Task force on children's protection to be set up soon -GINA
Stabroek News
June 30, 2004

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The country's first ever task force on children's protection and welfare will be established shortly, the Government Information Agency (GINA) has reported.

This follows a meeting convened last week by President Bharrat Jagdeo with relevant governmental and non-governmental agencies to discuss the protection of children from abuse and the general enhancement of their welfare.

Among those who attended the meeting at the Office of the President were the President, First Lady Varshnie Jagdeo, Human Services and Social Security Minister Bibi Shadick, Legal Affairs Minister Doodnauth Singh, Indra Chandarpal, and National Director of Community Development, Philomena Sahoye-Shury. Among the agencies represented were the Guyana Human Rights Association, the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association and the Guyana Red Cross Society. Also present were representatives of various children, women and human rights groups in the country.

According to GINA, Information Liaison to the President, Robert Persaud, in an invited comment, said that following discussions on the various issues relating to children's welfare and protection, "the meeting accepted the president's proposal for the establishment of a task force to address the issue of child abuse, including legislation to increase the age of consent." The age of consent has become a burning issue in the aftermath of a court case involving a businessman and a 13-year-old girl.

"It is expected that the task force will hold countrywide public consultations and within an agreed timeframe report back to the president so that immediate implementation efforts can commence," GINA quoted Persaud as saying.