Three leader-activists from LGBT organizations wrote a letter on me captioned, “Misinformation and misconceptions of Freddie Kissoon,” Kaieteur News, April 30, 2017. This letter was in response to my confession that I did not know of a group known as the Guyana Equality Forum (GEF) which is an EU-funded project initiated by the LGBT rights group that goes by the acronym SASOD.
I wrote about not knowing this group in a recent column after I read that three of its representatives went at a conference and spoke about violations of rights in Guyana, especially among young people and the homosexual community. I did not know about this group until I read the response to me.
And I am offering an explanation for my lack of knowledge because I do not see this group and its constituent parts standing up for the rights of all types of Guyanese that are being violated each day with impunity in this land. This country is one in which the rights of the citizenry is egregiously violated on a wide scale. It was horrible under the PPP leadership but it continues long after the PPP went in 2015.
The GEF leadership brought me up to date with numerous picketing exercises it has carried out in protection of homosexual rights. I would have known more of the GEF and by extension, most Guyanese if the GEF leadership had extended its human rights concern to other spheres. Here is an extract from that GEF’s missive on me; “We invite Mr. Kissoon to support the work of the GEF by joining our public demonstrations and picketing exercises. Mr. Kissoon can also support us in our advocacy by writing columns which educate his readers on the human rights and equality issues our member organisations work on.”
I will join the picket demonstrations that the GEF mounts from time to time. I will denounce violations of any kinds of rights in this column. But why should I join anti-homophobic protests when those very victims of homophobic action do not come in support of the rights of others? Let’s look at the date of the correspondence of the GEF. It is April 30, 2017. Since then the rights of so many others have been contemptuously tossed aside by this repressive country. Where is the voice of the GEF?
The police arrested and charged a man for possession of a smoking utensil. The item was not produced in court. Let me ask the GEF; does it support people being charged for the mere possession of a smoking utensil? I mean with reason, if you are found with a banned substance, then you actually have the drug on you. But is it not possible someone can have a smoking instrument and never ever see the drug?
Doesn’t the GEF think it is worth a condemnatory comment? Does the GEF endorse the current law on the sentence structure for marijuana? In Jamaica, legal possession is 40 grams. In Guyana if you can get charged for possession of a smoking utensil, then you can get charged for one gram of marijuana. That happened to a woman in Kitty last year. She was hauled before the court for one gram of ganja.
Where was the voice of the GEF when a schoolgirl was kicked in the stomach, went to the hospital and was sent home after an examination and died four days after? My opinion is that medical incompetence at the Georgetown Public Hospital may be the reason. Poor people die needlessly from incompetence in the public health system here but no one attempts even a whisper of concern.
I would like the GEF to tell me why if it is wrong for the police to arrest a cross-dresser, it is right for the very policemen to enter depressed areas in the city and arrest and charge youths for small amount of ganja thus destroying their future? If I should picket for the rights of the LGBT community (and I am morally obliged to do so since I believe in the rights of humans and animals), why shouldn’t LGBT members picket for other causes too?
What the LGBT leadership in Guyana must understand is that rights exist in context. Once you remove context, then some groups will suffer more than others. The context is the respect by the state and citizenry for the basic rights of humans and animals. If we protect homosexual rights only and not those of the youths in the ghetto then the fight for rights become a convenience. I hope the GEF understand this.
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