The women in the Henry Greene vortex

February 26, 2012 | By | Filed Under Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon 

Without pronouncing on the forceful sex allegation in the Henry Greene episode, one thing is absolutely factual; Greene had sex with a woman, the act when examined against the background of why the woman saw him may be contrary to police procedures. The woman came forward with an allegation of rape. She said he had a gun on him. Greene denied that charge. We may not know what really happened, even if the case reaches a judge and jury.
One thing is certain, had this woman not come forward, Henry Greene would still have been Commissioner of Police (I think his Commissioner status is over). She told her story and, for this writer, a powerful figure, who should not have remained in office, has been toppled.
Other women should have the courage to do so. They should go to the press or to a lawyer. Through this page, I am asking women who had to submit to the sexual pleasures of powerful politicians, to seek my advice.
I know of many of these nasty incidents and people still remain free to continue their unbecoming conduct because these women are fearful of victimization. Women were sexually harassed at GINA and when it was leaked to the press, the molester, who moonlights as an academic or claims he is a scholar, forced each of the women to sign a statement saying that they were not sexually harassed. Had one of them gone to the press with the second act of intimidation, this man would have been exposed and all of UG would have known what a pervert he is. Time has passed but maybe they should go public.
One of my past students told me a certain beauty pageant official began to fondle her body parts telling her if she had sex with him there is the absolute guarantee that she would win the contest. This has been the pattern with this man but in Guyana, depravity passes as normal behaviour.
The woman in Henry Greene’s tribulation was brave enough to seek legal advice and she chose a sympathetic human rights lawyer, Mr. Nigel Hughes. Others must follow her brave footsteps. The story of brutal sexual molestation among powerful men in this society, especially with political power, is appallingly sickening.
Two weeks ago, outside of Courts Furniture Store on Main Street, I met this gentleman who told me that a policeman knocked down his daughter and is behaving like a bully. As we talked, I became rude to him, left him standing, and went into my car. He wants me to go to the station and investigate, but was afraid to tell me the name of the policeman.
The existence of fear is ubiquitous in this society. But people have to be reasonable. They cannot manipulate the media or seek to abuse the media. The media must not allow this to happen.
If you have a story of brutal exploitation, then you save another innocent woman from the tentacles of a monster by going public.
In the case of one of my past students who worked at GINA and had to face requests for sex on a daily basis from a certain Minister, I suggested that she could have easily secured a job at Kaieteur News or Stabroek News. Her words to me were that she was afraid.
This society, in particular our women’s rights groups, let the train pass them when they discontinue their display of indignity at how Varshnie Singh was treated by former President Jagdeo. That was a defining moment in the moral development of Guyana but we let it slip by.
In the presence of Glenn Lall and Mark Benschop, outside of the Georgetown Cricket Club, I told Ms. Singh that she was not being forthright with Guyanese women by her refusal to continue to highlight what Mr. Jagdeo did to her. She was annoyed and told me why I didn’t go and picket at the Cultural Centre where Priya Manickchand was hosting a convention on women.
She was right; Benschop and I should have been there too. But I was picketing a meeting where she was the main organizer. The exhibition featured newspaper clippings of abused Guyanese women, and there were no details on what happened to Varshnie Singh. That was the reason for the picket outside the cricket club.
It is my opinion that the Varshnie Singh case was a setback for Guyanese women and it allowed men to continue their abuse because; “…after all the President did it and if he can do it, why can’t I.”

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