While the Guyana Government boasts of improvement in closing the gender gap, history is rife with instances of its affiliates abusing women, says Opposition parliamentarian Catherine Hughes. The Alliance for Change (AFC) Member of Parliament (MP) said the recent debacle involving Guyana’s High Commissioner to India, Charrandas Persaud is just another statistic of the ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C)’s “torrid” record of abuse against women.
The embattled Persaud, who has since been ordered back home, was caught on camera hurling derogatory remarks at an Indian national at his residence in India. While the incident occurred more than a year ago, the video of the ordeal only went viral earlier this week. Persaud is now facing backlash for his utterances, with the government also reeling from the extent of that condemnation.
One day after the video made headlines, Guyana’s President, Dr Irfaan Ali said that he spoke to Persaud, who assured him that the matter had been resolved. Persaud’s response mirrored that of Guyana’s Foreign Ministry, which said that it considers the matter closed. However, the President did not share those sentiments. He said that despite the matter being closed, he proffered his suggestion that the envoy returns home. Persaud has since agreed to do so.
Close on the heels of the fiasco, the government issued a release citing its satisfaction with the country’s improved rating in the Global Gender Gap Insight Report. Guyana now ranks 35, compared to the 53rd placement recorded in 2021.
But according to Hughes, the abuse meted out against women by some of those aligned with the PPP/C must never be forgotten.
She cited the infamous “dildo” comment made by Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall earlier this year in the House, the alleged verbal assault meted out against an activist by former Minister, Bheri Ramsarran several years ago; and the purported ousting of a former First Lady from her residence.
“Then there was the infamous audio recording where it was believed that the voice on the recording was that of the Attorney General, purportedly soliciting sexual services on behalf of his uncle as if he were a common pimp… And then there was PPP/C activist Ossie Rodgers who slapped and gun-butted Kamla Bharrat at Bath Settlement in a supermarket…While Minister Gail Teixeira boasts of improvements in gender parity ratings, it is clear that the party she represents has a torrid record of abusing women,” Hughes said.