Young people of Fort Island and surrounding communities warned about the abuse of drugs
Facilitated by the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport, and Region Three’s Culture Youth and Sport Division, the communities of Fort Island, Lower Bonasika, Bendaff and Hubu in collaboration with the National Amerindian Development Foundation (NADF) last week began the observance of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (World Drug Day) early by shouting a message of ‘No to drugs!’
This rally took place at one of our country’s heritage sites on Fort Island in the Essequibo River. There was an awareness session during which Ms Hazel Wilson, a regional officer; Mr Cleveland Somrah, a teacher from Uitvlugt Secondary School; Mr Ray Kumar, the district representative from Leonora; Ms Zalifa Debedin, headmistress; Ms Charlene Ward and teacher Ms Roma of Fort Island School and myself spoke. The objective of the session was to make youths knowledgeable about the effects of drug use and abuse.
There were messages on the banners carried by those who attended; it was a well-organized rally taking into consideration the challenges of logistics and geography. The event ended after a fierce debate on the topic: ‘Drugs are the leading cause of unemployment and suicide’ where the proposing team took the prize. I took the opportunity to allay fears that support for riverain communities is thought by some to be non-existent, and pointed to the fact that the presence of residents at the activity proved the opposite. The National Amerindian Development Foundation also pledged its continued support for programmes designed to help our riverain youths. It is hoped that similar activities will become possible targeting isolated communities to make them more aware of topical events and issues.