The nation needs to know whether or not the President is guilty of the allegations of spousal abuse against him

Dear Editor,

It is indeed a good sign to see that various organizations in Guyana are committed to pursuing a path to ensure that the allegations made by former First Lady, Varshnie Jagdeo, are investigated. I do not believe that with these damning allegations laid at the feet of our President, any of us can sit idly by and allow them to just melt away into thin air. Guyanese women continue to be abused daily and many of them remain silent victims primarily because they feel that there is no way out, and that there will be no justice in their case.

Further, many of them continue to believe that being physically, verbally, emotionally or otherwise abused by their spouse is a price they have to pay in a relationship.

Varshine Singh’s account of her experiences must be a wake-up call to remind and educate women that domestic violence is not a norm in any relationship. Varshnie’s sufferings must serve as a catalyst for drastic action to be taken to rid society of this kind of violence. When the President of a country is accused of inhumane behaviour against his own wife, all citizens must be concerned once the claims are substantiated. At a time when the Guyana government has subscribed, or signed on to all current laws, treaties, and agreements to ensure women’s rights are protected we have the leader of the nation accused with violating these very rights.

In any true democracy such allegations would have led to an immediate investigation to ascertain the validity of the claims. But what we see instead is President Jagdeo appearing to be unconcerned about the allegations. His manner can only be described as insensitive. Is this how the President views the legislation intended to address domestic violence? It was most unfortunate to hear him say that he was trying to move on with his life and that he wished his former wife well. Mr Jagdeo should know that this is not a matter where he can just throw the issues behind his back and move on with his life. This is a matter which requires investigation, and he cannot move on until he satisfies the people that he is innocent of these charges.

I am disappointed that to date the Minister of Social and Human Services, Ms Priya Manickchand has not signalled her intention to meet with Ms Varshnie Singh to formalize her complaint and initiate some kind of investigation.

This matter cannot be swept under the table; the nation needs to know the truth and whether the President is guilty of these allegations.

Yours faithfully,
Lurlene Nestor

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