Thursday, March 30, 2006

Stella Says...How does your party rank for the upcoming elections?

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 30 March 2006)

I think it would be helpful for the voters to have a comparison checklist of the various parties contesting the upcoming elections. This checklist would help the voters make an informed decision based on pertinent national issues and should include such parties as PPP/C, PNCR, AFC, GAP/ROAR, JFA, NFA and GTF (if they still exist).

I compiled a list of some of the national issues I would like to see addressed by the next administration a few months ago. These issues may change from person to person depending on what is most important in that voter’s life.

Here is the list I compiled:

  • A comprehensive economic plan to seriously reduce poverty. I believe the economic state of the nation to be paramount since it influences other aspects of society, such as crime and corruption. The nation does not need to hear a bunch of hype and hot air; it needs a strategy that has merit, which includes a strategy to revamp the economy and show the areas of focus for job creation and the areas that would receive less attention due to the changes in market value.

  • A scheme to systematically overhaul the law enforcement and judicial systems, including the introduction of a plan for consistent transparency and accountability. A functioning checks and balance system needs to be instituted to combat the rampant crime should include jail time for conspirators against the interests of the justice – such as informants and those who accept bribes. There needs to be tougher laws, an untainted and competent police force and judges who are willing to enforce the law and impose strict sentences in a judicious and consistent manner.

  • A foreign policy that encourages imports and exports with our neighbouring countries in South America and the Caribbean. I would like to see Guyana’s borders open, but only when they can also be protected. In the current state, one cannot expect to open our borders without also allowing the drug business to take an even greater hold (if that is possible). A serious border patrol is a necessary aspect of an open and free market. However, Guyana needs an infusion of outside money to spark its economy to life. There is not enough money in the nation to spread around and what money is here is horded by the few (so much for Communism) in the grand homes of the politicians and drug lords. This is why there needs to be an infusion of some fresh foreign money into the stale economy.

  • It is time the women of Guyana had a party that champions the rights of their half of the nation’s population. Hardly a day goes by without the media reporting another woman being victimised somehow in this nation. Then once she has already suffered from rape, abuse or even death – the current system provides little or no means of restitution or help to escape. Where are the legislators and politicians to stand up for the women of Guyana?
Therefore, it would be nice if the people had a way to compare each party on the basis of the issues that matter most to the nation. Here is a list of some of the questions I asked the AFC in early February. They have answered most of them here and there, but for the sake of the people, it would be nice to see each party provide detailed answers to these questions and describe their platform with more than just a patronising “We are fighting for a better Guyana” statement.

Here are some questions for Guyana’s Parties:

What is your party’s strategy for combating crime? For eliminating poverty? For preventing further flooding? For building a solid infrastructure? For diversifying the economy? For encouraging local business growth? For an enhanced educational system?

What is your party’s position on foreign investors? On women’s issues? On the state of the judiciary system? On Guyana’s role in the CSME? On state-owned and operated media outlets?

What does your party plan to do about drug trafficking? About the lack of jobs for young people? About paedophiles? About the astronomical duty levied on cars brought into Guyana? About the lack of traffic lights (and the broken ones)? About domestic abuse? About the fact that Freddie (and anyone else who owns a RAV 4) has to take out a loan just to buy some new tyres for their car?

Will your party support a Freedom of Information Bill in Parliament? Or will it follow the same double standard of previous administrations in regards to the tight control of information?

I’m sure there are many more questions that should be asked. If anyone has a question to ask, drop me an email or write a letter to the Editor. This election does not have to be the dog and pony show the politicians have staged. If the people choose to take it seriously, then the politicians will be forced to get real about the issues that affect the people every single day.

It is time to demand a higher standard from Guyana’s politicians. Let’s see if any of these parties care enough about the people to give the nation a reason to vote for them in September.

Email: Stellasays[at]

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Stella Says…I know the PPP can be a good government

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 28 March 2006)

I recently heard one of the many “life counsellors” that frequent the news shows on television say something that actually makes sense for once. This lady said, “Shame never works as a motivating factor. In fact, most times it produces the opposite of the desired result.”

Her words made me think about how many times over the past few months I have tried to use shame to motivate the PPP into action and she certainly does seem to be right in this regard, it seems to have produced the exact opposite of the desired result.

Therefore, since the normal motivating strategies that usually work with a typical democratic government have not worked with the PPP, such as accountability to the people and the fear of being laughed out of the voting booths come election time, I have decided to attempt a new strategy to motivate them – positive reinforcement.

My reason for choosing this particular method over the many motivating strategies being employed today is because it seems to be the technique that most closely resembles one of their more popular systems of motivating people.

They do use other motivating techniques as well, such as the bait and switch method, the smoke screen technique and the blame game strategy, but I think their positive reinforcement approach is the most effective.

The PPP has this one down to an art. So much so that when a report comes out stating that Guyana falls at the far bottom of an international list determining the level of corruption in the nation, it quickly responds by producing a piece of propaganda that everything is just fine in Guyana and the rest of the world simply doesn’t know what it is talking about.

Sometimes I think this act closely mirrors that of Jedi Knight from a Star Wars movie using mind control as he swipes his hand past an Imperial Trooper’s face and says, “These are not the people you are looking for,” when indeed they are the very ones being sought.

However, the PPP are not Jedi Knights and the people do not have the weak mind of an Imperial Trooper. So most times, the effects of even their attempts at positive reinforcement are still negligible.

Yet I still feel compelled to seek a new strategy today and have decided that positive reinforcement may actually work with the PPP. Please be patient with me as I try this new approach as it may seem strange at first, but I am willing to do what it takes to help the PPP be a more effective government.

(Switching into positive reinforcement mode…)

Dear PPP big wigs,

Freddie sure did hit your party hard in his Sunday column this week. But don’t you let it get you down for even one second because I am sure things are going to turn around for you soon. There is a rainbow with a pot of gold waiting for you if you can just hold on – and who knows, maybe you can then buy even more palatial houses.

(Oops, just a little slip of the shame method again. Cut me a little slack; these are uncharted waters for me.)

I know all of you who have those big houses and little incomes have probably inherited the money from your rich grandmothers and all of this talk of holding you accountable is just plain unfair, right?

