Karen Livan deserves a public apology from Robert Persuad
The women of the S4 Foundation are highly offended at the way one of our highly qualified Guyanese Sisters was treated by a Minister of government. Last week, Karen Livan, new head of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), was humiliated in front of her colleagues, miners and media by Minister of Natural Resources, Robert Persaud.
The public upbraiding was particularly distasteful and made it seem as though Mrs Livan had part in some corrupt practice, when in fact, the issue in question was completely above board. Livan had done nothing wrong and even if she had done something wrong, the public trial and conviction done by Persaud was totally out of place and should be strongly condemned by all right thinking Guyanese.
Now she is set for retirement and because of this sad event, 30 years of hard work for the nation is gone in a flash, thanks to the imprudent and crass actions of the Minister.
The women of the S4 Foundation find the Minister’s treatment of Karen Livan an affront to all women who have worked hard to get into high-level positions. Mrs Livan is a 30-year veteran of the GGMC. As a woman in this field, it must have been a difficult road for her to achieve the head position, which was accomplished based on merit, not because of whom she knew. Mrs. Livan deserves the respect and dignity afforded to any person, male or female, in such a position.
The government has programmes in place to empower women, but what Minister Persaud did last week disempowered a hard-working woman and by doing so, disempowered many other women who may have had hopes of following in her footsteps but may now be afraid of being subjected to similar crass and disrespectful treatment.
It does not escape our attention that such public humiliation is rarely seen directed toward men in high government positions. In fact, not even one such occasion comes to mind at present.
Women are humiliated and disrespected by men in society everyday, but if the government truly wants to see the women of the nation empowered, it cannot set a double standard by having one of its own Ministers display such contempt toward a woman.
The S4 Foundation thinks it would be prudent of Minister Persaud to offer Karen Livan a public apology for the humiliation and disrespect he displayed toward her. Of all that he has taken from this woman in a matter of minutes, the least he could do is give her back the dignity he took from her last week.
Standing with our Sisters,
For the S4 Foundation