campaign that has, so far, led to a number of children being taken off the streets and put into homes.

The drive involves parents, to highlight the importance of children attending school, GINA said.