Don’t you worry your pretty little heads about this situation, because tomorrow is a new day and I am sure by then you will have concocted some scheme to explain away all of these dastardly accusations and line your pockets with more ill-gotten money.

(Oops, another slip. I don’t seem to have a handle on this positive reinforcement method yet. Okay, here’s another try.)

Don’t let this whole thing get you down. I’m sure your friends will still come around to see you even though you are part of the reason the drug lords rule Guyana instead of the PPP. I’m sure you were only trying to help the country. I’m sure you only had the people’s interests at heart when you accepted all of that tainted cash.

After all, everyone else is doing the very same thing, right? And if they aren’t, it is only because they haven’t had a chance yet. I am sure that Freddie will come around to see things your way soon and make a public apology about how he was wrong to be so unfair to the PPP.

(Not even the slightest chance!)

If you just keep working as hard as you are right now and being the great and effective government that you have been for the last 14 years, I am sure the rest of the nation will overlook all of these “minor” indiscretions and vote you in for yet another term so you can be the great government we all know you can.

Somewhere deep down inside of you, I just know there is a good government just waiting to show its face. (So what are you waiting for – Marx to be reincarnated?) All you need to do is exactly what you are doing right now and this nation is bound to turnaround sometimes in the next millennium or two.

(I give up!)

I tried folks, but I just don’t think I have what it takes to be the positive reinforcement type of media watchdog. I offer my apologies to those PPP-ites with their palatial houses. I have failed you miserably in my attempt to try to find a more effective method of motivating you to be a better government. Maybe Peeping Tom would do a much better job since he is already kissing the soles of your shoes anyhow.

I guess this means I must revert to my former method of calling a thief a thief. Because Freddie is right, there needs to be an explanation for all of those nice homes being enjoyed by government workers who make less than he does. Will the PPP kindly explain this for us? I won’t be holding my breath.

Email: Stellasays[at]

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Stella Says…Ladies, tell those abusive men, “Hell, No!”

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 26 March 2006)

Ten days ago this newspaper published a sobering editorial focusing on the need for the nation to start taking a strong stance against violence against women. This is how the editorial began, “It is an unendurable shame that the scourge of violence against women continues to plague Guyana year after year, with no end in sight and with no sustained public outcry against it, especially from women.”

We are nearing the end of the month many celebrate as Women’s History Month. As such I want to highlight a piece of musical art that was only recently released. “The Color Purple” is a movie from the 80’s that captured a period of time in African American history circa 1949. This movie has been made into a Broadway musical and a soundtrack of the musical is now available.

I picked it up a couple weeks ago after watching a stirring performance on television of a particular song. The song is entitled, “Hell, No!” – and for good reason. Let me share that song with you. Here is the setting; Sofia confronts her friend Celie for telling Harpo (Sofia’s husband) that he needed to beat his wife if he wanted her to “mind” him.

You told Harpo to beat me?!

Celie: I’m sorry.

Sofia: I loves Harpo. God knows I do. But I’ll kill him dead, 'fo I let him or anybody beat me!

Sofia begins singing:
All my life I had to fight!
I had to fight my daddy!
I had to fight my brothers, my cousins, my uncles too!

But I never, never, never, never, never, never thought I'd have to fight
In my own house!

I feel sorry for you to tell you the truth.
You remind me of my momma!
Under yo' husband's thumb, naw
You under yo' husband's foot!
What he say goes!
Why you so scared I'll never know.
But if a man raise his hand...Hell no!
Hell no!!

Girl child ain’t safe in a family of mens!
Sick and tired how a woman still live like a slave.
Oh, you better learn how to fight back
While you still alive!
You show them, girl, and beat back that jive!
Cause when a man jus don’t give a damn...Hell no!
Hell no!!

What you gon' do now?

Sofia: My sisters comin' to get me. I think I need a vacation on up and away from here.

Celie: But Harpo yo' husband. You got to stay wit' him. I know you love 'em

Sofia sings again:
When that man used to touch me
He'd climb on top and start to rock me away
Lord knows I still loves him
But he tried to make me mind
And I just ain’t that kind - hell no!

Sometimes my husband get on me so hard, he hurt me all over.
But he my husband. So I jus' talk to my ol' maker.
This life'll soon be over. Heaven last always!

Sofia: What you oughta do is bash Mister's head open and think on Heaven later.
You can’t stay here, girl! Calling out in a loud voice: Sisters!

Sofia’s sisters enter the stage from every direction, one with a shotgun, as they sing and shout:

Sister 1:
Hell no!

Sister 2: Hell no!

Sister 3: Hell no!

Sister 4: Hell no!

Sister 5: Hell no!

Sister 6: Hell no!

Sister 7: Mmmm, hell no!

Sisters (together): Hell no! Lets go!

Sister 1: Gonna be yo’ rock! Gonna be yo' tree, yeah!

Sister 2: Something to hold on to in yo' time of need!

Sister 3: Well, you too good for that man!

Sisters: Man, that man!
(I'm gonna take yo' hand!)
Take my hand!
Sister, you got to go!

Sister 4: Don’t be no fool! Don’t waste your time!

Sister 5: Any man who hurts you ain’t worth a dime!

Sister 7: What he won’t know til yo' gone

Sisters: Til she gone!
(Throw him away!)
She be gone!
Sister, you got to go!

Sofia to Celie: Girl, you too good for that man!
Let me take you away!
(Sister!) Come on, go away!
(Sister!) Dont you wanna go away?
(Sister!) You gotta, you gotta leave today!
(Sister!) Hey!

Sisters: Sister, you got to say!

Sofia: You got to say, you need to say, you better say, you oughta say!

Sisters: Hell!

Sofia: Hell, hell, hell, hell, hell, hell!

All: No!!

This song explores so many of the nuances that accompany domestic abuse. Celie is the complicit woman who accepts it as a norm in society. Sofia refuses to submit her life to abuse and even though she still loves her husband, she is leaves him. Sofia is a perfect example for how the women of Guyana can rid themselves of abusive men.

Sofia’s sisters did not – not even for one second - encourage her to stay with an abusive husband. They came to get her and was ready to fight for her safety if need be. They did not make it seem like it was her fault (something many women do to justify the abuse). Instead, they gave her the support she needed and surrounded her with love.

