The age of consent should be fifteen

Dear Editor,

Stella Ramsaroop asked our presidential candidates so many questions.  I am a writer of short love stories and verses.  I am 77 years old.  A little over 59 years ago, I inquired about immigrants who came from India and their way of life. My great great great grandfather, who was born in 1819, came to Guyana bound in 1854 to Bath Sugar Estate.  He was 35 years old and had brains and was smart.  He used Davidson, who was the owner of the Bath Sugar Estate to buy a mudflat village from the Africans. He was the head shovelman driver, and he used Davidson‘s shovelmen to put down wallaba posts and fence it with wire.  And instead of some of the immigrants going back to India, they settled at his estate. His eldest child, my great great grandmother, was born 1862. Her father was 39 years when he was married to a 14 year-old girl, an immigrant‘s daughter.  He fathered seven daughters and four sons.  When he was 81 years old he had his last son with a girl of mixed race, who was 18 years old in 1906.  He died in 1907.

My great great grandfather came from Calcutta.  He was born in 1850 and came to Guyana bound to Bath Sugar Estate.  He was 28 years old when he married my great great grandmother, who was 17 years old.  He fathered seven children with her, plus four outside sons – two with an Indian woman and two sons with two African women.  He was 6ft 5ins tall and weighed 245 pounds.  He died in 1915 and his wife died in 1951.  My grandfather was 11 years old when he married my grandmother who was 9 years in 1900.  His older brother was 13 years old when he married his wife who was eleven in 1900.  He was the first Indian pupil teacher in 1902. One of my grandfather‘s sisters was 13 years old when she got married to an Indian immigrant who was 27 years old.

My uncle‘s wife told me her father came from India and married her mother.  She was 13 years old and he was 54 years of age.  He fathered nine children and died at the age of 95.  Inquiries later revealed that he left a wife and seven children in India.  In one of my investigations, a woman told me that her parents came from India and that when she was 11 years old her parents married her to a 21-year-old lame man.  He said that he would come back four years later for her.  Nine days later, the man came with a donkey cart and a policeman for her.

Stella says, “What does your candidate think about 16 year-olds having sex?”  Mr David Granger read in SN about three years ago that five schoolgirls were pregnant at a West Coast Berbice school, aged 13-15 years. Messrs Granger, Ramotar and Ramjattan know that when many of these girls fail CXC, their parents take them out of school.  They know more about sex than their mothers. With HIV widespread today in Guyana, you don’t know who has the virus.  The act of consent should be lowered to 15 years.  This is the age many Hindus and Muslims are marrying their girl children.  When I married my wife she was 16 years old and I was 20.  A bigger sister married at 13 years and a smaller one at 14 years.

By the time some girl children meet the age of 18 for the act of consent, they have HIV. Now I don’t know how Gandhi’s wife came in.  She was 13 years old. Gandhi was 13 years old and his wife Kasturba was 11 years old. Bal Gangadine Tilack, a famous Indian lawyer was 15 years old and his wife was 13 years of age when they married. Professor Dadabhai Naorji was 11years old and his wife was 9 years old when they married.  Who was Professor Naorji?  He was the first Indian to be elected to the British Parliament.  He represented Central Finsbury in 1892.  Mirza Ghalib, the great poet was 13 years old when he married his wife Umrao Begum, who was 11.

We‘re supposed to speak about our own country and not Gandhi‘s wife.  The government should put the age of consent at 15 years.

Yours faithfully
Bramdeow Singh

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