High suicide rate still plagues Baramita


Baramita is one of the largest indigenous settlements in Guyana and suffers from a number of societal problems that contribute to the high suicide rate.

Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr George Norton addressed the issue on Monday.

He said the community of Baramita in Region One has been suffering for years and still continues to suffer.

“The scourge of suicide in that community still exists,” Minister Norton said.

He was speaking at a meeting on Monday with the Ethnic Relations Commission to put collaborative efforts in place so as not to duplicate the efforts of the two agencies.

“Many of us might not be aware that in Baramita, that little Carib village in the North/West border of Guyana and Venezuela…we had one suicide every six weeks taking place for almost four years,” he stated.

Natasha Singh- Lewis, Programme Coordinator, Department of Social Cohesion

Minister Norton further said: “We had the youngest attempt suicide – six years [old] – the youngest successful attempt at suicide was eleven years [old], both females.”

Minister Norton, speaking when he was Minister of Public Health, said the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the Public Health and Social Cohesion Ministries took the role in going into the community and forming youth clubs.

“Our priorities are getting the best of us at the expense of a Guyanese community suffering over the years.”

With the village also being on the Guyana/Venezuela border and with the amount of Venezuelan migrants crossing the border over two years now, Ethnic Relations Commissioner, Ashton Simon questioned the safety and security of the village.

The Commissioner said, “I think that we have to look at Baramita with more attention than any other place now in Guyana, because it has a national risk in it.”

According to Natasha Singh- Lewis, Programme Coordinator, Department of Social Cohesion, a representative is working with the Global Fund Project in Baramita.

And last year December, the Department started to implement community projects to help young people and the community.

“We sought to establish youth groups and sport groups. I know those groups were formed and sporting equipment was given to the groups to develop.

“I know we developed a relationship with the Toshao for that village and we are continuing to work with them,” Singh-Lewis said.

The Minister of Social Cohesion said he will continue to work with Baramita and the country as a whole for a better society.  

“I say this from deep down inside, we are involved and we will not give up on that community.”

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