Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand and Member of Parliament (MP), Dr. Vindhya Persaud are the only female officials of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) administration to have commented on the remarks Attorney General, Anil Nandlall made about a female reporter attached to Kaieteur News.
But there has so far been silence from the likes of Minister of Human Services, Jennifer Webster, Public Service Minister, Jennifer Westford, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodriques, Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, MP and Chairperson of the Women and Gender Equality Commission, Indra Chanderpaul and MP, Gail Teixeira.
The Attorney General, in the recording, referred to a female Kaieteur News reporter as a “lil thing” and advocated that his uncle, Kamal Mangal, get an opportunity to “f**K de girl.”
In a recent interview with Kaieteur News, Alliance For Change (AFC) MP, Cathy Hughes, said that the silence does not surprise her the least bit.
Even though it is evident that a significant percentage of women have taken on a role of commanding respect for themselves and each other, Hughes said that women in the PPP may not have the privilege to play that role.
According to her, that is the politics of the PPP. She said, “The way they look at it is that it is one of their members and so they don’t think they have any responsibility to be fair and objective…Their theory is that it is permissible because it is one of us.”
Recently commenting on the issue as well was AFC General Secretary, David Patterson. The politician questioned, “Where is (Presidential Advisor) Gail Teixeira now?”
He said that Teixeira is usually one of the first PPP members to jump up and say what is conventional and what is a disgrace.
“She should now say what is the conventional thing to do when a nation is faced with a matter like this,” said Patterson.
“The conventional thing to do is to have the Minister resign for the goodwill of the country.”
But on this occasion Teixeira did not speak about the “conventional” thing to do. In fact she spoke nothing on the issue. This newspaper made several attempts to contact Teixeira but she did not answer her phone on most occasions. In one instance, Kaieteur got on to the MP but the connection was poor. The reporter told her that she would have contacted her immediately from another phone line. When that was done, Teixeira refused to answer.
Webster, who sits as Minister of Human Services and has women empowerment programmes falling under her Ministry, has not said a word about Nandlall’s utterances.
That is also the case with MP Indra Chanderpaul, who also sits as Chairperson of the Women and Gender Equality Commission.
Manickchand, who received an honorary doctorate for her work in gender based equality, was the first Government official to comment on the immorality of the utterances made by Nandlall in the recorded conversation.
Manickchand, told Kaieteur News, ”What Nandlall said was crude and disrespectful and flies in the face of the environment that we (the government) are trying to establish and foster in Guyana.”
The Minister had said that the environment is one in which women should be treated as equals and celebrated for their worth in the development of Guyana and “not seen as chattel for men to use.”
On Saturday, Dr. Persaud said that she found Nandlall’s remarks to be extremely uncouth.
“We as women have been fighting for some time to ensure that we are not seen as objects and I think that his (Nandlall’s) comments in that regard were just absolutely obnoxious,” she told Kaieteur News.
“One can only hope that the sentiments he expressed in his apology are true but we have to wait, watch and see.”
Persaud said that she has not seen Nandlall in a while but wants to and will let him know that she found his remarks to be very offensive to women.
Asked if she feels comfortable with him as a political colleague in Parliament, Dr. Persaud declined to comment.
“I would not comment on that at this point but it (Nandlall’s remarks) was really obnoxious. I hope he meant every word of his apology.”
In addition to the remarks about the female reporter, Nandlall was also heard saying that “innocent people” working at Kaieteur News would be killed in retaliation for some of the stories the paper has been carrying.
He was also heard admitting that he used taxpayers’ money for personal reasons.
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