Justice Institute Guyana and ChildLinK are deeply concerned about the public behaviour demonstrated during Mashramani that may be damaging to the mental and physical wellbeing of children.
Children should not be exposed to an atmosphere which showcases drunkenness and sexually suggestive acts that have been noted in previous Mashramani festivities. They should be taught decency, self respect and self control. Instead, they are encouraged to ‘wine up’ or to watch adults gyrating in sexually suggestive ways. Drunkenness is also accepted as desirable and normal behavior during Mashramani, especially in the music. How is a child expected to value his or herself when national celebrations are teaching children that degrading behaviour is desirable?
In addition to the moral and spiritual harm to the child, there is the risk of physical injury. We wish to remind those involved in the music industry that noise induced hearing loss begins at 85 decibels, a level of noise which is exceeded significantly by large speakers located on floats or by the roadside. The noise has a disproportionate impact on children whose bodies are still growing and developing.
The Rights of the Child Convention, which is incorporated in our constitution, reminds us that “…the child, by reason of physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection…” Therefore, we call on the Guyana Police Force to ensure that all music is kept below 85 decibels. We ask disc jockeys not to play music which promotes violence and sexual licence. Finally, we ask all parents to ensure that children do not suffer the embarrassment of an intoxicated father or mother.
While we join with our fellow Guyanese in celebrating our 37th anniversary as a Cooperative Republic, it is incumbent upon us individually and nationally to protect our children from harm.