Jan 08, 2018  Features / ColumnistsFreddie Kissoon

Looking back at the year that has just gone by, it should not be hard to come up with some very disgraceful acts, one of which was the behaviour of a few female PPP parliamentarians. Last year, while the police moved into the National Assembly to remove Juan Edghill (he replied to me in this newspaper to say that he is in fact an ordained bishop, but I would like to know which law compels me to recognize him as a bishop; I don’t), and his PPP colleagues prevented the police from catching him, some female PPP parliamentarians began to shout “rape, rape, rape!”
The situation is still confusing. Who was being raped? Was it Priya Manickchand or Gail Teixeira? Of course there is a big age difference between the two. Or was it Dr. Vindya Persaud? In the post-gender world we live in, rape can happen to the male species too. So who was raped?
In a tenth rate banana republic as Guyana is, the situation just died a natural death. There has been no inquiry even though there are countless video clips showing the women crying rape. There are dimensions to this incident that need to be analyzed. First, the accusation occurred in the highest institution in the land. In terms of power and domination, the army and police have no equals. They can control a country through violent means and render all other institutions ineffective.
In democratic countries where the army and police accept civilian control over their leadership, then Parliament is the supreme organ in the land even possessing authority that does not reside in the judiciary. A two/thirds majority in Parliament can change the constitution where the authority of the judiciary does not apply. A simple example should suffice. If the constitution is changed to allow voting at 16, the judiciary cannot reverse constitutional articles. No one can take the matter to court saying that age 16 is too young to vote. The courts cannot strike that down. What the courts do is to protect the constitution when it is violated by Parliament or the Executive.
freddie-kissoon-300x273In such a situation then, no one should be allowed to desecrate the sanctity of the highest body in the entire country. Is this what happened when female PPP parliamentarians alerted the world to a rape taking place in parliament? The answer can only be yes if a rape did not occur. That is why it is obligatory of the Speaker to investigate.
The second dimension is if no rape occurred, then what message is the Speaker sending to the society by allowing lawmakers to behave so immorally in the highest institution of Guyana without rebuke? To date, the Speaker has not even made an approach to the PPP parliamentarians that were crying rape even though he has video footage to go on.
It cannot be acceptable in a country where images have gone all over the world of lawmakers in the National Assembly of Guyana shouting that a rape is taking place and in fact no rape took place.
It doesn’t look like we will see an inquiry. But as you know from reading my pieces over the long years, the greatest ironies in the world take place only in Guyana. Remember the irony last year of the two trade unions at UG saying there is no transparency on the part of the university administration. Yet the head of Transparency International – Guyana branch works at UG where he is silent but he wants the Ministry of Natural Resources and the presidency to be transparent. I guess if he reads this, I will come in for some serious suck teeth.
So we come to the gargantuan irony of 2017, the irony of female parliamentarians that the society rely on to put women’s rights on the agenda, keep it there and to make sure that serious anti-women violence does not take place, trivializing the act of rape by fictionalizing it. This brings us to the third dimension of this most sordid incident in Guyana in 2017.
Trivializing rape in the eyes of the world is a dastardly thing to do. Feminists may even hurt you if you do that. But a number of female parliamentarians from the opposition PPP did just that and the voices of our vociferous women’s rights groups have fallen silent.
When you criticize the faults of people in this country they dislike you for exposing their hypocrisy (as if I could be bothered). In fact, in 2017 a rape did take place in Parliament. Some female PPP parliamentarians raped the anatomy of democracy.