President calls for activism against human trafficking, domestic violence – at WPO’s 60th anniversary observance

Georgetown, GINA, May 25, 2013

Born out of an era of struggle for justice and equality, President Donald Ramotar believes that the Women’s Progressive Organisation’s (WPO’s) activism against some of the major scourges in the society is needed.

As the organisation celebrated 60 years with a series of activities including a concert at the National Cultural Centre today, President Donald Ramotar highlighted the need for an aggressive campaign against domestic violence and human trafficking.

President Donald Ramotar delivering an address at the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Women’s Progressive Organisation at the National Cultural Centre

The latter concern has been raising its ugly head with reports of such occurrences in mining concessions with potential to downgrade Guyana’s status.

 

Domestic violence has been another major concern and the cause of 13 deaths for 2012, and several for this year. This issue that is widely accepted as a global problem is cause for concern.

Attendees at a concert held by the Women’s Progressive Organisation to mark its 60th anniversary at the National Cultural Centre

“Domestic violence is still a problem, and we not only have to make our voices heard, but we have to take steps to ensure that this is halted because most of those who suffer from domestic violence are women,” President Ramotar said in his address.

 

He urged the organisation and the gathering to also be vigilant about issues at the community level, some of which affect citizens like sanitation, proper roads, and drainage and irrigation, particularly in coastland areas where the risk of flooding during the rainy season is high.

WPO members taking part in the organisation’s concert to mark its 60th anniversary

With representation in the majority of communities and districts across the country, President Ramotar believes that the WPO can take the lead in addressing some of the aforementioned issues.

“The WPO has a glorious history that was built on its struggles for independence, democracy, social and economic progress and equality. Today you must use the glorious history that you have as an inspiration, have others joining to face the new challenges that we have. We must continue to provide more role models for our young girls,” President Ramotar said.

The organisation’s founder, Guyana’s first female President Janet Jagan O.E, was named in a long list of women who made invaluable contributions over the years. Among the others are Indra Chandarpal, Patricia Benn, Doris Hubbard, Sheila Veerasammy, Shirley Edwards, Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai, Presidential Adviser on Governance Gail Teixeira and Merlin Udho Ambassador of Guyana to Brazil and Chile.

 

Janet Jagan’s political life and struggles earned her a spot in Times Magazine’s most 100 rebellious women in the world, and was recalled for many of her efforts in a presentation done by Indra Chandarpal.

WPO members and artistes who took part in the concert take a photo opportunity with President Donald Ramotar and Prime Minister Samuel Hinds

Even President Ramotar remembered her leading a protest exercise with a group of women clothed in ‘dresses’ fashioned from flour bags, walking through the streets of Georgetown, demanding the right for food and wheaten flour.

 

Representation of women in senior positions such as the government and in Parliament, and their percentage as graduates at the University level were all credited to the struggles of the past. President Ramotar said although prejudices exist, they are not like the past as women today are bolder and more confident.

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