Local religious bodies designate December 9--
‘Day of Atonement and Reconciliation for the Healing of the Nation’

Guyana Chronicle
November 21, 2002

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CONCERNED over the disturbing crime situation in the country, religious organisations have designated December 9, 2002 as a "Day of Atonement and Reconciliation for the Healing of the Nation."

The observance, which is sponsored by the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) and other churches, would take the form of a Human Link, stretching between the headquarters of the two main political parties -- the People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R), Sophia, and the People's Progressive Party/Civic, PPP/C), Robb Street.

According to Mr. Ray Thakurdyal, First Vice Chairperson of the Guyana Council of Churches and Chairperson of the December 9 event, the actual link will take place between 10:00 and 12:00 hours, during which period there will be a vigil. However, the assembling of participants at various points will commence from 8:30 hours.

At noon on Monday, December 9, a pre-distributed statement from the Inter-Religious Organisation will be read by all persons in the link. This statement will be made available to all political leaders as well.

According to the IRO, the objectives of the event are:
** To bring together people of various persuasions to speak with one voice and pray with one heart for the situation in Guyana.

** To strengthen and re-awaken the traditional sense of Guyanese community in which we are our sisters’ and brothers' keepers.

** To encourage Guyanese to embrace the richness of our ethnic and cultural diversity and eschew in ourselves and others, speech and action that would threaten our common good, and

** To remind all our political leaders of our expectations and confidence in them to lead us in a manner that would translate our National Motto into reality.

The religious organisations are inviting and encouraging Guyanese of all religions and members of the general public to participate in this event.

The IRO, at a Press conference held at the Muslim Youth Organisation's Headquarters on Tuesday, noted that Guyana has witnessed an unprecedented crime wave in the past months. Murders, robberies, rapes, car-jackings, kidnappings, drug-related violence have occurred with a frequency and viciousness that leave Guyanese reeling in shock, it said in a statement issued at the briefing.

It added that fear, uncertainty, insecurity, helplessness and frustration, have inundated the Guyanese people for the better part of this year, and that death and violence continue to stalk the land.

Noting that race relations and unity are under siege, the IRO said that tolerance, hospitality and friendliness, known to be an integral part of the Guyanese way of life, are now in danger of becoming mere memories.

An "unhealthy political environment" exacerbates the situation...The prevailing situation of increased crime rate and political stalemate is having serious negative impacts on the country's economy, and migration is on the increase. Notwithstanding, the Guyanese people are resilient, it observed.

The IRO believes that Guyanese of all social, political, religious and ethnic persuasions, want, and have a right to expect and enjoy peace, unity, security and all that contribute to the good of life.

The people are looking to the political leaders to lead with wisdom, magnanimity, vision, and out of an abundant concern for the good of Guyana, the IRO said.

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