A Partnership for National Unity on Friday lambasted the government for its failure to deal with the widespread domestic violence prevalent in Guyana.
APNU Leader David Granger along with members of parliament Annette Ferguson and Karen Cummings re-issued a call for robust governmental action to curb interpersonal violence, at a press conference hosted at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, Hadfield Street.
Citing the headlines of the various murders and sexual offences that have been filling up the newspapers, the group called on the government to take serious action to curb the problems.
Granger defined interpersonal violence as the use of intentional force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, mal-development or deprivation and said the situation in Guyana was “a countrywide criminal epidemic.” He called on the various relevant ministries and the Guyana Police Force to deal with the issue, outlining general guidelines.
“Inter-personal violence in Guyana is causing a burden/drain on Guyana’s economy; the loss of life of our women will put a negative impact on Guyana’s development,” Ferguson said, endorsing Granger’s remarks.
She said the 2014 National Budget demonstrates the PPP/C’s focus on capital projects such as the Marriott, the Cheddi Jagan International Airport expansion, the Amaila Hydropower project among others as it continued to plug money in that direction neglecting the epidemic of interpersonal violence that causes significant loss of life.
She noted that these crimes are perpetuated by persons close to the victims such as husbands or family members. She said much emphasis was not placed on the training of probation officers or social workers and added that she had ventured to ask the question in National Assembly but received an unfavourable response from the minister.
Cummings, who is a medical doctor by profession, said interpersonal violence was a significant health problem. Calling it a woman’s issue as she said women are three times more likely than men to be injured, five times more likely to be hospitalized and five times more likely to fear for their lives, she highlighted several devastating effects.
She said the murder of victims can lead to children becoming parentless leaving them unattended, victims become stressed and having suicidal tendencies, and perpetrators due to joblessness and hopelessness becoming frustrated and turning to alcohol and drugs which have been identified as risk factors for domestic abuse. She declared that studies at both the individual and population level showed a causal relationship between alcohol use and violence.
The coalition iterated its previous call for the promulgation of a National Plan of Action for the prevention of interpersonal violence and the full implementation of the National Domestic Violence Policy and the functioning of the National Domestic Violence Oversight Committee.