I wish the leaders of the nation would spend as much time talking about and fighting over women as they have spent on the Amaila Falls project. It would be so refreshing to see one of the national political parties decide to take on the constant murder of women as a pet project for a change.

The number of women who have been murdered in the past few weeks would amount to an epidemic if it were a medical issue, but because it’s just women being murdered, it seems there is no need to panic. During the same time period the government fought tooth and nail to keep the Amaila Falls project alive, women were dying in the most atrocious ways.

An August 25 opinion piece by Ricky Singh in the Jamaica Observer, titled, “Epidemic of Domestic Violence and Rape,” hit the nail on the head concerning this issue. It said, “Leaders and ministers of government are always issuing rhetorical denunciations and pledges to expedite action to deal more effectively with these vicious crimes. But, alas, there is yet to be any creative strategy, at a regional level, to counter the scourge of domestic violence against women and the rape of teenage and even younger children in their homes, on their way to or from school, or just anywhere the depraved among us choose to commit their dastardly crimes.”

20130831stellaViolence against women is an issue that must be engaged from deep inside the community and while it is noted that the government is going into the communities to address this problem from the root, women continue to die at an alarming rate. The government needs the help of the people to see any type of marked improvement.

However, as is very clear from the Trafficking In Persons (TIP) situation, the government tends to shy away from those who are making inroads into helping women. This is a sad situation that is based in insecurity rather than being based on what is best for the citizens. I have had numerous people over the years come to me to say they offered their professional assistance to government to address violence against women and the government either flat out rejected them or just gave them the brush off.

A good leader knows how to put ego aside and take the advice and help of others to make sure the people are being served in the best possible way. In other words, the government’s ego is not more important than the lives of the nation’s women.

I am not sure the current government leaders comprehend just how petty and juvenile they appear when they turn away the help of others when it is clear they are in over their heads. Even worse, to target those who are actually helping women, well that is just sheer madness.

It is as if they think no one else is watching their puerile behaviour–or they just do not care how they look to the nation and those watching from the international community. The brazenness of the Simona Broomes fiasco seems to imply the latter.

I have heard time and again that some government leaders are vindictive. I have seen it with my own eyes and witnessed it with friends and colleagues. Vindictive traits are born from insecurity. Sadly, it seems what began as a deep-seated personal issue of one leader has now become the mode of operation for a whole party.

My plea–my hope–is that on the issue of violence against women, all insecurity, vindictiveness and ego can be buried deep so the leaders can find a way to work with others who want to help women. There are groups and individuals begging to help the government keep women safe.

Yet instead of joining with these groups to save the women of Guyana, those groups are targeted because their work somehow shows a possible inadequacy on the part of the government. A good leader uses the strength of others to address her/his own weaknesses. Remember that no one leader has all the best leadership traits, but when she/he joins with others who do have those traits, the leadership becomes dynamic. When a leader can do this, it shows wisdom and a true caring spirit for the people being served.

I am hoping it is only ego that causes government officials to act so desperate, like it has with Broomes, and not something more nefarious.

In the meantime, while the arrests and political drama continue, the good work being done by Simona Broomes and the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO) is being hindered. Perhaps that is the intention, since the official stance is that TIP is no real problem and every time Ms. Broomes and her members bring out another group of women who were being used as sex slaves against their will, it makes it more difficult to hold to such a claim.

I really wish all of these ridiculous games would stop. There are women dying! It’s time to put aside ego and pretence to protect the women of Guyana. Women should not have to fight their own government to help other women.

You can email Stella Ramsaroop at [email protected]

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