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|Government happy to give $5M for Salvation Army Drug Rehab programme – Dr Ashni Singh|
|Friday, 22 June 2012 23:36|
-- programme achieves impressive results
THE Government of Guyana is soon to give the Salvation Army in Guyana a grant of $5M to help that charitable religious organisation offset expenses related to its Drug Rehabilitation Programme for the year 2012. Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh made this commitment on behalf of the Guyana Government yesterday during a mid-year visit to the Salvation Army’s Rehabilitation Centre at Lot 6 Water Street, Kingston, Georgetown.
Among those assembled to meet with and hear from Finance Minister Dr Singh were Divisional Leaders Majors Emmerson and Carolinda Cumberbatch; Rehab Programme Managers Majors Ulrick and Claudette Thibaud, and other officers of the Division; Salvation Army Chairman Edward Boyer, and members of the Advisory Board; Counsellors, and current clients of the programme.
Minister Dr Singh considers it a deeply gratifying privilege and experience to see the successes achieved through this programme under the excellent administration and leadership of the Salvation Army.
Under the leadership of former President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, the Guyana Government commenced giving the Salvation Army an annual grant of $5M to help fund that organisation’s not-for-profit drug rehabilitation programme, which has been doing remarkably well at rehabilitating substance abusers.
So impressed was President Jagdeo with the performance of the programme, over which he kept a watchful eye, that, in 2011, he acceded to the request of the Advisory Board to increase funding to meet the ever-growing needs of the programme.
The grant for 2011 was consequently doubled to $10M.
Government’s partnership arrangement with the Salvation Army Drug Rehabilitation Programme has its genesis in an end-of-year visit made by President Jagdeo to the Rehabilitation Centre, during which the Head of State was very impressed with what he’d seen and heard, and the impact that the programme was making in terms of reforming lives which were once on the brink as a result of drug addiction.
Yesterday, Dr. Ashni Singh recalled that, coming out of that visit, President Jagdeo affirmed that the Salvation Army’s Drug Rehabilitation Programme was the kind of programme government would like to embrace and participate in. And for the Salvation Army, and indeed the clients on the rehab programme, the Christmas Kettles Appeal Programme was always an eagerly-anticipated moment, since it was always at such a forum that President Jagdeo would announce the release of a subvention for the programme for the coming year.
Dr. Singh said the Salvation Army is known for its good works around the world, and in particular in Guyana. “And when organizations such as yours takes the initiative to confront social challenges and make the effort to design a programme that will assist in confronting those challenges, and implement it with such success, then that is something we applaud and we encourage,” the Finance Minister told the gathering.
For its sterling performance and outstanding work in the community, Dr. Singh acknowledged, the Salvation Army was last year conferred with the prestigious national award of Medal of Service (M.S.).
Dr. Singh also offered kudos to the clients who had successfully completed the programme. He related his experience of seeing, on his visits to the Centre, persons with personal challenges who once allowed themselves to be consumed by the problem; once having entered the programme, those persons mustered the willpower to confront their challenges and ultimately make a dramatic turnaround of their lives. Demonstrating strength and sticking with the programme to the end, those persons were able to get their lives back on track, be reintegrated into society, reunited with their families, and make meaningful contributions to nation building.
And on a note of encouragement to the clients on the programme, Dr. Singh cautioned, “I do not believe that any problem could be so serious that one should give up hope about overcoming. …and I believe that each and every citizen of this country has a contribution to make.” He said he would certainly like to see each and every citizen make a contribution to the nation.
The Finance Minister told the clients they were fortunate that such a programme exists in Guyana. He recalled that, in years gone by, there was no such programme here, and people (substance abusers) had nowhere to turn to. He further commended them for demonstrating the boldness, in the first place, to access the programme, and for demonstrating strength and more boldness to stay with it.
“I want to urge you to take that boldness…go through the programme; and as you exit the programme, restore yourselves to your rightful place in society.”
And to loud applause, the Finance Minister assured the clients that, regardless of what field of endeavour they pursue, their contribution is important.
“Whatever you do, I am saying to you that your government’s position is that you have an important role in society. You have an important contribution to make, and we want to see you make that contribution.”
Reassuring them that there is no limit to what they can achieve, he wished them success, and strategically admonished the men once more to complete the programme, reminding them that it is never too late to take the next step forward.
Meanwhile, Assistant Administrator Major Claudette Thibaud delivered the Vote of Thanks, in which she expressed profound gratitude to the Government of Guyana for their support to the Salvation Army and its Recovery programme; and to Dr. Ashni Singh for his continued interest in and words of advice to the clients.
Other speakers were Divisional Commander Major Emmerson Cumberbatch; Divisional Director of Women’s Ministries, Major Carolinda Cumberbatch; and Chairman of the Advisory Board, Mr. Edward Boyer, who introduced the Hon. Minister of Finance, Guest Speaker.