Women's Issues In Guyana

A ‘machismo’ sickness

Stabroek News – November 26, 2007

THERE was something quite special about this year’s observance by Guyana in joining with the rest of the world to mark the 26th anniversary of “International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women”.

It was not just the picture of togetherness (as shown, for example, in yesterday’s Guyana Chronicle) in opposing the evil of domestic violence against our women folk. Expressions of outrage came from government ministers, representatives of the main parliamentary opposition, women of the legal and other professions at Friday’s public rally at Parliament Building, as well as in statements from non-government organisations

Rather, it was the unanimity and coherence with which those voices were raised by various women’s, human rights and other organisations against what Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee has deemed “the silent epidemic” creating havoc in family life and negatively impacting on the wider society. (more…)


Get a life

Posted in Commentary,Culture & Society by wiig on November 25, 2006
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Stabroek News – November 25, 2006

Dear Editor,

RE: The letter `Vodka models’ in yesterday’s Guyana Chronicle

Mr. Kissoon needs to get a life.

His views on this issue are puerile.


(wiig note:  Here is a link to the letter in question as printed in Kaieteur News)

Manickchand signals tougher penalties for violence against women

Guyana Chronicle – November 25, 2006

MINISTER of Human Services and Social Security, Ms Priya Manickchand has called for a halt to the silence that confronts women and girls who are victims of violence, when they seek justice, safety and rehabilitation.

She issued the exhortation yesterday, while addressing a rally at Public Buildings, Brickdam, Georgetown, to mark the 26th anniversary of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Woman today, under the theme ‘The justice system must protect women from violence.’

Manickchand said violence against women is the world’s most pervasive human rights violation, more often ignored.

She said, although the Government is firmly committed to eradicating it in this country, women are still, sometimes, denied protection and persons who perpetrate such acts are rarely brought to justice.

“Even with all that has been done, even with the tireless efforts by many to curb this ill, I am deeply concerned that incidents of the various forms of violence against women continue to happen,” Manickchand lamented. (more…)

The trials of female sex crime victims

Kaieteur News – November 24, 2006

The way society treats female victims of sex crimes is an excellent indicator of the true state of gender equality in this country.

When male perpetrators are on trial for raping or sexually abusing women, courtroom proceedings across the country expose Guyanese society’s wide-ranging bias against females. In countless cases, females who are in court seeking justice for rape or sexual abuse have to endure an intense psychological bombardment oozing with pro-male bigotry. It is an excruciating experience requiring enormous fortitude. Even worse, there is no guarantee that by enduring it female victims will get justice.

The courtroom ordeals of female victims of sex crimes often result from the callous and bizarre tactics used by the lawyers for the alleged perpetrators to convince courts that the sex was consensual. It is most revealing that these tactics usually aim to destroy the character of female accusers by pointing to the way they dressed or behaved before and after the alleged sex crimes, or their sexual histories. Apparently, this is rooted in the spurious concept that it is excusable to rape females who dress or behave inappropriately. (more…)

Caribbean must acknowledge women’s rights • CAFRA

Posted in Activism,Gender Equality by wiig on November 23, 2006
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Kaieteur News – November 23, 2006

As male dominance and government helplessness continue an onslaught on women’s lives, it inadvertently forces enlightened women to adopt the feminist approach and build a wall of resistance that halts and transforms perpetrators.

This is according to a statement made by the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA), highlighting the plight of women as it relates to discrimination.

Under the theme, “Eliminating Discrimination -Protecting Women’s Human Rights”, CAFRA is preparing to observe International Day for the Prevention of Violence against Women, on November 25.

According to a release issued by CAFRA National Representative (Guyana Chapter) Patricia Hackett, extensive discrimination against women still exists within the legal system.

“In the region, newspaper headlines tell the tale of women brutally killed by their spouses when they attempt to flee abusive relationships,” the statement said. (more…)

Marketing with women’s bodies

Posted in Culture & Society by wiig on November 22, 2006
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Kaieteur News – November 22, 2006

Dear Editor,

The campaign to use women’s bodies to market products continues.

On Page 10 of the Kaieteur News of Sunday 19th Nov, 2006, there is a picture of one DDL Chairman Yesu Persaud surrounded by women described only as ‘vodka models’ and whose names seem not to be important, but who are sashed (and branded) `Ivanoff Blue.’

Guyana ‘s private sector seems to think that Guyana ‘s market requires women to ‘model’ around the brand and product.

The public funds which are being spent to reduce sexism in the society cannot compete with the private sector funds which are determined to reinforce the stereotypes which reduce women’s worth.

Those of us who love women know that alcohol use is an important factor in the removal of inhibitions which result in violence, including sexual violence. (more…)

Family of dead maternity patient files lawsuit against Dr. Sooknanan

Posted in Health Issues,Judicial by wiig on November 20, 2006
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Kaieteur News – November 20, 2006

The family of Debora Crawford, the maternity patient who died at the New Amsterdam Hospital in 2003, is filing a lawsuit against Dr. Narine Datt Sooknanan in connection with her demise.

An attorney for the family confirmed last night that a writ has already been filed in the High Court against Dr. Sooknanan and the Attorney General.

In August last, the Guyana Medical Council disbarred Dr. Sooknanan after an investigation found that he was responsible for Crawford’s death. (more…)

A perpetrator of domestic violence cannot bring honour and glory to Guyana

Posted in Crimes against Women,Judicial by wiig on November 11, 2006
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Stabroek News – November 11, 2006

Dear Editor,

The report in the SN of Nov 10 ‘Boxer Howard Eastman on wife assault charges’ shows the hypocrisy we have in Guyana towards domestic violence and violence in general. It is reported that Howard Eastman is being charged with domestic violence, but what is interesting is the report of Magistrate Chandan’s comments in which she says she would not want to hinder Mr Eastman’s chances of bringing honour and glory to Guyana? What does that mean? Surely the Magistrate could not think that a perpetrator of domestic violence would bring honour and glory to Guyana? Would that desire influence the workings of the magistrate’s courts? Would the magistrate’s court have been so considerate if Mr Eastman was charged with assaulting a police officer, or a magistrate, or the President? Wouldn’t there be more honour and glory in ensuring that the courts, especially those out of Georgetown are in order to ensure that perpetrators of domestic violence are quickly brought to justice. Could it not be perceived as hypocrisy when the wish is extended to wish him well in the fight. The man is in court on charges of one kind of violence, while he is being encouraged to go and do well in perpetrating another kind. No wonder we are in such a mess.

Yours faithfully,

Vidyaratha Kissoon

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