Mission Statement Of The Caribbean Voice
The Caribbean Voice Inc, aims is a non-profit, Caribbean Diaspora, community based organization resolved to encompass and reflect the many and varied sub groups – national, ethnic, cultural and linguistic - of the Caribbean world.
This organization would provide a range of services to include networking, information, technological, coping, self-expression, assimilation, cultural, social, celebratory, promotional, collaborative, developmental, creative, activist, advocacy and production. The underlying objective is to allow a forum and an avenue for people of Caribbean descent in the Diaspora to maintain connections with their roots while they manifest self-identity wherever they live as well as to connect with and work to empower the people of the Caribbean.
Against this background we will ensure that, as a segment of the multicultural Diaspora, we strive for visibility, impact and empowerment while we move forward as one community rather than disparate and fractured elements simultaneously maintaining our roots, our identity and our connection with the Caribbean.
The Caribbean Voice Background
The Caribbean Voice (TCV) is an NGO established in 1987 in New York State. Over the years TCV has published a newspaper of the same name, The Caribbean Voice, (the only global Caribbean newspaper and the only one that was engaged in investigative journalism in the Diaspora), organized The Caribbean Heritage Awards (http://www.caribvoice.org/CHA/cha.html) and The Caribbean Voice Business Awards, (both international in nature and neither ever reproduced by anyone, elsewhere), published an online global Caribbean news site (http://www.caribvoice.org/) participated in fund raising for hurricane victims in the Caribbean as well as provided free tourism promotion to hurricane ravaged Caribbean nations, organized an essay contest for New York City school students, provided a range of pro bono services to other Caribbean Diaspora organizations, participated in conferences in the US and the Caribbean, as well as trade shows, food festivals, music festivals and press familiarization trips. The Caribbean Voice was the leading provider and consultant for all things Caribbean in the Diaspora. Its articles were used as primary material by colleges, researchers and marketing companies and it was listed as among the leading Caribbean Diaspora entities in a number of prestigious publications.
Concerned about the high rate of suicide in Guyana and among Guyanese in the Diaspora, a group of Guyanese launched The Caribbean Voice (Suicide Epidemic) Facebook group in June 2014. The discussions that ensued led to a five year suicide prevention program, instituted by The Caribbean Voice. Initial research and content analyses of media articles over the years, led to a significant understanding about the realities of suicide and a letter writing campaign to the Guyana media. Also a press release was sent out to more than 300 international media and published in New York City's Daily News newspaper as well as many Diaspora publications. And, since June 2014, editorials and features in all the major newspapers in Guyana have focused on suicide and related issues. Additionally, a number of media personnel from various international and local media, have reached out to us for information to do programs on suicide.
Meanwhile, a Guyana core group was established to ensure continuity in our activism and implementation of plans since it was felt that suicide prevention cannot be tackled by once a year visits from the Diaspora to Guyana, but by ongoing and continual efforts.
In Guyana The Caribbean Voice can be contacted via with Bibi Ahamad at firstname.lastname@example.org, 621-6111 or 223-2637. In the Diaspora contact (Annan Boodram) can be made via email@example.com, 718-542-4454 or 464-461-0574.
The Caribbean Voice Structure
President: Annan Boodram: New York City based educator, social activist and journalist.
Vice President: Dr. Franklin Rodney, New York City based educator, minister of religion and psychologist/counselor
Amintnarine Rabindradat, Jersey City, New Jersey based Hindu priest;
Kwesi Oginga, Silver Spring, Maryland based pastor and author;
Devv-Daniel Ramdass, Surrey, England based mental health worker;
Hiram Kenneth Rampersaud, New York City based nurse
Tanuja Benni, New York City based media personality
Jeannette Sanchez, New York City based media personality
Board of Directors
Regan R. Persaud, New York City based entrepreneur
Dr. Shamir Ally, North Carolina based social activist, academic and author
Dr. Dawn Stewart, Guyana based entrepreneur, academic and social activist;
Dr. Rohan Somar, New Jersey based physician and business executive
Mohammed Harun, New York City based executive
Nazim Hussain, Guyana based media personnel, social activist and businessman.
