May 17, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – The government of Guyana is proposing to repeal its Mental Hospital Ordinance in order to replace it with a Mental Health Protection and Promotion legislation which will include jail time and hefty fines for persons who are found guilty of abusing or abandoning a person with mental illness in their care.
The Bill was first presented last month and will be debated and is expected to be passed today when the National Assembly meets.
It was explained that the legislation being proposed is “to provide mental health care and treatment for persons with mental illness and to protect, promote and fulfill the human rights of those persons during the delivery of mental health care; to provide for the establishment of the Mental Health Board; to repeal the Mental Hospital Ordinance and for related matters.”
According to the offences created in the new legislation being promulgated by Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony, any person who commits any act of cruelty to, abuse or willful neglect of any person with a mental illness commits an offence.
In such a case, the offending individual would be liable to summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $1M or to imprisonment not exceeding six months.
As it relates to the abandonment of a person with mental illness in an individual’s custody, the new legislation proposes “any person who intentionally abandons a person with mental illness that is in their custody, care or protection commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $1M or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.”
Additionally the proposed law stipulates that it shall be an offence for any person who interferes with or obstructs any person in the execution of their duties under the legislation.
Notably, ignorance cannot be used as defence under the proposed law. According to section 65 of the proposed law it shall not be a defence for a person charged under any of the provisions “that the person did not know or had any reason to believe or to suspect that the victim was suffering from a mental illness.”
It was noted too that despite the intention to repeal the Mental Hospital Ordinance, any act done under that legislation prior to the commencement of the proposed replacement would remain applicable.
With the coming into effect of the new law, it would also see the setting up of an 11-member Mental Health Board.
That body will consist of a psychiatrist, an attorney-at-law, a person nominated by the Attorney General, a person nominated by the Minister of Human Services and Social Security, another nominated by the medical profession, a social worker or counsellor, a person with clinical psychology and a human rights specialist.
The others to make up the board would be ex officio members, namely the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Nursing Officer.
Additionally, there would be a place on the board for a user of mental health services and family member or caregiver of a person with mental illness.
Importantly, the legislation dictates that the Minister of Health “shall appoint one of the members of the board to be the Chairperson.”
Jun 27, 2022Fans can grab their seat for as low as US$6 for exciting white-ball matches ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Cricket West Indies (CWI) yesterday announced that online ticket sales have gone live via the new...
Jun 27, 2022
Jun 27, 2022
Jun 26, 2022
Jun 26, 2022
Jun 26, 2022
Kaieteur News – In my compound, the huge garbage truck was facing me and I just needed a tiny space on the parapet... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]