If President Bharrat Jagdeo expects to be taken seriously in his support to end domestic violence in Guyana he has to respond to the allegations by his former common-law wife, Varshnie Singh, that he subjected her to high-tech domestic violence.
Varshnie’s allegations have poleaxed many, including myself, and have put the President on very public trial. Her accusations are those of domestic abuse in its varied shades and forms. The President’s immediate response has been not to get into a public contest over a one-sided account. While it was the private life of a President who is above the law, Mr Jagdeo has to address what are now public concerns that he has subjected his wife to abuse and is not morally fit to lead a campaign against domestic violence at minimum.
There are many who are rallying behind the President, making suggestive comments about the truth of the marriage.
The truth of the marriage is between the President and Varshnie, or lost somewhere in between. But the President needs to respond to the allegations made publicly against him.
I would like to see an end to domestic abuse in Guyana and in the world, but we cannot do this when the leaders of the campaign themselves cannot be seen as fit enough to throw the first stone. I am not for a moment judging the President. He will have to judge himself by the standards which he himself has set to end domestic violence in Guyana. Should the President fail to respond, his cries on the campaign will indeed ring hollow.
It is tragic that the differences of the First Couple could not have been resolved without dragging into it the support for and the future of a commendable children charity − Kids First Fund. The President may wish to consider providing his full endorsement to this charity, providing it with the necessary means to have its work done.
Otherwise, the differences between the former First Couple will further disadvantage already severely disadvantaged children.
To do something to help the children of Guyana is not anti-government.
How can it be when it is coming from the former First Lady, while she was First Lady. In rubbing the dust from our eyes, let us not get fixated on the irritation and keep our eyes forever closed. We need to open our eyes to the needs of the children of Guyana, who need Kids First Fund.
I hope that in the coming weeks, the President and the former First Lady can iron out the terms of their separation amicably. Kids First Fund should not be part of those terms. The President and his administration should support this charity whole-heartedly.
To Varshnie, I can only say this: I am sorry it had to get this stage. That you, who used to avoid public appearances, felt compelled to go to the public on your marriage and your private passion, Kids First Fund − that takes guts to do.