I completely agree with Sister 5 when she said, “Any man who hurts you ain’t worth a dime.” A woman would be far better off without any man at all than with a man who is beating her. All she needs is some support to help her transition into a good job and take care of herself and her kids.

This is song is a perfect portrayal of how I see the abuse ending for the women of Guyana. I see women of every ethnicity standing up for her abused sisters and, just like Sofia’s sisters, coming from every direction to say, “Hell, no!”

I see these women fighting back and refusing to be the complicit slave that can be taught “how to mind.” I see each woman becoming her own person and creating a life that is safe and personally rewarding – and then sharing that life with a caring (and non-violent) man.

Ladies, if the government will not protect you, then it is time for every one of you to band together and protect yourselves. It is time to take a stand against this scourge of violence against women. It is time to refuse to be a punching bag for some insecure man who feels he owns you and can do whatever he likes to you.

It is time for every woman in Guyana to hold hands and in unison yell to the top of your voices at every single abusive man, “HELL, NO!”

Email: Stellasays[at]

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Stella Says…The choice of government should remain with the people

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 23 March 2006)

It is my opinion that the recent push for a boycott of the upcoming general elections is nothing short of contrived theft of the people’s democratic right to choose their own government. To compound the issue even further, Peter Ramsaroop and the ACDA are calling for a caretaker government while the election process is revamped.

I now see why they were calling for the boycott in the first place; it is to establish a caretaker government - a government not chosen by the people, but by the very leaders who have already failed the nation. Why on earth would the people want to relinquish this very important decision to the current lot of mostly inept politicians?

I have heard the various arguments for such a drastic action - the unfair aspects of the system, the fact that the current government has not taken the promised steps to rectify the system per the Herdmanston Accord (why am I not surprised?) and the innate fear that accompanies elections in Guyana on both sides of the racial configuration under normal circumstances.

In fairness, both of the long-standing parties have failed the country in this regard. They are both to blame for the fact that nothing has been done since the last election to finally do away with the winner-take-all system. The PPP has made no real effort to reform the constitution and the PNCR, in its position as the opposition party, waited until the last minute to sound the alarm and demand constitutional reform.

An undertaking so extensive and cumbersome as constitutional reform is not something that can be accomplished in a matter of a few months. It is an endeavour that will take years and should be started at the beginning of an election term, not at the very end.

Which is why the same groups who are calling for a boycott of the elections have now proposed a caretaker government to oversee the nation whilst the politicians dally away at reforming the constitution – for years.

Peter Ramsaroop, in his Sunday column, “Creation of a Caretaker Government,” said of the winner-take-all system, “This model will always create a racial divide and not allow the best and brightest minds who could contribute to Guyana’s development to do so.”

I vehemently disagree with Mr. Ramsaroop and do not believe we should assume the people would not cross the racial divide to vote for a better Guyana. While I do agree that the current system needs to be reformed, it is the politicians who have divided Guyana, not the current system. Which is precisely why the people should decide who governs the country for the next few years and not the usual lot of corrupt leaders.

Since we know this effort will take years and since we are at the end of one term and approaching another, doesn’t it make sense to let the people decide who should be in office during those years?

Moreover, it is the people’s constitutional right and responsibility to decide. I am assuming this is one part of the constitution that will not change. Why should the people sit by and let the politicians, most of whom have failed the country miserably, decide who will sit on this caretaker government?

It is not as if Guyana’s current politicians have proven that they can make wise decisions concerning what is best for the country or that they are above reproach and trustworthy so as to give the people a reason to trust them to establish a temporary government for the time it takes to reform the constitution.

I realise the potential is there for the PPP to retain the majority again, but that is for the people to decide. If there is an election boycott by the African community, then of course the PPP will retain power.

Mr. Ramsaroop questioned why the current government has not implemented the necessary reform for the electoral process, but I cannot help but wonder whether the current situation would be any different if the shoe was on the PNCR’s foot instead. This is why the people need to make the decision about who governs them and not the same politicians who have created this problem in the first place.

However, I truly believe this year can offer a possibility to change the political landscape in Guyana. The introduction of the new third force is bound to shake things up a bit and I believe if a fair share of votes is distributed amongst the three parties, this could be the year that the people find an equitable solution to their long and insufferable political plight.

This is a far more reasonable avenue by which to establish a government to reform the constitution. In fact, according to the laws of the land, this is the only way by which it should be done. Certainly Guyana is not at the point where it needs to declare itself ungovernable and establish a caretaker government.

If Haiti has evolved so much that it can hold democratic elections without the typical violence that usually ensues, then I simply refuse to believe that Guyana cannot do the very same thing. So long as the politicians pocket their racial instigations and the people choose to make their voices heard, then Guyana can have the same democratic outcome as Haiti.

Guyanese have been ripped off in so many ways. They have lost their bright futures to lackadaisical and self-serving governments. They have lost their security to drug lords and wanton criminals. They have lost more than half of their population to other countries with thriving economies. It would be nothing short of a crime to ad insult to injury and rip away their opportunity to decide who governs this nation too.

Email: Stellasays[at]

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Stella Says…There is medicine to help you, Peeps

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 21 March 2006)

Last week I certainly seem to have hit a nerve with my fellow columnist, Peeping Tom. Each week that passes by causes Peeps to show his hand just a little bit more – so much so that from now on I believe I shall refer too my colleague as “The PPP’s Peeps.”

The ironic aspect about the fact that Peeps is showing his PPP side so often nowadays is that he was so adamantly opposed to Sweet and Sensitive Freddie taking political sides with the AFC.

I remember the good old days when Peeps and I took turns trying to persuade Freddie not to lose his objectivity by throwing his support behind any party. Now it seems as if Peeps has gone and done the same thing. Although Freddie has handled his lack of objectivity concerning political parties with integrity, the PPP’s Peeps is doing anything but.

I went to visit my daughter at college this past weekend and read the column by The PPP’s Peeps during my travels. I chewed on what he had said for quite a while attempting to decipher what nerve I had obviously struck without knowing.

It could not have been the fact that I took such a hard stance against the President’s ability to effectively lead the nation. I do that almost every week and the PPP’s Peeps says nary a word about it. In fact, in his column from last Friday, he acknowledged that I am indeed entitled to my views about the President’s competence.

