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Gov’t condemns vigilante violence – Minister Norton

The Government through the Ministry of Social Cohesion has strongly condemned the violence meted out to two young men by a group of villagers from Canal Number One Polder on Sunday last.

During a press conference on Wednesday (March 15) at his office at the Ministry of the Presidency, Minister of Social Cohesion Dr. George Norton, when asked about the recent incident said Administration denounces any form of violence against individuals.

The Minister said that whilst the matter is in the hands of the Guyana Police Force, officials of the Ministry will be visiting the community.

The Social Cohesion Ministry’s Strategic Plan, he explained, will address such issues as the aforementioned Canal Number One incident. He recalled that a similar occurrence in the Region Seven community of Agatash was dealt with through an intervention by the Ministry’s officials.

Minister Norton added that he expects Regional Officials to intervene, “with whatever help they and we are willing to provide that help” as they have conducted consultations and training sessions in more than 30 communities across Guyana.

The Ministry’s Programme Coordinator Sharon Patterson said that one of the issues emphasized by the Social Cohesion Ministry is the need for acceptance of diversity and, “this has been highlighted during several workshops.”

Asked about the silence from other political parties and stakeholders on the issue, Minister Norton stated that others need to raise their voices against the incident and others of a similar nature because “all are involved or all will be consumed.”

The Office of Professional Responsibility is now conducting investigations into the wrongful beating of Dameion Gordon and Vernon Beckles at Canal Number One Polder, West Bank Demerara. The two men, it is reported, were visiting friends in the area. They were severely beaten by several villagers who accused them of being thieves whilst hurling racial labels at them.

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