Dr. Frank Anthony, Guyana based social and political activist, medical doctor
Sixtus Edwards, Guyana based CEO, engineer, counselor and social activist
Sham Tilak, Florida based businessman, philanthropist and social activist
Dr. Peter Ramsaroop, Guyana based businessman, philanthropist and social activist
Collin Haynes, US based based health care consultant and social activist
Guyana Core Group
Nazim Hussain - Director, Public Relations and Marketing Manager, businessman
Deodat Persaud, Regional Coordinator, Hindu priest and executive
Dan Ali - Regional Coordinator, medical student and social activist
Feona Sukdeo - Regional Coordinator social activist
Sandie Samantha Ross - Regional Coordinator social activist
Devina Samaroo - Media Coordinator, journalist
Keshnie (Chandanie) Rooplall - Youth Coordinator, social and political activist
Carol Ann Lovell - Assistant Youth Coordinator, college student
Chandra Balkarran Watson - Member, social activist
Dhanwantri Persaud - Member, educator
Ashley Scotland - Member, TV host
Christena Lallchan - Member, TV host
Cindya Khellawan - Member, youth activist
Melissa Ramdeen - Member
Devv-Daniel Ramdass: mental health worker, Surrey, England
Sixtus Edwards: counselor, Guyana
Banmattie Jean Ram: counselor, New York, US
Dr. Rodney Franklin: counselor, New York, US
Dr. Dawn Stewart: counselor, Guyana, US
Dr. Agnipha Green: counselor, New York, US
Jeannette Sanchez: counselor, New York, US
Lakshmee Singh: New York City based TV producer and talk show host
Terry Gajraj: US based singer, popularly dubbed the chutney king
Roger Hinds: Guyana based singer star
Ariella Basdeo: Florida based model and social activist
Shanaz Hussain: New York City based TV/radio producer and talk show host
WR Reaz: Guyana based media and entertainment figure
Satish Udairam: Florida based singing star
George Nandan: Florida based singing star
Plans for 2016 & Onwards
For 2016 and onwards The Caribbean Voice hopes to be engaged in the following plans:
➢ Sourcing a blimp that will be used at all major outdoor activities to deliver suicide prevention and related issues messages.
➢ Launching a billboard campaign aimed at putting up billboards in all ten administrative regions and then adding to those as resources permit. This is being/will be done in collaboration with Prevention of Teens Suicide (POTS) and other partners.
➢ Launching a regular TV program to reach throughout Guyana, aimed at developing awareness and disseminating information.
➢ Launching a National Schools Essay Contest for all schools in Guyana, in collaboration with other stakeholders.
➢ Persuading all media in Guyana to continually publicize the suicide hotlines and carry messages on suicide prevention and related issues. The Caribbean will produce video messages for TV – one has already been produced. A number of media are already on board with this.
➢ Persuading businesses to include suicide prevention and relates issues messages in their outdoor advertising.
➢ Fostering piggy backing so sports, entertainment and other types of activities can include suicide prevention and related issues awareness.
➢ Launching a walk & rally campaign to be taken to all 10 regions.
➢ Exploring the possibility of a definitive research on suicide in Guyana. One partner has indicated the intention to engage in such a research and again we hope the Ministry of Social Protection will partner to bring other relevant agencies on board.
Also, in collaboration with other stakeholders, The Caribbean Voice is lobbying/plans to lobby for the following via a in collaboration with other partners and stakeholders:
• A Registry of Sex Offenders.
• Counselors in every school.
• Peer counseling for all high schools. Perhaps ChildLink, which recently offered similar training to students of Bush Lot, Fort Wellington, and Number Eight Secondary School, Region Five, can be persuaded to spearhead this initiative nationally and the British Embassy which collaborated can be approached to do so for the entire campaign, along with other stakeholders.
• All children’s homes (including the NOC) to be monitored by the government to preempt abuse. Perhaps each should have an oversight community board.
• Ongoing, nationwide sensitization of parents to monitor the electronic footprints of their children – social media and phones in particular.
• Implementation a mechanism to ensure that abusers are still prosecuted even if victims refuse to cooperate.
