Women's Issues In Guyana

Red Thread was not among main stakeholders

Posted in Gender Equality by wiig on November 14, 2007
Tags: , , ,

Guyana Chronicle – November 14, 2007

IN the Kaieteur newspaper dated Sunday, November 11, 2007, we read the article captioned, ‘AFC seeks alliance in renewed attempt to address VAT issues’. The article reported Mr. Raphael Trotman mentioned as saying that he had written a letter to the main stake holders in the struggle and copied it to the Head of State.

We noticed – at first with some concern – that Red Thread was not among the main stakeholders on Mr. Trotman’s list but thought that maybe he was just naming a few from the top of his head. For Red Thread not to be one of the several organisations on the top of his head in relation to this issue, was hard enough to understand but still we went back to our centre to see whether we had received any letter from Mr. Trotman and found that there was none. This carried us past concern to rage.

Red Thread and Red Thread network of more than forty grassroots women from Region 10: Silvertown, Half Mile, Canvas City and Wisroc, Region 9: Annai, Surama and Rupertee, Region 8: Central Mahdia, Campbelltown, and Princeville, Region 5: # 41 Village West Coast Berbice and Bush Lot, Region 4: Georgetown, Annandale, Courabane Park and Sophia and Region 3: Uitvlugt, have raised concerns about VAT in 2006 (our first being October 13, 2006 ) even before it was implemented and have been monitoring VAT ever since its implementation.

We wrote over ten (10) letters on VAT in the newspaper, some directed to the President, some directed to Mr. Sattaur and the Minister of Finance. We came into a fleet of abuse from Mr. Sattaur in the Chronicle newspapers on January 16, 2007 and in Stabroek newspapers on January 17, 2007 where he accused us of being biased but that didn’t stop us. We continued to raise our concerns, presenting the facts of the situation based on our own experiences, that of the other poor people from the various communities in which we have been doing our monitoring and from other people with whom we came into contact on the road and else where. We organised a picket outside of the GRA Office at Charlotte and Albert Sts and we supported the march organised by Mr. C N Sharma, Leader of the Justice for all Party. Wasn’t Mr. Trotman aware of any of this?

It may be possible Mr. Trotman that you haven’t been following the News but it is hardly possible for you not to be aware of any of this work that we have been doing for more than 8 months, when on March 22, 2007, we publicly launched our Good Governance Campaign and sent two (2) letters to your Party informing you of our campaign. We further sent you a draft report card which includes the issue of VAT for your organisation to fill in the work you have done in relation to this issue, but got no response on either occasion . As far as we know we are the ones who have given more voice on this issue than the whole of your list but yet we are not considered one of the main stake holders. AMAZING!

Poor people are the ones who are suffering the most under VAT but yet the poor are not considered the main Stake holders. SHAMEFUL! How can your effort be collective or successful Mr. Trotman, when the people affected the most and those who did the bulk of the work on this issue are not considered main stake holders?

It seems to us that Mr. Trotman is one of the old time politicians who believe that political parties and trade unions are the only institutions that are important. And secondly, we believe that the fact that Red Thread being both female and grassroots, might be the only reason why our work seems invisible or unimportant to Mr. Trotman.

In our view for your effort to be effective and successful, you have to start from the bottom up.



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