Between Tuesday, November 7 and Monday, December 11, three young women were brutally murdered, and their bodies tossed aside, much like the trash that is mindlessly strewn all around. These three youths were mere girls; two of them were 22 years old and the third just 18. In two instances, arrests have already been made and charges filed and yet why their lives were taken may never really be known. The common theme running through their tragic deaths is that they were all women, all young and all three were out at night.
Their families will forever grieve whenever this time of the year approaches and will always wonder what they might have been had they been allowed to fulfil their potential. Those complicit in their deaths, who have chosen to remain silent will either be haunted by what they could have done, or if they are really callous, forget about them altogether.
None of these women was abducted by aliens, murdered and dropped back on earth. And even if they were, someone with a smartphone would have recorded the abductions. No, each of these women began the end of what would be the last day of her life in a public place, where she would have been seen by people with whom she was likely familiar. The key to the motives for the murders of these women therefore is whether any of them left that place with a person or person known to her and others. Who saw what? Why is he/she silent?
Persons charged in major cases could wait five years or more before they appear in the High Court before juries which, unfairly, it seems, often consider the life of accused, rather than that which was lost. In the interest of fairness and justice, a good, hard look needs to be taken at jury quality. The apathetic recycling of clerks and others who seem unable to wrap their heads around the simplest of concepts surely makes a mockery of the work put in by lawyers, prosecutors and other officers of the court.
While there is nothing to suggest, at least at the time of the writing of this column, that any of the three murders mentioned above was a result of domestic violence, no one should take this to mean that the authorities have a handle on this scourge. Not a chance. In the last month, there were several cases that were publicised, including that of a vendor charged with chopping his wife’s hands. And earlier this month, Indrawattie Totaram of Williamsburg, Corentyne was stabbed to death by her husband, Krishna Latchman, who later committed suicide.
The empowerment of women who are faced with physical, mental, emotional, psychological and economic abuse in their homes is a huge task that requires much more effort than it currently receives. The de-enabling of the men who mete out these forms of anguish to the women they are supposed to love and the children who bear their genes is an even more difficult mission. Unfortunately, it is one that is yet to begin in way too many places.
These are but a few of the burning issues that need to be addressed at all levels. Yet, shamefully, this week, women and men who sit in policy-making seats in this country chose to become involved in an all-out disgraceful fracas, the likes of which had never yet been seen here.
The public display, captured live on numerous smartphones and posted on social media platform Facebook, joins the annals of those parliament battles in other countries that we used to laugh at. Now the joke is on us.
It all stemmed from PPP Member of Parliament Juan Edghill refusing to leave the Parliament Chamber when asked to do so by the Speaker Dr Barton Scotland, after he had earlier persisted in asking questions when repeatedly required to sit down. His fellow MPs, including, it would appear, all of the women of that cohort, formed a protective barrier around him to prevent him being escorted from the room. Of all the battles available to them, this is the unfortunate one they chose to fight. This is the stand they chose to take. To compound it, some government MPs got themselves in the tussle as well and before long, from any angle, it just looked like a barroom brawl, complete with unbecoming raucous screams of “rape” and other words for which there was just no context.
And just to be clear, let no side condemn the other. Snide and nasty remarks aside, the degeneration of the augustness of Parliament had already begun with the presumptuousness of APNU MP Simona Broomes’ “Bing, bang, boom out” caricature of “Allison in Paris”, which was also happily displayed on Facebook.
It would seem that not only have these people lost all respect for each other, but for the people of Guyana who put them there to look into their best interests. Shame on all of them, on both sides of the House who by their arrogance and impropriety have brought Parliament into disrepute. They have chosen to be petty, when there are so many other worthy issues on which a stand should be taken. Shame!