Faith Leaders’ Consultation convened in Guyana on ending HIV-related stigma, discrimination
PANCAP convened the Guyana Faith Leaders Consultation, on 3 June 2019, at the CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown, Guyana. The meeting formed part of a series of regional meetings with faith leaders under the PANCAP Justice for All Programme. Bishop Michael E. Perreira, Senior Pastor Eccles Assembly of God and Member, Regional Consultative (Religious) Steering Committee, chaired the meeting with the support of PANCAP Director Dereck Springer and PANCAP Advisor, Dr Edward Greene.
- Faith leaders agreed to incorporate HIV messages into their faith-based work and planned activities
- Director of PANCAP Dereck Springer challenged the meeting to utilise youth groups/ clubs to propagate messages about ending stigma and discrimination
- He noted that HIV messages could be integrated into the holistic education of youths, especially awareness about other social issues, including teenage pregnancies, illegal drugs, etc.
- Faith leaders agreed that stigma and discrimination continue to be significant barriers to vulnerable groups accessing health and that there is an urgent need for more education on the matter.
- Bishop Pereira urged faith leaders to take ownership of events and activities to promote HIV awareness and ending stigma and discrimination.
- Dr Ronald McGarrell, Inter-Religions Organisation of Guyana (IRO) and Family Federation for World Peace, indicated that the IRO had designated a communications focal point who will be responsible for receiving information on HIV awareness and disseminating the knowledge to all representatives within the IRO.
- Faith leaders agreed to work with the National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS) concerning information and knowledge sharing as well as working in communities to end stigma and discrimination.
- Finally, faith leaders reached consensus on working with the IRO on activities developed to sensitise Guyanese on HIV-related stigma and discrimination.
Present were Pastor Orin Bruce, Eccles Assembly of God, Bishop Francis Alleyne, Roman Catholic Church, Rev. Dr Ronald McGarrell, Inter-Religions Organisation of Guyana (IRO) and Family Federation for World Peace, Pandit Chaman Lall Poonai, Arya Samaj in Guyana, Mrs Omadai Prashad, Guyana Oneness University, Bishop Peter Koulen, Guyana United Apostolic Mystical Council, Ras Simeon Selassie, Guyana Rastafari Council, Ras Kahfra, Bishop Chaitram Lall, Assemblies of God, Ms Lorna McPherson, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Guyana, Pastor Joseph Inniss, World Vision New Testament of God, Rev. Noel Holder, Guyana Congregational Union of Churches (GCU), Mr Telford Layne, Seventh Day Adventist, Father Carl Peters, Anglican Diocese of Guyana, Captain Wilkings Buissereth, The Salvation Army, Ms Lisa Mae Agard, PANCAP Regional Coordinating Mechanism (RCM) for the Global Fund Project and Dr Rhonda Moore, National AIDS Programme Secretariat (Guyana).