The 2016 El Dorado Awards exceeded expectations

Dear Editor,

The Caribbean Voice expresses our gratitude to Eddi Rodney for calling on Guyanese to support the El Dorado Awards in the December 31 issue of SN (‘Omissions from the El Dorado Awards’).  The 2016 award was successful beyond our expectations and we look forward to greater success for the third awards, scheduled for July this year. As one guest pointed out, the El Dorado is the only award that recognizes newer companies and smaller organizations that have been making a difference in so many lives. Honorees came from many regions, across cultures, religions, gender and ethnicity. Many of those honoured were given a national stage to recognize their work for the first time ever.

With respect to the names suggested by Mr Rodney, may we point out that 2016 was only the second year for the awards and that honorees are usually selected from among individuals and organizations that work on the social landscape to empower, enhance lives and make a difference. Furthermore, our focus is not on posthumous awards. Dianne McTurk’s award ended up being posthumous only because she died just before the event was held, but she was still alive when she was selected. While The Caribbean Voice is honoured to be the first to nationally recognize this pioneering activist, we join with others in calling for national recognition for her at the government level.

Meanwhile we do plan to keep in mind the names suggested by Mr Rodney and, in time, to hopefully get to them, one at a time. However, we must point out that Ms Annette Arjoon was among the first batch selected for recognition at the inaugural award, but she declined our invitation to be honoured.

Also we do agree with Mr Rodney that voluntary work in Guyana has often been limited in duration and scope, but we would like to assure him and others that The Caribbean Voice is here for the long haul and is in the process of establishing a national structure with coordinators and sub-groups in every region. In this respect we welcome anyone who would like to become involved in our suicide prevention and anti-violence campaign. We also welcome collaboration and invite NGOs and activists to partner with almost forty entities in our Voices Against Violence campaign.

As well, we do agree with Mr Rodney that “There has to be a broad-based attack on poverty as well as on domestic and gender violence that rejects the notion of the marginalisation of communities that are viewed as not part of a pro-government consensus.”

We take this opportunity to invite readers to check out our website – www.caribvoice.org ‒ for information on TCV and its work, links to our many social media sites, info about those involved with us and how you can be involved with our work. We also welcome suggestions, ideas, critique and constructive engagement. And we appeal to readers to be the eyes and ears of your communities and to reach out to us once the need for intervention and counselling arises. In fact, we urge that you err on the side of caution and communicate with us since it is better to be proactive in saving lives and preventing abuse.

We can be reached via FBIM, directly to us or anyone of our members, email at caribvoice@aol.com or to anyone of our members, phone calls at 718-542-4454 (North America) or to 644-1152 or 646-4669 (Guyana) or direct contact to any of our members. We respond to appeals for help 24/7. We also urge use of the Guyana suicide hotlines at 223-0001, 223-0009, 600-7896, 623-4444, email guyagency@yahoo.com as well as reaching out to other organizations that are engaged in anti-violence, especially addressing abuse and fostering suicide prevention – Monique’s Helping Hands, Help and Shelter, Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association, Krishndat Persaud’s Counselling Centre at Corriverton, Child Link, Guyana Foundation, Mental Health Unit at the Ministry of Health, the Psych Unit at Georgetown Public Hospital and the National Psychiatric Institution at New Amsterdam. Nothing is more important that the life and safety of a human being and The Caribbean Voice urges that no one should ignore warning signs, take them as ‘jokes’ or not being serious or disregard them as ‘not my business’. Suicide and abuse prevention are everybody’s business. And remember, suicide is not the answer.

Yours faithfully,

Annan Boodram

The Caribbean Voice

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