The township of Linden will soon have its first women’s shelter and two new community centres following an agreement between the United States Security Co-operation Office (SCO), the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), and the Ministries of Communities and Public Health of Guyana.
The New Horizons Team, a team of personnel attached to the US Embassy and the US Army in collaboration with the Linden Mayor and Town Council will be constructing the two new centres at Amelia’s Ward and Blueberry Hill, and the new women’s shelter at Richmond Hill.
The turning of the soil ceremony to kick start the project was held Thursday at Central Amelia’s Ward, Linden.
Minister of Social Protection Amna Ally in her feature address said the ceremony represents the first act of greater things to come. She is confident that the community centres will provide a safe space for persons to meet and will give generations a place to come together and interact.
The women’s shelter, she added, will provide secure accommodation for women and girls who are at risk of or have been subjected to violence.
“I am certain that the residents of Linden will make good use of these centers upon their completion… We know that domestic violence in Guyana continues to be a challenge and has had serious impacts on a lot of women and can impede the socio-economic development of not only communities but the nation as a whole.”
“There are many women and children in Guyana that don’t have that safe place. However, this women’s home will be a refuge and a safe haven for our women and girls,” Minister Ally explained.
According to Minister Ally, the Government is cognizant that shelters are essential in local and global efforts to end violence against women and will continue to work and invest resources to ensure that shelters are available to women in all the regions in Guyana.
United States Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch noted that this is the third time the New Horizons is executing a project in Guyana. She stated that this collaboration speaks volumes to the United States’ commitment to build and sustain enduring relationships with partner nations.
“It’s a commitment that does not weigh in because we know that by sharing our values, challenges and responsibilities, we forge partnerships that increase the region’s overall stability. Our partner’s success is our success…This year’s New Horizon’s efforts provide invaluable knowledge and unmatched hands on knowledge,” Ambassador Lynch remarked.
She further noted that the exercise capitalizes on its bilateral nature creating a unity of effort for both the US and Guyana to address shared challenges such as in the area of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
By the time the exercise concludes many hundreds of Guyanese will directly benefit from its medical outreaches and construction projects.
Chief of Staff, GDF, Brigadier Patrick West expressed his satisfaction of the military to military bilateral cooperation between the US military and GDF, which has seen the fruition of critical projects.
West explained that without the efforts of both militaries to ensure bilateral arrangements are strengthened, projects such as these that benefit a wide cross-section of our section may not become a reality.
“We are building the foundation laid by our predecessors to promote not only military relationships and increased military core competencies but increased, interoperability and humanitarian assistance. Today, as we have noted there, is an increase in domestic violence and I’m heartened that the shelter is a priority project. The realisation of this shelter signals that men and women in uniform are there to offer support and understand the issue,” Brigadier West stated.
The project was also welcomed by Mayor of Linden, Wanika Arrindell who noted that both the community centres and women’s shelter will significantly benefit the township. (Extracted and modified from Ministry of Social Protection)