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Not many of us would’ve had the privilege of meeting, or as a matter of fact, engaging the Hon. Cathy Hughes MP. But we would’ve had the pleasure of observing Cathy the person and Public Servant, through the media. And from these observations, counting decades, we would’ve come to the unequivocal conclusion, Cathy Hughes, is a thoroughly decent woman, exceptionally articulate, with a strong sense of decorum.
However, such was thrown into doubt by none other than the dishonourable Bharrat Jagdeo, who characterised the lady of decorum, a lowlife. As a result, the Oxford Dictionary we delved, to remind ourselves, what constitutes a lowlife. And what greeted us was, “people or activities characterised as being disreputable and often criminal.” Thus, faced with this definition, we pondered if Jagdeo had gotten his semantic wires crossed, when characterising this honourable Lady. For the meaning articulated by the Oxford Dictionary, wasn’t consistent with what we know of Lady Cathy.
Thus, corrected the mischaracterisation we did, in reminding the dishonourable Jagdeo, he’s the epitome of a lowlife, having also abused Nazima Raghubir, the Press Association President. Further, we remind him of the alleged abuse of his former common law wife, Varshnie Singh, setting him as the lowest of lowlifes. Additionally, we remind him of the other women abusing lowlifes, in PPP. For Bheri Ramsaran is a lowlife, having threatened to strip and physically abuse a female social activist. Charandass Persaud is a lowlife, having abused a female animal activist. Nigel Dharamlall is a lowlife, having been credibly accused of rape and sodomy, of a 16yr old child. Pandit Vikash Ramkissoon is a lowlife, having faced credible allegations of sexual molestation of a child. In fact, the child was so traumatised that she committed suicide. Ganga Persaud is a lowlife, having faced credible allegations of molesting a child.
Therefore, considering these many women abusing lowlifes in PPP, it shouldn’t be surprising, we have one of the highest domestic violence rates, in the Caribbean. For from their abusive actions, many impressionable young men and boys, in an environment of domestic violence, have taken their cues to do likewise. Which mandates, that we men, more so leaders in the public eye, be considered with our characterisation and treatment of women. But unfortunately, that’s not the case with PPP, with them having established an abusive reputation. An abusive reputation, in a climate where we have the highest rate of domestic violence, in this hemisphere.
Thus, we examine our statistics, where data from UN Women, revealed that 55% of our female population had experienced, some form of domestic abuse. In fact, this represents a prevalence that is much higher than the global average, of 33%. Further, based on research published by the University of Guyana, the incidence of domestic violence, by an intimate or previous intimate partner, increased from 74.8% in 2011 to 89% in 2017. And of these victims, more than 80% were females. Furthermore, Help and Shelter reported that between 1995-2018, 9,966 women and girls and 1,879 men and boys, sought and received face-to-face Gender Based Violence counselling. Where of these, 84% were women and girls. Then in 2021, the Gender Equality Observatory, reported in the Caribbean, 28 women were victims of lethal gender violence. Where Belize and Guyana had the highest femicide rates in the Caribbean, 3.5 and 2.0 for every 100,000 women, respectively. Additionally, for 2023 thus far, the Ministry of Human Services, has received reports of 257 and 36, domestic violence and rape cases, respectively. Of which, 50+ women had to be accommodated by the State.
For these statistics confirm what we already know, domestic violence against our women and girls, remains a major problem. And while there are legislations to address this, they’re sadly not being enforced. Which means, PPP has to do a better job of enforcement, even as they raise greater awareness of domestic violence and femicide. But even more critically, the culture of Gender Based Violence in PPP, has to be addressed with some urgency.
And it’s in this context, we examine and condemn Jagdeo’s abusive utterance, in characterising Hon. Cathy Hughes MP, a lowlife. For some may argue, sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me. However, the reality is, domestic violence is initially of verbal abuse, with escalation to physical abuse then murder. Therefore, many impressionable young men and boys, would take heed of Jagdeo’s abusive lowlife characterisation, to conclude that all women are lowlifes. Lowlifes that are deserving of abuse and disfigurement. Lowlifes that count among our high rates of Gender Based Violence and ultimately femicides.