In my ponderings, I also wondered if perhaps this Peeps for the PPP is such a staunch supporter of Janet Jagan that I had offended him by saying I would never run for President because I didn’t think a girl from America’s Midwest had any right to be President of Guyana. Since Mrs. Jagan is also from the Midwest, I thought this might have made Peeps very upset.

When I mentioned my ponderings to my husband, he helped me to figure out why the PPP’s Peeps was so upset – and borderline acidic – with me last Friday. I had definitely hit a nerve, but the soft spot was not the current or past president, so maybe it was the core supporters of the PPP.

The original article that made the PPP’s Peeps so upset was about how I believe an obscure farmer could do a better job of leading this nation than the current President. Of course Peeps twisted my words and said, “Her use of the example of an obscure farmer was intended as a counterpoint to the President. It was meant to say that even an obscure farmer could do better than the President. She may not have realised that she was also saying that even though an obscure farmer is not one that we associate with the qualities of a leader, the performance of the President is so woeful that even the obscure farmer would do better than the incumbent President.”

He was trying to make it seem as if I was talking badly about farmers. I wonder if this Peeps is related to Robert Persaud? With that kind of spin, I’d bet anything they are both great dancers. But just because they can dance doesn’t mean they have found their groove – because it is obvious that neither of them know how to groove.

In any case, I do not believe the PPP’s Peeps would have had such an issue with my column if I had said that a local businessman or woman would do a better job as President. My intention would have been the same, but he wouldn’t have been able to twist it so badly.

However, I still believe someone from Guyana’s interior who is not well known in the political arena could do a better job than the current leader of the nation. And here is where I believe I struck that nerve that made the PPP’s Peeps respond so sharply.

Those in the interior, the farmers and such, are the core of the PPP’s supporters and I am sure the party does not want for their backers to start thinking I am right and that any one of them could do a better job than the current President. This type of thinking might further encourage that grassroots movement by the people that I mentioned in a previous column.

It is the people who will change this country, not the politicians (more on this in Thursday’s column). The lack of political ability to change Guyana has become more and more obvious in the last couple of months. Something else that is also very apparent is the fact that the people are absolutely sick and tired of where the politicians have led the nation – and they are ready to do something about it.

As far as my image that the PPP’s Peeps seems to think is so badly tarnished because I’d like to see a farmer run for President, I am not too worried about it. How credible can this comment be coming from someone who seems to suffer from some sort of political bi-polar disorder?

One day Peeps is calling Luncheon a logical choice to be the next Prime Minister if Hinds is not and a possible candidate for President in 2011 and then another day is saying Luncheon should be relieved of any responsibility dealing with national security.

They have medicine for such erratic behaviour Peeps, perhaps you should look into it.

Just like the rest of the nation, I try to piece together little bits of information to see if I can figure out Peeping Tom’s real identity. With the newly added titbit that Peeps is evidently a farmer too, so far this is the description I have put together.

Peeps is an aging, balding farmer who sits at busy intersections to watch the big wigs wiz by in their chauffeured SUVs. If anyone sees a person fitting this description, please snap a photo and send it to me.

Email: Stellasays[at]

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Stella Says…Please, Guyana , don't give up yet

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 19 March 2006)

I recently wrote a column encouraging everyone to follow the advice of Home Affairs Minister Gail Teixeira to boycott the businesses (and shops) of the drug lords. In response, I received an e-mail from a friend who tried to explain to me how things really worked in Guyana .

My friend said in this e-mail, "They [the drug lords] set up these businesses to have a legitimate front, they do not need the money. For example, they buy goods at $1.00 and sell it at 50 cents so legitimate businesses can't compete. Because of our poverty, people buy the 50 cents goods because that's all they can afford."

This statement got me good. I understand first hand what it is to live in poverty, so of course I know the need to get life's necessities at the lowest possible price. However, I also understand how important it is to take a STRONG stand against immorality whenever possible.

I mentioned before that I grew up in an abusive home. My mother was physically, verbally and mentally abusive to me almost every single day of my life until I got married - and I have the scars to prove it. The anger that lived in me even after I was out of my mother's reach is something that still scares me even today, but I refused to let it rule my life.

Then one day a couple years later, I was babysitting a little girl and a toddler for a lady from the church I attended. The toddler was a cute little boy who was being absolutely adorable as he wobbled across the room to his sister. The adorable factor that should have melted my heart instead made me furious. I had an uncontrollable desire to pick the child up and throw him against the wall.

Instead, I immediately called my husband sobbing. Since he was well aware of the abuse I had been subjected to as a child, he suggested that I get home as soon as possible and not baby sit those children anymore.

That solved the immediate problem, but a bigger one loomed over my head like a dark cloud since I was very pregnant with my first child at the time.

I have heard people question time and again why someone who has been abused would turn around and do the same thing to their children. Unless you have grown up with abuse, it is difficult to understand. Hitting and yelling is all you know, so it is within that type of environment that an abused person is comfortable.

When that environment is gone, for one reason or another, the abused victim often seeks to recreate it again so he/she can operate within a setting that is familiar. Also, there is the anger factor I spoke of earlier. There is usually so much bottled-up anger in an abused victim that he/she needs to let out and the only avenue by which he/she knows it can be done is the one he/she learned as a victim.

I have said all of this to get to this point. I knew that I did not want my children to grow up with the constant fear and anger I had to live with even into my adult years. Therefore, I did everything possible to fight off a behaviour that seemed natural to me – even though it was of course immoral to most of the normal world.

I broke the abuse cycle (I found out my mother's mother was abusive as well) and my children grew up in a loving home. This adjustment was one of the most difficult feats I have ever had to carry out, but it was worth every ounce of effort. I paid the price and did what was right – even though it would have been much easier for me to fall back into that old comfort zone of abusive behaviour.

Now, back to Guyana . This is a country of very religious people who strive to live moral lives. My friend is no exception; he too is a religious man. This is why it disturbs me to know that Guyanese are being forced to violate their consciences because of poverty.

