Georgetown, Guyana – (February 1, 2018) Minister of Social Cohesion with the responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. George Norton, today, said that he is confident that Guyana can become a more peaceful and loving country if citizens demonstrated the same respect that they have for religion to other aspects of their lives. The Minister made these comments at the Prayer Breakfast to usher in the United Nations (UN)World Inter-Faith Harmony Week, which was held at the National Cultural Centre, Homestretch Avenue, Georgetown.
Minister Norton said that he agrees with the view expressed by President David Granger, who in his remarks at last year’s observations, said that Guyana is” a model of inter-faith harmony”. He then encouraged the invitees to teach their peers, especially children, to demonstrate love towards each other and to respect each other’s diversity. “I am confident that if we apply the very tolerance and respect we have for religion, to other areas of our lives, then Guyana can become the epitome of peace and love,” he said.
Today’s activity to commemorate the occasion was spearheaded by the Inter-Religious Organisation of Guyana (IRO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Cohesion, under the national theme, “Fostering Social Cohesion in Guyana”. The colourful programme included the recitation of prayers from Hindu, Faithist, Rastafarian, Muslim, Baha’I and Christian groups as well as from the Arreuya Group of Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region Seven). Greetings were also conveyed to the audience from members of the Alliance for Change and the A Partnership for National Unity.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland, Minister of Public Telecommunications, Ms. Catherine Hughes, Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Jaipaul Sharma, Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Ms. Valerie Garrido-Lowe, Mayor of Georgetown, Her Worship, Patricia Chase-Green and UN Peace and Development Advisor, Mr. Srdan Derick also attended the event.
World Interfaith Harmony Week was first proposed at the UN General Assembly on September 23, 2010 by His Majesty, King Abdullah II of Jordan. It was unanimously adopted in October of that same year. It started as an initiative to bring together leaders of the Christian and Muslim faiths in dialogue, but was later expanded to include all faiths.