The best quote I have read among dozens in relation to Father’s Day while preparing for this article is this: “By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” At lunch during last week, my elder son, who has a nodding respect for my legal acumen, even though it (the legal acumen) is at best modest, if it has even reached that level, and who consults me frequently, pronounced once again that he has a dim view of politicians. I asked him what about his father. Without missing a beat, he responded: “No exceptions.” On the other hand, my younger son, who has a less positive view of my legal skills, and perhaps he is closer to the mark, but who consults me far more frequently than his elder brother, is interested in politicians, political developments and political history. He maintains a keen interest in the political life of his grandfather.

Father’s Day celebrates and honours fatherhood and emphasizes the importance and influence of fathers in society. The day is generally celebrated by children recognizing the importance of their fathers in their lives by showering him with gifts, their favourite food and much affection. Whether they say so or not, they recognize and reward their fathers for being present in their lives, for ensuring their well-being as children and for guiding them through life. The celebration cannot be achieved without generous assistance from the mothers, particularly where the children are not yet adults and do not have the resources to purchase gifts or mount a celebration. It’s a family affair and reinforces the unity and strength of the family.

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Most of the reports on domestic violence describe it as prevalent. Statistics are not reliable because of under reporting. Nevertheless all of the experts and activists in this field agree that the statistics that are available suggest that domestic violence in Guyana is extensive and deep rooted. The incidents of domestic violence against women and children over the past five years or so suggest that it has now reached epidemic proportions, notwithstanding a large number of government and non-government agencies which are doing dedicated work to reduce or prevent domestic violence. Domestic violence seem to be getting more gruesomely spectacular with each passing year.

While there can be substantial improvements in the services offered by both government and non-government bodies with the appropriate amount of resources, the impression of some observers is that the problems are too entrenched and in segments of society which are either not reached by agencies or, if reached, are impervious to the programmes normally deployed. It is believed that it is in these sections of society that the vast majority of incidents of domestic violence take place. Clearly the strategies adopted must take into account this fact and should target these communities in a more creative fashion.

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