My friend said, "My change to agreeing to some of these things that I do now will be a shock to you and it is because of the injustice of the system…"

When I hear about this type of stuff, it just infuriates me. This is the very reason why I take such a strong stance against any government that gets into bed with the very criminals who are forcing the people to live in a decadent environment.

When the people of a country start becoming acclimated to murder, bribes, drugs and governmental corruption, when they start accepting their plight and give in to an encroaching depravity, when they start feeling like something that is immoral is actually natural – this is when that nation can be called a failed state.

Much like how I grew up in an abusive environment and became accustomed to the setting even though I despised it at the same time, this is where Guyana is right now. Please understand that unless Guyanese stave off these wolves in sheep's clothing – the nation will be struggling with the immoral behaviour these criminals have brought with them for decades to come, much like I struggled with my own abusive tendencies even after my abuser was out of my life.

These current drug lords, with their dirty businesses and wicked agenda, will leave a legacy for Guyana long after they have been gunned down by another wanna-be criminal. That legacy will be the adaptation of an upright and good people to injustice, murder and corruption.

It might be hard and it may not make much sense at the time, but trust me when I say that if Guyanese do not boycott the businesses (and shops) of the drug lords now, they (and their children) will one day become the very things they now despise.

Regardless if these drug lords need the money from these businesses or not, the people of Guyana should avoid any sort of association with the criminals who are dragging the nation into a cesspool of immorality. These criminals should be treated like the scourge they are to the land and be avoided at all costs.

Today Guyana is faced with a situation like I had with that toddler so many years ago. Do you give into what seems like a natural instinct (like lower prices in the face of poverty) or do you choose to take a stand and break the cycle? That decision could mean the difference between another generation of gunmen on the streets or a society of peace and justice.

When I look at my children today and know they grew up in a loving home without physical, verbal or mental abuse – I am glad I broke the cycle. Please, Guyana , don't give up yet. Take a stand against the evil that is pressuring you to violate your conscience. Your children will appreciate it one day and you will know you did the right thing.

Email: Stellasays[at]

Friday, March 17, 2006

No disgrace in being an obscure farmer - Peeping Tom

Here's Peeping Tom's column from today's Kaieteur News:
Stella has changed the photograph that normally appears beside her column. But changing her photograph to one that closely mirrors how she presently looks will not undo the damage to her image and credibility occasioned by her comment that even an obscure farmer would do better than the President.

She earlier made a similar mistake when she labeled the President's comments at Babu John as racist politics. No longer so sweet and adorable, Stella in the process failed to realise the implicit stereotyping when she joined the bandwagon in so accusing the President.

Now, however, that the dust is settling, a light bulb has clicked in Stella's groovy head. The damage though has already been done, and no amount of damage control short of deep reflection and personal introspection can redeem the situation. What will definitely not also help is obfuscating her error by pointing fingers at the Peeper.

Her use of the example of an obscure farmer was intended as a counterpoint to the President. It was meant to say that even an obscure farmer could do better than the President. She may not have realised that she was also saying that even though an obscure farmer is not one that we associate with the qualities of a leader, the performance of the President is so woeful that even the obscure farmer would do better than the incumbent President.

I have no problems with Stella's opinion about the incumbent President. She is entitled to her views about his competence but why of all the possible unflattering nouns available, she had to settle on a farmer. Why put down farmers in the process? Why should an obscure farmer not do better than the President?

If the Peeper was speaking about someone who failed to answer a question, let us say in a quiz, and the Peeper said that even an idiot would have known the answer to a question, I would in fact be insulting the person who did not answer the question since I would be saying that even someone not renowned for his or her intelligence would have given the correct answer.

When Stella therefore deduced that even an obscure farmer would do better than the President, considering that her article was an outraged criticism of the Head of State, she was putting down the President by using as a counterpoint, an obscure farmer, thus putting down farmers. Get it Stella?

I fail to see why an obscure farmer should be considered less than competent to run a country. We who till the soil may not have roots that trace back to the philosopher kings of Rome but certainly we do not expect that a sassy young lady like Stella, with her groove and everything else still intact, would be so disrespectful to assume that we lack the common wisdom required for running a country. I am sure that while some of us may lack sophistication, we are endowed with enough common sense to know what works and what does not.

I see no reason why a farmer cannot aspire to the highest office in the land. President Lula was labor leader, President Chavez was a paratrooper and President Morales certainly did not come from the traditional oligarch class.

President Jagdeo was an unknown country boy when he was first made a minister in the PPP government. He comes from the very obscure background that people like to put down. And he has brought to government that people's touch. His background - his parents were kitchen garden farmers - has freed him of the “airs” of power; he is widely seen as someone who is approachable and willing to listen to the problems of the people.

Stella's opinion of the Head of State is certainly not complimentary. And to think that only a short while back when President Jagdeo was on a visit to Washington , she was eager to invite him out to dinner. Now that she thinks so poorly of his competence, that invitation must be far from her thoughts.

I wish to assure Stella that, when I said at the back of her mind must have been the thought that a Ramsaroop would do a wonderful job, I was not referring to her. I know that she has no political ambitions, just hopes that one of her clan can make a favorable impression on the local electorate.

I know also that she is no farmer. I do not expect her to know the difference between a banana and plantain stalk. But in Guyana dreams can be fulfilled. If the Pumpkin Eater can become the Plantain Chips King of Guyana, then even an obscure individual can aspire to the highest office in the land. And there is no disgrace in either.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Stella Says…Silly Peeps, I’m Not an Obscure Farmer

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 16 March 2006)

In my column from last Sunday, I suggested that Guyana would be better off with some obscure farmer than with the current administration. I received more email responses for this article than almost any other. With the exception of Peeping Tom’s column and one other person, the rest of the respondents understood what I meant and agreed with me.

Therefore, I thought it would be wise to spell things out for my fellow columnist so he can better understand my initial point.

Firstly dear Peeps, please don’t assume that my reason for making such a statement is solely based on the recent remarks made by the President. In fact, it is a culmination of continuous incompetence that drives me to wish that someone else – anyone else – was leading the country.

In fact, my intended point was to show that if the people of Guyana voted for a farmer that is not known among the political elite (obscure), I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that he/she would do far better than the current leader of the nation.

