Guyana setting up task force on child protection
Guyana Chronicle
June 26, 2004

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GUYANA is in the process of establishing a task force on child protection.

That’s the word from the Office of the President.

Information Liaison to the President Robert Persaud said yesterday stakeholders who met with President Jagdeo Thursday will meet again on Monday to finalize plans for the launching of the task force and determine specific areas of its work.

The task force is being set up against the backdrop of calls for government to revise the age of sexual consent upwards from 13 to between 16 and 18 years.

A GINA release yesterday quoted Information Liaison to the President Robert Persaud as saying after Thursday’s meeting that “the meeting accepted the President’s proposal for the establishment of a task force to address the issues of child abuse, including legislation to increase the age of consent.”

The meeting, at the Office of the President, was attended by First Lady Varshanie Jagdeo, Minister in the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Services Bibi Shadick, Attorney General Doodnauth Singh, Ms. Indra Chanderpal, and Ms. Philomena Sahoye-Shury, National Director of community Development.

Representatives of the Guyana Human Rights Association, the Guyana Red Cross, the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association and children’s, women’s and human rights groups also attended.

“It is expected that the task force will hold public consultations countrywide and, within an agreed framework, report back to the President so that immediate implementation efforts can commence,” Mr. Persaud said.

Questions about the age of consent surfaced earlier this month after news spread about a businessman allegedly having an intimate relationship with a 13-year-old girl.