PPP regime assaulting professional Guyanese women

When leadership fails to reflect sound moral values, the natural order of society will fall into disarray. It has been twenty-seven year since US first lady Hilary Rodham Clinton at the UN World Conference on Women, declared in Beijing that “Women’s Rights are Human Rights”. among these rights is the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex or any physical peculiarities. These rights inform our basic laws as Guyanese and are entrenched in our Constitution and the Prevention of Discrimination Act 1997.

History has taught us that governments that care for their people, activate such words laid on paper into binding actions. In the context of the Government of Guyana, the opposite can be said. Guyana has four former First Ladies living. Mrs. Yvonne Hinds, Mrs. Varshnie Singh (nee Jagdeo), Mrs. Deolatchmie Ramotar and Mrs. Sandra Granger. Former President Jagdeo and wife went through a bitter public divorce, with the First Lady complaining of emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of her husband and those in his government.

In 2015, PPPs Minister of Health Behri Ramsaran, who is now advisor to the Minister of Health, was fired after mounting pressure from women rights bodies and the international community. The then disgraced Minister of Health had threatened physical violence of a sexual nature to a women’s rights activist, forcing the then President Donald Ramotar to issue him the marching orders. In the said year, the PPP government came under heavy criticism after it dismissed Magistrate Geeta Chandan-Edmond, mere hours before she was scheduled to sentence the Prime Minister Samuel Hinds’ son, who goes by the same name. The former Prime Minister is now Guyana’s Ambassador to Washington D.C. Hinds Jn. was convicted by the magistrate for a vicious beating he inflicted on his teenage sister-in-law while brandishing a firearm.
More recently, violence was inflicted on Guyanese women with the demotion and dismissal of professional Guyanese women occupying senior offices including Audrey Jardine-Waddell as the top ranking Foreign Affairs Officer. The assault on the dignity of women even extended to the Parliament of Guyana. Opposition M.P Sarrabo-Halley laid a complaint with the Guyana Police Force in 2021 against PPP’s Member of Parliament (MP) Kwame McCoy. The complaint disclosed that McCoy armed himself with a cellphone and hit Sarrabo-Halley on her head in an isolated walkway outside the Parliament chambers. While that incident was away from the public’s view, PPP Minister Nigel Dharamlall, while contributing to the National Budget last February, told a female Opposition MP to get a dildo, forcing the other members of the House into silence and shock.
While the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) and the wider civil society condemned the remarks of the minister which were streamed live on national television and across Facebook, the PPP government ignored the call for the minister’s dismissal. Instead, Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir suspended MP Sherod Duncan after he rose in defence of the female members of the House, in defiance of the Speakers request at that moment for the House to forget the issue and move on with the day’s business. Additionally, the  assault of a 23 years old female rank of the Guyana Defence Force this week, is a brief reminder of how weak moral leadership can perpetuate into society and lead to disorder.
The achievements made by bodies such as Red Thread, Help and Shelter, GHRA, among other organizations, stand to be overshadowed by the escalating amount of violence perpetrated on women by physical and emotional means. This attack on women has been interwoven into the policy making fabric of the PPP government, which still regard women as subjects of the moral values of men. Such is the recent call of Dharamlall, to defrock or strip two female Appeal Court judges whose ruling did not reflect his views about election laws. Similarly, on March 1, 2022, employees in the Ministry of Education and other government agencies administered by PPP installed heads, released several memos permitting” “females” to wear their hair for one day only. in a manner they please.
The PPP have determined that day to be March 8, 2022, which happens to be International Women’s Day. This blatantly sexist agenda of the PPP must stop, for it violates the very dignity of women. Women must be free to define their comfort and design their appearance. The PPP by granting this one day “hair freedom” is demonstrative of its continuous disdain for professional women. A woman’s right to wear her hair in the manner on any given day should not be the subject of policy making. A woman’s right to choose how to wear her hair is an inalienable human right.
More, In The Ring.