One of the emails I received on this column said, “It could still happen - maybe not a farmer but a complete unknown individual. I have written for years in the letter column about the need for new leadership. Of course, the citizens are blinded by the notion that leadership only comes from seasoned politicians.”

Whether Peeps or the PPP (or the PPP’s Peeps) want to admit it, there is a definite grass roots movement that desperately desires a people’s government for Guyana. It is only a matter of time until this happens. I believe it will be this election year.

The same email also said, “Guyana needs a stimulus - our people are dynamic. They just need that first STEP. Which is always filled with uncertainties.” I couldn’t agree more with this person. When Guyana takes that first step to get rid of politics as usual - that is when things will finally turn around for this country.

So Peeps, unless the President and his government have ensured the country that it won’t flood again next year, instituted a friendly environment for both local and foreign investment, gotten the crime situation in hand, revamped the educational system and declared war on the drug trade – all by election time this year, then yes, I do think this country would be far better off with an obscure farmer than its current leader.

Come on now Peeps, this administration has had over a decade to turn this country around, so they cannot blame the PNC for the current plight of the Guyanese people. The PPP needs to stop being childish take full responsibility for its own incompetence instead of trying to constantly push the blame elsewhere.

Educated or not, I think if the PPP were able and willing to help Guyana, they would have done so by now. Therefore, I will continue to call for obscure farmers – or as my email friend stated so well, a completely unknown individual – to take over the reigns of the country and do something good for the people for a change. Peeps said in his column about me, “She can however do better than suggesting a farmer for President.” I’m not too sure about that Peeps. After all, where has all of Jagdeo’s economic education gotten the nation?

Peeps also suggested that perhaps I thought a Ramsaroop would do a wonderful job as president. Silly Peeps, I am not an obscure farmer. Although I understand that my family on my father’s side a couple generations ago use to farm.

Even if I were a farmer, I would still never run for president because I think it would be highly improper for someone who was born and raised in the United States to be the highest leader in Guyana. I just don’t think a girl from the Midwest should have the right to be president of a country in South America. I wouldn’t mind being president of the US though, but I have far too much fun on this side of the journalistic divide.

Perhaps you were actually speaking of another Ramsaroop instead of me. Maybe one who was born in Guyana, like my brother-in-law? However, my brother-in-law is certainly not obscure and he is far from being a farmer. I’m not even sure he has a green thumb, so I couldn’t have been referring to him either.

Having clarified my position a little more, I want to spell this out as clearly as possible for you, Peeps. Guyana needs someone who will put the needs of the people as the highest priority for his/her administration. The PPP and Jagdeo have had a very long 13 years to prove they were up to the job, but they have instead proven the exact opposite.

Email: Stellasays[at]

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Stella Says…The Boycotting Bonanza of 2006 is well underway

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 14 March 2006)

So far this year, there has been a call from the African Cultural Development Association (ACDA) for Afro-Guyanese to boycott the elections and a call from Home Affairs Minister Gail Teixeira to boycott the businesses of drug lords.

The PNC has said it is considering a boycott on the elections too if the party does not find acceptable terms from Guyana Elections Commission. The ACDA went ever further and demanded a Constitutional reform.

I have yet to seriously address the call for a boycott of the elections because I like to watch the responses and see what others think about such drastic measures. My initial response was to envision the Indian half of Guyana’s population going to the polls on Election Day, while the African half stayed home in protest.

It seems to me that this whole idea would be like the Afro-Guyanese shooting themselves in the political foot. If one does not go to the poll and cast one’s vote, then one cannot expect to be properly represented in government.

I understand the frustration with the “winner take all” system, but the system needs to be changed through a proper restructuring process and not by throwing down a gauntlet and saying, “If you don’t make this system fair, then we just won’t vote.”

The current government would probably be quite happy if the supporters of the opposition did not so up this year because that is the only way I think they will be able to remain in power. If most of the nation shows up, like usual, I truly believe the PPP will lose its majority in Parliament.

With a more equitable distribution of representation, including the new third force party, that is when Parliament can begin the process of reforming Guyana’s Constitution and thereby instituting a far more effective system of governance.

If every Guyanese goes to the polls this year, I think the current administration is done for. Their foundation of support is crumbling daily and they haven’t one solid accomplishment on which to stand and proclaim a successful tenure.

They have not brought significant economic growth, they have not increased the overall standard of living, they have not decreased crime and they have not ended corruption. If anything, this administration should be scampering off with its tail between its legs. This past month alone is testament enough of the government’s utter failure in regards to its responsibility to the people of Guyana.

The one sparkling difference is the brave Gail Teixeira, who didn’t pretend to be ignorant of the nation’s problem with drug trafficking. She even went so far as to tell the nation to boycott the businesses of the drug lords.

Of course, in typical PPP fashion, when Teixeira later attempted to clarify her statement strong statement, she left us all scratching our heads in confusion again. I truly hope she does not cave into pressure and back down on her strong stance.

She has been the one person in the government to actually have the chutzpah to publicly take a strong stance for the nation rather than dish out a bunch of gibberish and dodge reality. She treated the nation like they were intelligent enough to understand the situation instead of offering the characteristically patronising claptrap we have become accustomed to receiving from the government.

For that reason alone, she has my support and I hope beyond hope she is strong enough to withstand the pressure she must be under to fall in line with the party’s expectations. If anything, the PPP should be using Teixeira’s daring act as an example to remedy their weak disposition.

In short, Stella Says please do not boycott the elections. Your vote could be the one that changes Guyana. However, do boycott the businesses (and the shops) of those villainous drug lords. Give them ample reason to pack up their operations and leave Guyana for good.

Email: Stellasays[at]

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Stella Says…Guyana Would be Better Off With an Obscure Farmer for its Next President

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 12 March 2006)

I have been a leader in various forms over the years, as have most adults. For this reason alone, I cannot fully comprehend the actions of Guyana’s so-called leaders this past week.

When things are going badly for a group, the leader of that group is expected to find ways to turn the bad situation around. A leader is expected to surround him/herself with wise counsellors that offer solid advice on how to change a negatively charged environment into a workable situation.

On the contrary, how does Guyana’s President respond to a highly negative situation? He pulled out one of the vilest tricks in the book, racial politics. He knew full well what this could do to the country. He knew it could lead to the deaths of many, riots, the loss of the World Cup, further economic decline and increased crime, but he did it anyway.

