The Women and Gender Equality Commission (WGEC) has finally commented on the disrespectful utterances
made by Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, about a female Kaieteur News reporter.
On Friday, the Commission released a statement to the effect that it is “shocked and dismayed by the utterances made recently by the person who currently holds the position of Attorney General of Guyana. His utterances clearly demonstrated a marked lack of respect for women.”
This statement came hours after Head of the Gender Equality Commission, Indra Chandarpal, had said that her Commission had taken no position on the issue.
The Attorney General, in a recorded conversation with a senior Kaieteur News reporter, was heard saying all manner of inappropriate things.
Kaieteur News made the recording public and the nation heard all that the Attorney General had to say.
Nandlall was 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.
Further, the government official 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.”
The general content of the recording sparked widespread displeasure and many bodies have since called for him to resign or otherwise be removed from his post. His own legal colleagues who are part of the Guyana Bar Association called for him to resign and so did the two main opposition parties. But these calls have fallen on deaf ears.
The Gender Equality Commission, however, in a belated pronouncement on the issue, identified that the recording brought two issues to the fore, one being the conduct of public officials and the other being the culture of men as it relates to women in Guyana.
The Commission which is headed by Indra Chandarpal said that, in this case, the conduct of public officials
is particularly worrisome. This, the commission said, is mainly because he has particular responsibility for upholding the Constitution of Guyana.
The Commission pointed out that the constitution protects the rights of women and stipulates obligations under the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as well as the mandates of this Commission under which falls under Article 86.
“We therefore endorse the call for all necessary sanctions to be taken,” said the Commission.
Two of his female colleagues in government and the National Assembly have condemned Nandlall’s actions.
Those are Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, and Member of Parliament Dr. Vindhya Persaud.
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.
She said, “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.”
Manickchand noted 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.”
Dr. Persaud, who always has a voice on moral issues, told Kaieteur News 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.”
Persaud said, too, that she would let him know that she found his remarks to be very offensive to women.
There has however been silence from the likes of Minister of Human Services, Jennifer Webster; Public Service Minister, Jennifer Westford; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues; Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, and Parliamentarian, Gail Teixeira.
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