• Establishing an abuse response unit in the police force to tackle domestic and child abuse.
• Licensing and monitoring of all daycare, child care and elderly care entities to ensure stringent standards of safety and security.
• The Ministry of Indigenous Affairs to incorporate suicide and abuse prevention and anti drugs and alcohol use/abuse into the one year training program for the Hinterland Employment Youth Project.
• Mental health training for all students at the teachers’ training college and for the social science and medical programs at the University of Guyana.
• Implementation of the QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer program) Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention: The Model, Rationale and Theory and inclusion of training relating to gender and youth based violence, as well as alcoholism and drugs.
• Separation of the suicide hotlines from the police force and extending the hotline network to all ten administrative regions. Also extending the hotline mission to include abuse and related issues.
• Sensitivity training for all police, teachers and health care workers
• Expansion and actively publicizing the He for She Program – a global gender equity program – across all Guyana, and involving NGOs and community based institutions in this endeavor.
• Investigation of and clamping down on the sources from which young people obtain cocaine and other drugs, as well as determining how these young people are paying for the drugs and, through the schools and community institutions, engaging parents in strategies to prevent their children from buying such drugs.
• An appropriate adaptation of the Shri Lankan Hazard Reduction Model or similar strategy aimed at significantly reducing suicides by ingestion of agro-chemicals and other poisons (steps underway via the proposed Pesticide Control Bill, are applauded but are not sufficient) and/or also giving consideration to one or more of the following:
o Japan had one of the highest rate of suicides in the 90’s and the subject was taboo. Major changes saw a reduction of suicides from 21.4 per 100k>>>12.7 per 100k and it continues to decline.
o Brazil has a model that promotes suicide and homicide prevention.
o Western Somoa Model (once called the suicide capital of the pacific) high incident rate from the ingestion of Paraquat a toxic herbicide.
o New Zealand Model, which promotes not only suicide prevention for those at risk but also providing care to those at risk.
• Further training and support for frontline workers in contact with people who may be at risk for committing suicides or addressing related issues such as domestic violence, child abuse and so on.
• A trail initiative to support communities coping with the stress of losing major sources of employment or industry. Finance is one of the major factor contributing to suicide, domestic violence and related issues, especially as it relates to males who are unable to provide for their families. A support group is highly encouraged in this area and the religious community can help to promote this.
• The Police Commissioner/Force to expand the Cops & Faith Initiative and the youth empowerment program, including the DARE program for school children, across the nation.
• Available space in buildings owned by NGOs such as NJASM (Port Morrant), Save Abee (Bush Lot, WCB) and Nirvana (Metem Meer Zorg) to be staffed by relevant ministries to offer counseling and empowerment and related services.
• Establishment of an alcoholic’s anonymous program to be set up nationally.
• Professional development for teachers to better support diverse learning styles and levels of academic preparation, provide vibrant and diverse opportunities for girls’ leadership, frame learning experiences within projects that strongly incorporate individual inquiry, teamwork, and concrete, real-world applications and address behaviors that reflect intense personal challenges.
• Programs to reduce the number of families who are poverty stricken, including equitable investment in programs and support for girls and young women. The government’s partnership with the FAO in this regards is commendable and should be embracing and long term.
• Mechanisms and oversight to eliminate the conditions that have led to Guyana’s exceedingly high rate of maternal deaths.
• Stocking all medical institutions with adequate amounts of rape kits as well as conducting timely DNA tests.
• Engagement of females and youth as co-authors of solutions to the challenges they face in their lives and developing gender and youth-specific and gender and youth-competent programming to meet their needs.
• Expansion of school-based sexual education programs to provide better options and supports to girls whose situations put them at particularly high risk of coerced, unwanted, or premature pregnancy and parenting.
• Placement of more social workers in every region and and increased publicity of their presence and roles.
• Establishing of support and safety networks for abused women so as to cushion any economic and social fallout of separating from their abusers and so that victims do not become imprisoned by economic dependency and helplessness, especially where children factor into the equation.
• Ensuring that each police station have a trained domestic violence/suicide prevention personnel or someone with basic training in mental health or social work.
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