The Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), the mechanism that provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, hosted the Guyana Chapter of the Faith Leaders Consultation at the CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Georgetown Guyana.
The forum was held less than a month before the Joint Regional Dialogue with Faith Leaders, Parliamentarians, Civil Society Leaders, National AIDS Programme Managers and Youth Leaders which is scheduled for 24 and 25 April 2018 in Port-of-Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
The forum was hosted by Ms Lorna Mcpherson, Member Religious Steering Committee, Mr Dereck Springer, Director of PANCAP and Dr Edward Greene, PANCAP Advisor. Also in attendance were Bishop Francis Alleyne, Roman Catholic Church, Pandit Navindradat, Lilah Guyana Pandits Council, Fr. Carl Peters Priest, Diocese of Guyana (Anglican), Bishop Glenna Spencer, Methodist Church, Guyana, Mr Telford Payne, Representative Seventh Day Adventist, Pastor Natasha Corrica Bible Way Church and Pastor Ronald McGarrell Chairman, Inter-Religious Organisations (IRO).
Faith leaders continued deliberations on the actions and activities that remove barriers of stigma and discrimination and create an environment in which vulnerable groups can access health care. The Director of PANCAP also challenged faith leaders to organize smaller meetings in which key strategic actions that support vulnerable groups can be determined.
The Consultation was a follow up to the national and regional consultations, which commenced in 2017, with a number of regional activities scheduled for 2018. The first consultation held on February 1 and 2, 2017 in Port-of-Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, focused on the contributions of Faith Leaders toward ending the epidemic by 2030. It specifically addressed the recommendations from the UN High Level 2016 Political Declaration and agreed on strategies to promote healthy living for all age groups, addressed best practices, identified gaps to be filled, resources required and types of regional cooperation to be undertaken to implement recommendations from the consultation.