We all knew it would happen. We have all seen it coming. But that didn’t make it any less incredulous when it finally happened. What makes this even more unbelievable is that the President’s party has been shown to be friendly with criminals too. If this isn’t a case of the pot calling the kettle black, I don’t know what is.

Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo actually said, "I want you to know that the same people who have to steal the guns now would be given the guns if the government changes. The people who have to steal the guns today would be given the guns because they are in close bed with some of the elements in the opposition. I have said this many times, they used to visit the bandits in Buxton.”

The President also accused the PNC of using fear to keep the people away from the voting booths. He did not offer any proof for his statement about the guns; it was just thrown out there for the world to chew on (and the President turns around and sues someone else for libel in the same week?). At least the U.S. report provided proof of the PPP’s dealings with a known drug lord with a piece of land given to the criminal.

While I am adamantly opposed to the idea of boycotting an election since it is akin to boycotting democracy in my eyes, I cannot help but wonder if the President realises how very scary it is that his party knows the name and location of at least one drug lord and does absolutely nothing about it. That, Mr. President, produces great fear in the people.

The PNC is now calling for the PPP to relinquish their power. It won’t happen – and it shouldn’t happen. Who would run the country until the elections? The PNC? They were not elected to do so by the people. It does seem like the PNC is pulling out all stops to get back into power, but the only way they can constitutionally do it - and have the support of the people - is to win the majority in the next elections.

The PNC is pulling out all sorts of tricks to get back in power and the PPP is playing the race card to stay in power. It is all absolutely disgusting to me. Clinton was technically impeached for having an intern pleasure him sexually, but the escapades of the politicians in Guyana for the last couple of weeks make Clinton look like a choirboy. There is a small movement in the U.S. to impeach Bush because of his wire tapping transgressions, but I don’t see him running around suing newspapers for libel.

Over the last couple of weeks, the decisions made by the President, the leader of Guyana, have been detrimental to the country. Instead of pushing for unity after a terrifying ordeal, he deliberately used that event to split the country. In the same week, he sues a media outlet. Quite frankly, I would not allow a leader like this to lead me anywhere.

If you ask me, Guyana would be better off finding some obscure farmer from the hinterland to vote into office than some of these so-called leaders it has now. Guyana does not need to boycott the next elections, it needs to use the upcoming elections to get rid of these pathetic leaders once and for all and replace them with some leaders who will do something good for Guyana for a change.

Email: Stellasays[at]

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Stella Says…How Does Guyana Measure Up in Gender Equality?

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 9 March 2006)

Yesterday, on International Women’s Day, the UN issued a statement calling for more women in the boardrooms for businesses worldwide. This move was to encourage more countries to follow the example of Norway, which recently passed a new law requiring every business in the country to have women occupy 40 percent of the seats in company boardrooms within the next two years or risk having their business dissolved.

Anne Katherine Slungard of Norway, who sits on the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women, said of her country, “There were a high number of women in paid work. Norwegian women were also highly educated; 65 per cent of university students were women. So, there was a large pool of qualified women in Norway. The problem was that only 17.8 per cent of the board members were women. Because of the new law, however, Norwegian businesses were actively recruiting women.”

With the percentage of women overtaking that of men in Guyana’s higher educational system, this is certainly a feasible undertaking for this country that could be implemented in short time. I received an email from a wonderful Guyanese woman this week that agreed with my Sunday column on the need for more women leaders.

The concern for this Guyanese woman – and for many others too - is whether developing countries like Guyana still struggle with a machismo mentality that views women as second-class citizens and sees a movement toward gender equality as a serious threat to the family unit and the society at large. This is a valid concern since there are still many who hold to this lesser view of women, however, I do not think this issue is limited to developing countries alone and also would like to see the U.S. follow in the footsteps of Norway and pass a similar law for gender equity in businesses.

According to the UN report, the Chairperson for the Commission, Adekunbi Abibat Sonaike of Nigeria, responded to questions of gender equality in the least developed nations in Africa in this way, “The African Union, itself, had made it explicit that, especially at the political level, women should be represented at the level of at least 30 per cent. In Rwanda, the representation of women and men was almost 50-50. The political will had been established in Africa. Education was the key to exposing women to different areas and allowing them to realize their potential. Poverty remained a constraint, however, and its feminization must become a thing of the past. She believed strongly that women would soon take their rightful place in society.”

How does Guyana measure up to these types of international standards? According to a press release on Guyana’s progress from August 2005 by the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the nation still struggles with even the most basic of women’s rights – protection against violence. The report said Bibi Shadick, Minister of Labour, Human Services and Social Security explained that the lack of financial resources was the most restricting factor to the protection of women.

According to Guyana’s report to the UN on its progress toward gender equality, Shadick noted that, “there are 65 members of the country’s Parliament, of whom 30.7 per cent were women, and that women’s participation on the Regional Democratic Council had increased from 21 per cent in 1997 to 30 percent in 2001.” The report went on to say, “Although improvement had been recorded in women’s representation at some levels of senior public office between 1993 and 2003, those numbers were still relatively low.”

There was some very good news from Minister Shadick’s report as well. “On the positive side, based on 2003 statistics, women were overtaking their male counterparts in middle management, and now accounted for 52 per cent of all such positions, as compared to 42 per cent in 1993.”

Shadick also reported on the new legislation passed last year to protect women, Guyana’s completion of a new National Policy on Women and the updating of its National Action Plan for Women for 2005 - 2007 that would “constitute a comprehensive approach to critical issues affecting women in such areas as health, education, employment, leadership, gender-based violence, trafficking in persons and HIV/AIDS.”

Of course, my question is whether these plans are actually being implemented, how they are being accomplished and to what degree the new legislation is effective for its primary goal. It is great to make all the right sounds and to create an appearance of moving toward gender equality, but only to the point that it is genuinely effecting change on a national level. I cannot help but wonder if this is just another case when the government is talking the talk, but comes up way short of walking the walk.

Last year a small group from Canada spent a few weeks in Guyana working with the National Resource and Documentation Centre for Gender and Development to collect gender statistics in the country and create of a database to store the collected statistics. According to its report on the project, the organization, Queen’s Project on International Development (QUID), was satisfied that it completed its goal of creating a way to maintain a constant source of gender statistics.

