Women's Issues In Guyana

Congrats Minister Manickchand!

Posted in Commentary by wiig on November 24, 2007
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 Kaieteur News – November 24, 2007

Dear Editor,

I write to fulfill a long overdue promise to publicly congratulate Minister Priya Manickchand for her courage and commitment displayed in tackling the scourge of sexual violence at this most precarious time.

Many months ago, I had approached the Guyana Human Rights Association about giving voice and action to its publication “Justice For Rape Victims: Reform of Laws and Procedures in Guyana ”, and was advised by Mr. McCormack that the Minister of Human Services and Social Security had pledged to address the issue.

I thereafter spoke to the Minister herself, offering the AFC’s support in moving the GHRA work forward, and she asked me to be patient as she was working on an initiative that would address the problem of sexual violence frontally, and comprehensively.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that initiative unveiled as the “Stamp It Out!” document and follow-up consultations. (more…)


Some 127 groups petition to reform Sexual Offences Act

Posted in Legislation by wiig on November 24, 2007
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Stabroek News – November 24, 2007

To date 127 non-governmental, civil society and religious organisations have called for major reforms to the Sexual Offences Act.

The reforms include a gender neutral definition of rape and for sentencing options to include compensation and rehabilitation.

A press release the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) issued in advance of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which will be observed tomorrow, listed organisations such as cooperative societies, community development groups, sports clubs; churches, mandirs, temples, mosques and other religious groups; youth groups, trades unions, orphanages, schools’ classes, old students organizations, citizens with disabilities and women’s groups as supportive of the proposed changes. (more…)

Manickchand calls for ongoing national conversation on sexual violence

Posted in Legislation by wiig on November 24, 2007
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Stabroek News – November 24, 2007

The ongoing Ministry of Human Services’ consultations on sexual violence should be seen as the start of a national conversation, which should continue even after the Act is passed, Minister Priya Manickchand said yesterday.

The Government Information Agency (GINA), in a press release, stated that the ministry’s consultation at the Guyana International Confer-ence Centre, Liliendaal yesterday attracted the largest gathering of over 250 persons from about 40 organizations. The participants made recommendations on the sexual violence paper ‘Stamp it out’ during the session.

Presentations were made by Manickchand, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack and Prime Minister Samuel Hinds.

The consultation coincided with observances to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which will be observed tomorrow. The release said Manickchand, in her presentation, noted,

“Government alone cannot do enough to end the violence, every citizen should join in the battle”. (more…)

Offenders must do time

Posted in Commentary by wiig on November 24, 2007
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Guyana Chronicle – November 24, 2007

Dear Editor,

The consultative approach by the government to ensure citizens’ inputs are taken into consideration for the reform of the Sexual Violence Act must be commended.

I have been following what has been brought to the fore by the persons attending the meetings and I believe they have been raising pertinent issues. I was happy to hear the Minister in charge of the meetings saying that she will take the recommendations seriously. This consultative approach could only augur well for our country.

Guyana like so many other countries is affected by sexual violence, and the effort to change the laws to ensure stiffer penalties, I believe, has long been in the making. Now that it is actually here, I would like to urge all Guyanese to make their contributions so that we can have effective laws.

Sexual violence must stop. Offenders must do time for the crime.

Emily Patterson

I am disturbed

Posted in Commentary by wiig on November 24, 2007
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Guyana Chronicle – November 24, 2007

Dear Editor,

I am disturbed to read about the number of horrific crimes of sexual violence that are occurring in our society, especially against young children and women.

One can only imagine the hurt that families of the victims go through after having knowledge that a member of their family has fallen victim to such sick crimes.

Individuals who commit such acts must be punished and held accountable in our courts. However, I am glad to see that the government through the Ministry of Labour and Human Services has launched a plan called “stamp it out” to tackle this serious problem.

The national consultation on “stamp it out” is an initiative that would lead to rigorous laws against individuals who commit crimes of sexual violence.

Undoubtedly, there needs to be a vigorous approach to fight sexual violence in our society and the government has recognized this fact, in order to make a difference.

Alicia Martin

Sex offenders’ names, photos should be published -residents urge at Region Seven “Stamp it out” consultation

Posted in Legislation by wiig on November 23, 2007
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GINA – November 23, 2007

Residents of Region Seven have called for the photos and names of persons guilty of committing sexual offences to be published during a consultation on November 22.
Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Priya Manickchand told the gathering at the St. John, the Baptist Primary School that the Government is seeking the input of all Guyanese to reform the laws dealing with sexual violence. The Minister said that sexual violence affects everyone regardless of their age and gender and needs to be addressed immediately.

Residents said that sexual violence is prevalent in their communities especially in the riverain areas. It was noted that most of the perpetrators of rape and sexual molestation of children are not known in the society.


Exploiting need and poverty – and real rape victims

Posted in Commentary by wiig on November 23, 2007
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Frankly Speaking A.A. Fenty

Stabroek News – Friday, November 23, 2007

…After the rape I had promised to return to the plight if genuine rape victims; the embarrassment, harassment and challenges they face – in society and in our westernized court system.

Then up came Tuesday’s Guyana Chronicle (Nov 20) stale-dated but still useful report of why two previously convicted rapists were freed on appeal. But what do real rape victims go through in societies such as ours – with its insensitivities, boorishness and doubts all mixed with disrespect for females?

Fourteen years ago attorney Josephine Whitehead outlined six fallacies rape victims are subjected to – from the myth that some females want to be attacked sexually to the sexy apparel they should not wear – which cause prosecutions to fail. Her summary is still so relevant. (more…)

Put aside differences on serious issues

Posted in Commentary,Legislation by wiig on November 19, 2007
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Guyana Chronicle – November 19, 2007

ON November 7, Stella wrote a column in Kaieteur News in which she encouraged the naysayers of Guyana to be objective and to support the recent endeavors by the government to finally make some positive steps for the people who elected them. One of these efforts is Minister Manickchand’s consultation paper addressing sexual violence in Guyana.

Mr. Kissoon responded to this in his column, “Reckless mind: The decline of Stella Ramsaroop” (Kaieteur News, Nov. 11, 2007) by pointing out that “many policy papers like Ms. Manickchand’s are gathering dust on some obscure shelves.” While this is true, I think it’s irresponsible to not give the good Minister the benefit of the doubt that maybe she can be the one to finally make a difference on this issue. Have we really lost all hope that we automatically assume the failure of such endeavors?

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