Georgetown, Guyana – (January 22, 2017) Minister of Social Cohesion with the responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. George Norton, today, commenced the first in a series of visits to institutions that fall under his purview. The aim of this exercise is to interact with staff to find out about the challenges hampering their work so that improvements can be made, as the Minister endeavours to ensure the efficient functioning of his sector. During the exercise, Minister Norton visited the National Archives, the National Cultural Centre, Castellani House and the E.R. Burrowes School of Art.
While at the National Archives, the Minister spoke of his growing concern for staff welfare and pledged his commitment to improving the conditions under which they work. “We are not here just to look at the structures, but to get to know the employees and knowing the conditions under which they work, whatever might be their concern… basically [we want to] foster better relations between the Minister and the workers,” Dr. Norton said.
Some of the issues affecting staff at the National Archives were the need for more storage space for documents, additional workforce, support in the conservation and documentation of records, an improved medical plan, the issue of staff contractual agreements and the advertising of events for that institution. The Minister also spoke of the implementation of an Archival Committee, which is to be submitted to Cabinet for approval.
After the meeting, the Minister was taken on a tour of the premises which was conducted by Archivist Ms. Nadia Carter. Dr. Norton visited the Conservation Room, where records are carefully readied for preservation; the Digital Archival Room, where documents are scanned and saved digitally and the Storage Room, which houses old official gazettes, decades-old newspapers, Government records, decades-old emigration certificates and past and present Guyanese and Caribbean written magazines and other historical records and documentations dating as far back as the 1700s.
After his visit, Minister Norton said that he is impressed with the work of the National Archives, particularly the digitisation of records. He then revealed that he plans to visit the Archives frequently, as well as other cultural intuitions that fall under his purview throughout the year.
Technical Officer of MoSC, Ms. Pamela Nauth and Director of Culture, Ms. Tamika Boatswain also participated in the exercise.