Georgetown, Guyana – (August 1, 2015) Minister of Social Cohesion, Amna Ally charged the members of the Freedom Life Ministries and by extension all religious communities in Guyana, to play a leading role in the fostering of national unity and social cohesion. The Minister gave this charge when spoke at the Freedom Life Ministries Church's 7th anniversary thanksgiving service.
Speaking to a packed congregation, Minister Ally said, "Under the new administration the quality of life for all Guyanese is important. Guyana is for all Guyanese and the Ministry of Social Cohesion will concern itself with measures that will bring and hold people together as a society …All races should feel a sense of belonging to his and her community and the country.”
She added that social cohesion is needed to ensure that Guyana reaches its full potential. She told the church that their message is not only the congregation in the building, but rather, the communities in which they are based. She called on them to use their influence to reach out to and interact with community members, with the aim of fostering national unity.
"We want to promote useful and productive relationships within and among groups at the community level. It is not helpful for us as a people when groups in the community disagree and cannot find common ground for working together. My ministry wants to build trust and where healing is needed, create an environment for this to happen and move forward. It is time for a new beginning. We can do this if we hold hands [and] put our hearts together," she said.
Minister Ally said that the Church has always played a critical role in bringing people together, healing and cooperation.
"As a church, you should bridge the gaps. Our adults and young people must mix. We cannot be aloof and expect to win the community. Sometimes the church needs to be sensitive to the needs of the community. The elderly who need a little help; weed a little grass in their yard, assist in whatever way you can. All of these things help to foster social cohesion...We want to be able to create and sustain a cohesive society. All members of society must be able and motivated to participate in social, economic and political activities," she expressed.
"We are ending division and disparities in Guyana and we are working towards this with your members and the church Board," Minister Ally said. To this end, the Minister said that she is prepared to make the resources at her disposal, available to them so that the mission of national unity can be accomplished.
"As the church you can partner with us. You can do so by consulting with our ministry on avenues and opportunities to foster cohesion. We can guide you in this regard. I am prepared to make the expertise and officials at my office available to you to work with your church to foster cohesion," Minister Ally told the Church.
While the first phase of programme work of the Ministry of Social Cohesion is focused on reducing disparities, inequalities and social exclusion in Guyana, in the second phase, programmes and projects that are designed to strengthen social relations, interactions and ties at the community and a national level, will be undertaken.
"This latter dimension is designed to embrace all aspects which are generally considered as the social capital of our society. We want to see people work together, trusting each other and to contribute to the welfare of others," he said.
The Minister related that the quality of life for citizens is a major aim for the new government and it is with this in mind that the ministry is carrying out its mandate.
The Ministry of Social Cohesion wants to ensure that whatever we do, we respect each other. We must not see those differences as barriers, separating and dividing us," Minister Ally told the Freedom Life Ministries.