‘Families can build or destroy a child’s future’ –  Guyana ‘walks’ to eradicate child labour


In an effort to end child labour, the President of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG), Carvil Duncan on Friday reminded families that they play a role in building or destroying the children’s future.

Duncan was speaking at the Ministry of Labour’s first activity focused on eradicating the global issue. The ministry, accompanied by other organisations and agencies held a walk that started from the Parliament Buildings and then culminated at the Ministry’s Brickdam office. Several other walks will be held throughout the course of next week.

World Day Against Child Labour is observed annually on June 12. This year it is observed under the theme, “Social Justice for all. End Child Labour.”

According to Duncan, on many occasions, it is the family, the environment and their economic status that contribute towards child labour because they do not consider that when children are sent out to work, they encounter unscrupulous employers and other negative impacts that are stuck with them for the rest of their lives.

“Once you destroy the child, you destroy the child’s future and you destroy your future as well because who is going to take over when you’re gone?

“The child should be given the opportunity to go to school and educate themselves and turn out to be a good Guyanese to add to the nation’s productively and intelligently,” Duncan said.

Children and young people walk to raise awareness for the eradication of child labour (Photo: DPI/ June 9, 2023)

He noted that children are not to be blamed for the responsibilities placed on them by their families. Instead, he said the families must take it upon themselves to ensure that their children have access to a comfortable life and urged the children to refuse the families’ attempts to promote child labour.

“Don’t be afraid to say no. Even to your parents; because of economic issues, they may want to send you to work but you have to say no because if you don’t say no, you will end up being a delinquent, you might end up being a person involved in all kinds of activities and drugs are not left out.”

From left: President of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG), Carvil Duncan; Chief Labour Officer, Daneshwar Deonarine; Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud and the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Bishram Kuppen who participated in the walk (Photo: Ministry of Labour/ June 9, 2023)

Guyana has ratified key International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions that guard against child labour and has developed a National Plan of Action geared at eliminating the scourge completely by the year 2025. This is in keeping with the ILO and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF)’s push to end child labour.

Touching on the need for public awareness of child labour and the rights of children, Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud urged agencies to spread the message.

“Go back into the schools, do awareness in your schools; teachers and members of staff, organize seminars and activities where children can learn about their rights, learn about what is child labour, how it is defined and what Guyana signed on to and why they should not be part of anything that contributes to child labour,” Dr Persaud urged.

She emphasised that not all work a child is given can be considered child labour but noted that anything that disrupts their development and ability to become educated is.

This year, to further raise awareness and highlight the negative impacts of child labour, the ministry will also visit 25 schools to engage children and educate them of their right to say no and their right to an education.

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