It appears that a recent proposal by a minister to have female guards, who are single moms, not work nights, is making the administration nervous.
Days after the administration said there is no proposal before Cabinet to halt the late nights, Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally, made it clear that while the ministry is open to options, nothing will be done to create a policy to exclude anyone.
“The Ministry has no current or future intention to create any policy that would exclude single parent women from any sector in Guyana whether it is voluntary or involuntary,” the ministry said.
It would differ somewhat from what her Junior Minister, Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Keith Scott, said last month.
He met with representatives of private security firms and told them of reports of security guards were being underpaid. Reports of sexual harassment also surfaced during the meeting.
Scott disclosed that he will be exploring options of easing the pressure of female security guards being made to work the night shifts.
Of course, Scott noted, the option should be up to the female guards in question whether they want to work or not at nights.
The Guyana Association of Private Security Organizations (GAPSO) came out after and condemned Scott.
GAPSO said that that Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Keith Scott’s “choice to selectively dismantle and target single mothers” within the private security sector is a cruel and arbitrary attack on the sector.
“GAPSO feels that it is a high-handed and unilateral approach being adopted by the Government and definitely lacks insight or thinking outside the box.”
The association said that it remains unclear why only the private security sector was selected while other professions are excluded. It also wants to know what suggestions if any there is, to solve the inevitable unemployment that will
arise from such a decision.
GAPSO noted that its President, Christopher Thompson, had warned that the Ministry of Social Protection should examine the issue in totality and present empirical data and analysis to support its intentions.
GAPSO said it is taking the “opportunity to strongly advise the Honorable Keith Scott to strive for more informed positions, make better analysis from empirical data, refrain from hasty generalizations and demonstrate that he is capable of finding other solutions to his problem. Outside of this, he may very well be unwillingly creating a new economic and social problem in the society.”
In recent times, there have been complaints against some private security firms which pay workers late; breach labour laws and which are collecting NIS contributions from workers and not remitting.
Yesterday, the ministry said that while it remains open to practical options that would provide flexibility for working single parent women in Guyana, it is fully committed to adopting measures and policies that would not contribute or impede single parent women being hired in all sectors of the economy.
“We are cognizant of the far-reaching consequence of the implementation of such a policy such as the widening of the gender gap which the Ministry has been working towards bridging those gaps for years.
The Ministry said that an important aspect of its mandate is to remove constraints to women’s economic participation in the work force and to ensure that all women especially those facing intersecting forms of discrimination have equal access to employment free from gender discrimination including discrimination based on traditional sex stereotypes, pregnancy, and parenting.
“For decades women have been fighting the stereo-typical perception that they should not seek careers that may not suit their social status. However, the Ministry remains resolved to continue and not hinder the work that we have begun regarding gender parity because of pregnancy and motherhood.”
The ministry said it is committed to ensuring that all sectors work better for women, ensure equal access to gainful employment; the provision of equal terms of conditions for women, safe working conditions and ensure women full participation in the economy which is vital to achieving sustainable development in Guyana.
“The Ministry of Social Protection stands ready and willing to work with all stakeholders both private and public to champion any future policy modification necessary to guarantee the social and economic advancement and status of women especially single parent in Guyana.”
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