The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) on Friday night launched its 2019 Harmony Campaign at the Pegasus Hotel.
It is the Commission’s hope that through the campaign, Guyana will be closer to achieving national harmony and good relations.
The Commission, which is mandated to promote unity across the various ethnic groups and address concerns about discrimination based on race, presented to those in attendance, the new layout of its website and a mobile application that can be used to make reports to the Commission.
Also, five public service announcements that will be aired on local television, were shown to the gathering.
The Commission also revealed posters with the themes – Tolerance, Legacy and Working together – along with the Harmony Passport, which bares several inspirational quotes and messages, new billboard designs for the year and a television show ‘I am us’.
The Commission also revealed its unity song which encompasses a fusion of Guyanese cultural backgrounds.
“It is the Commission’s hope that through you (the attendees) and the various organizations you represent especially the media…these messages will be reverberated across the country to put us on track to be within reaching distance of national harmony and good relations,” Commissioner of the ERC, Neaz Subhan said.
He added that “all Guyanese across the country must be seen as Commissioners with the mandate to promote harmony.”
Chairman of the ERC Reverend Dr. John Smith, in his address to the gathering, appealed to those in attendance to share the message of “one Guyanese nation.”
Representing the Government was Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr. George Norton who pointed out that Guyana is a multicultural society and its diversity is its strength. He added that the Government seeks to foster cohesion and harmony and this is an important ingredient for unity.
“It is the vision of the Government of Guyana…that we unite together to build a socially cohesive Guyana that all Guyanese can benefit…this Commission has certainly embarked like never before on a developmental trajectory in promoting harmony in our dear land of Guyana. I endorse this campaign.”
Representing the Leader of the Opposition was Juan Edghill, also a former commissioner of the ERC. He noted that there is a major problem with classism in Guyana, in both rural and urban areas. He called on the ERC to not just educate but to also monitor and investigate.
Edghill added that the ERC should not wait for chaos before they step in with efforts to bring peace but to continue to push national harmony.
He asked they monitor social media as it is used right now to sow discord among Guyanese.
With the passage of a No-Confidence motion against the Government in December 2018 and talks of early General and Regional Elections, several persons have taken to social media platforms, mostly Facebook to make racist remarks. Guyana is faced with the racism issues during every elections period as the country is led by two major political parties which have their grounding in two of the countries’ major ethnic groups – Indian and Afro- Guyanese, over the years.
To view the ERC’s new website visit www.erc.org.gy or download the mobile app with the search key MY ERC.