Over the past week, much debate arose over the decision to bar single mothers employed with private security firms from working night shifts.However, as the debate erupts, what is unfortunate is the fact that despite the calls by gender equality activists for the decision to be reviewed with the need for a more comprehensive approach, Minister Keith Scott is moving ahead with his “noble idea.”The United Nations, in its report on attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, more particularly Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women – has informed that Guyana has made good progress in the area of gender equality, and has achieved gender parity.The issues of gender equality has attracted worldwide debate over the years. The World Economic Forum’s annual gender gap event reported last year that, in several countries, women’s participation in the labour force has declined, and the number of women in senior positions is shrinking.The annual report looks at progress towards equality between men and women in four key areas: educational attainment, health and survival, economic opportunity, and political empowerment. Sadly, that report highlighted that progress towards economic equality has slowed globally, with the economic participation and opportunity dipping.Locally, President David Granger, in his “Power to the women” speech on International Women’s Day 2017, committed to ending gender inequality in Guyana. As a matter of fact, the President is quoted as saying, “We can, we must, and we will achieve greater gender equality, to empower our women and girls. The struggle for equality and parity continues…Gender equality cannot be achieved in the absence of a more equal society.” He also said that Guyana’s approach is to make gender equality a parallel policy of his government.That being said, it begs the question: why does one of his ministers now take a backward step on this issue? Are there no consultations over decisions on national importance within the Cabinet? Such issues will not only have social backlashes, but, importantly, can lead to economic hardships for women, and moreso single mothers. If such a position is taken, women’s chances of employment with security firms will ultimately be marginal. This decision is no less than an infringement on gender equality, and can be used as a tool for demoralising women. Women in Guyana have made enormous advancements over the years, but this decision from Government shows that the administration still has some longstanding views of women as the lesser sex and their place being in the home.It can be agreed that while the minister’s heart may have been in the right place following some conversation with few private security firms, he should instead have met with women before making any decisions. Ironically, the very private security firms with whom the minister met have, in a public missive, called his actions a “cruel and arbitrary attack”.At this point, what is needed is dialogue between Government and women, moreso single mothers who work the night shifts as security personnel. This discussion should look at promoting and facilitating opportunities for women as they balance paid work and family responsibilities.The women of Cabinet should not sit by idly and watch their male colleagues trample on the rights of Guyanese women.
India’s tour of England was such an extended nightmare, the shrieks of it are still audible as the two teams face off in the first of the five-match one day series, beginning here at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Friday.The sheer magnitude of the defeats, in the four Tests and ODI series, has left a mark on the psyche of players and fans and it doesn’t seem likely that even a nearperfect performance by the hosts would make amends for it.The first match of a series is always important. But it must be very difficult for skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to not construe this as just a continuation of the England tour, with a few days off in between. What will be in his and his team’s favour is that the cold and unforgiving weather has made way to bright sunshine, with the promise on batting tracks, some assistance to the spinners and all the crowd support one can hope for.With conditions in England and India as varied as chalk and cheese, logic would suggest each team is the clear favourite in its home conditions. However, what became a worrying trend, especially in the final one- dayers in England, was that even if India managed to put up huge totals, their bowlers failed to make a match out of it.Team India, as has been the case after the World Cup win, will be without their galaxy of stars as the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh are unavailable due to injuries.advertisementIn all, seven first choice players will not be available for selection and this makes Dhoni’s job peculiar. The Indian players have been injured for so long that the point has come for the team to make do with whatever it has.Gautam GambhirBlooding in youngsters is the only way and this might mean more defeats than wins. But if there ever was a time to test the talent of the likes of Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav, Rahul Sharma, it is now. The bowling is wafer thin with even the back-up pacers Munaf Patel and Ishant Sharma injured. Off- spinner Harbhajan Singh has been dropped for poor form and this means the most experienced bowler in the Indian attack would medium-pacer Praveen Kumar, who himself might be cannon fodder on Indian tracks.The Indian batting should take care of itself with Ajinkya Rahane and Parthiv Patel enjoying success opening the innings in England although India lost 0- 3.The Englishmen must be confident of taking the series down to the wire, and maybe winning it.They now have the entire package solid top-order (Alastair Cook, Craig Kieswetter, Jonathan Trott) attacking lower-order (Ravi Bopara, Jonny Bairstow), fiery pacers (Tim Bresnan, Steve Finn, Jade Dernbach) and attacking spinners (Graeme Swann and Samit Patel).This series will be the first for both teams under the new ICC playing regulations. From now, two new balls will be used at both ends and the last two set of powerplays must be used between overs 16-40.On top of it, the track at Uppal is relaid one and Dhoni isn’t sure how it will behave. He did concede that it might not be like the ones which Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh scored scintillating hundreds against Australia.India have lost all the three matches at the venue and even in the IPL, Deccan Chargers went winless at home for more than 10 matches. Dhoni said that a change dressing rooms might do the trick. If only it were that simple.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Gautam Gambhir displayed acute leadership skills in the fifth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) by guiding his team all the way to the title. But more than that, the left-hander showed that India have a viable alternative to MS Dhoni ahead of the T20 World Cup.By cornering glory in the most prestigious club championship of T20 cricket, that too against Dhoni’s feared Chennai Super Kings, Gambhir has done his credentials no harm. In fact, Gauti has always risen to the occassion, be it for KKR, his Delhi Ranji team or even the Indian national side in one-day cricket.Making Gambhir’s case stronger is perhaps Dhoni’s recent struggles at the international level. The IPL aside, MSD has seemed short of ideas in Tests, one-dayers as well as T20 cricket. Till now, the selectors seemed to have little option but to persist with Dhoni, but Gambhir now could bring the much-needed freshness in leadership and perhaps do for India what he has done for KKR.The T20 World Cup 2012 will be played in Sri Lanka later this year. The hosts take on Zimbabwe in the first match on September 18, while India play their first match against Afghanistan the next day.
CRANBROOK, B.C. – The lawyer for a British Columbia man found guilty of marrying two dozen women says his client believed he could not be prosecuted for polygamy.Winston Blackmore’s attorney, Blaire Suffredine, was in B.C. Supreme Court in Cranbrook on Wednesday, arguing that a provincial attorney general in the early 1990s issued a statement that said charging an individual with polygamy would breach their charter rights.“His statement, that this is the law and this is what we will enforce and this is what we won’t enforce … is a clear statement that everyone in British Columbia, including Mr. Blackmore, can rely on,” Suffredine said.The statement followed an RCMP investigation in Bountiful, B.C., where the court has heard residents follow the tenants of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a sect that condones plural or “celestial” marriage.Blackmore, a leader in the small community, was found guilty earlier this year of one count of polygamy after the court heard he had married 24 women, including three who were 15 years old at the time.His co-accused, James Oler, was found guilty of having five wives.Blackmore is asking for a stay of the proceedings and an exemption from prosecution based on his religious beliefs. If he is convicted, Blackmore is asking for an absolute discharge.The convictions have not be entered pending the outcome of the constitutional arguments.Suffredine argued on Wednesday that Blackmore’s unions were never legal marriages, but common-law relationships sanctioned by Blackmore’s religious beliefs, which carry no legal weight.“Mr. Blackmore believes his actions were lawful, so he can’t possibly have the intent to commit a crime,” Suffredine said. “He testified to this, that the ceremonies were common-law unions, and he understood that to be legal.”Closing arguments in the case are expected to be heard on Thursday.(Cranbrook Daily Townsman)