The participants from this organisation said, “We created this database, which is basically a collection of tables from a variety of different sources, using Microsoft Access. We sorted the information into six main categories: Population, Education, Health, Employment, Social Services and Crime.” However, the group was concerned about whether the database would be consistently updated and maintained once they left.

I would like to know if this database has been maintained and, if so, what has the statistics in these various categories shown since the group left in August of last year. Surely during this time of focus on women’s issues worldwide, Minister Shadick and the Guyanese government could provide its female constituents some idea of how they are progressing as a gender – or the lack of progress, which is also important to know.

It is essential for Guyana, especially Minister Shadick and her Ministry, to highlight its efforts towards gender equality if it is genuine in this desire. When the women of Guyana see they have the support of their government to step out and take their rightful place in society, any residual feelings of inadequacy from years of demeaning treatment and low expectations will fall to the wayside. Guyana should lead the way in gender equality, not be a nation that must offer excuses as to why it still cannot protect its women.

Email: Stellasays[at]

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Stella Says…I am enjoying the PPP’s version of “Who’s On First?”

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 7 March 2006)

There is a great old comedy routine by Abbott and Costello called, “Who’s on first.” Costello wants to know the names of the players on a baseball team Abbott is coaching.

Here is how the conversation goes:

Abbott: Well, let's see, we have on the bags, Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third...
Costello: That's what I want to find out.
Abbott: I say Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know's on third.
Costello: Are you the manager?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: You gonna be the coach too?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: And you don't know the fellows' names?
Abbott: Well I should.
Costello: Well then who's on first?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: I mean the fellow's name.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy on first.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The first baseman.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy playing...
Abbott: Who is on first!
Costello: I'm asking YOU who's on first.
Abbott: That's the man's name.
Costello: That's who's name?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: Well go ahead and tell me.
Abbott: That's it.
Costello: That's who?
Abbott: Yes.

This routine goes on to cover most of the team’s players and gets funnier by the minute. This comedy act gets me every time and makes me laugh so hard it brings tears to my eyes. Which is why I found the PPP’s version of “Who’s on First” to be so entertaining this past week.

Guyanese politics are amusing on almost any given day of the year, but there is nothing I wouldn’t do to watch the next cabinet meeting for the Jagdeo administration. There is not one comedy on television or one comedian alive today that could possibly be funnier than this administration has been in the last week.

First we have Dr. Roger Luncheon who says if they knew who the drug lords were, then of course they would do something about it. That statement alone is hysterical. Like when everyone believed the government took the necessary steps to make sure there would be no more flooding after last year. Yet when rainy season hit this year the canals were overgrown, the pumps were not maintained and no one had a clue as to what was going on.

Okay, so far the government doesn’t know who the drug dealers could possibly be.

From left stage comes Home Affairs Minister Gail Teixeira who says the people of Guyana should boycott the businesses of the drug lords. So does she know who they are and is she going to tell the rest of Guyana so they can boycott these businesses? Well, yes. It seems she knows who the drug lords are and that they have established businesses.

Here is a quote from Stabroek News last Friday, “Asked how she could reconcile her call for such action when government has granted concessions to known drug dealers for certain projects including for the World Cup Cricket, Teixeira said, ‘These are the things that bother me,’ adding that they are controversial issues.”

Hmmm. So the government does know who the drug lords are then.

Then along comes the star of the show, President Jagdeo. To justify the fact that the government does know who the drug lords are – and have even been giving them concessions for projects to the World Cup - the star of the show then points his finger at the U.S. and blames them for not doing anything about the drug lords in his country.

Oh my, I’m laughing so hard I think I may need to use the little girls room. I can’t help but wonder if the international community wouldn’t be a bit more generous with helping Guyana with such issues like this if the PPP were more transparent with the aid it had already received.

For example, it would be great if those countries that sent aid for the flood last year received an itemised list of how the money was spent. For that matter, it would be great if the people of Guyana were given the opportunity to see where their money is going too.

The greatest part of this whole comedy routine was the fact that a name was actually provided in the U.S. report, but it doesn’t seem the PPP has any plans whatsoever of doing anything about it – well expect for give this person land. I guess the government thinks the best way to punish a drug lord is to give him presents.

Here is how I would write the script for this past week’s comedy routine:

Drug Lord: I am going to set up business in Guyana as a front for my drug trade.

PPP: That is fine, but we don’t know who you are.

Drug Lord: Aren’t you going to try to stop me?

PPP: We are going to tell the people to boycott your businesses, but we are also going to give you a piece of our land so you can make yourself a comfortable home right here in Guyana and do business for a long time.

Drug Lord: What will you tell the people when they demand that you do something about my real business?

PPP: We will blame the U.S. for not doing anything to help us get rid of you because you have so many resources (which we gave you) and we have so little.

Drug Lord: Won’t the people see right through that excuse and be upset that you are allowing drug lords to do business in your country?

PPP: We will dance around the issue and tell them this is a controversial issue and these are the things that bother us.

Drug Lord: Will they buy that?

PPP: What other choice do they have? By the way, would you like to do some good business during the World Cup?

Now that I think about it, this is not a comedy routine at all. This is a tragedy script with betrayal and corruption laced throughout the storyline. The only part that is really funny is watching the PPP trying to worm their way out of another debacle. They are squirming here and there trying to find some way to explain yet another big mess. Doesn’t seem like there is a new one everyday?

Email: Stellasays[at]

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Stella Says…The World Needs Women Leaders More Than Ever

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 5 March 2006)

I have always found it to be intriguing that males and females seem to balance each other out in life. Like a ying to a yang, the two genders have a marvellous way of stabilising each other – when the opportunity is there for both genders to interact on an equal basis.

I would like to point out some interesting facts from recent current events. There have recently been protests over some cartoons first published in Denmark depicting The Prophet of Islam in various unflattering ways. Some of these protests were civil and respectable, which allowed to world to understand why certain Muslims were so upset about the cartoons.

However, some of these protests were violent and destructive, which only seemed to affirm the initial point the Denmark publication was attempting to make in the first place. As I watched these violent protests unfold, I noticed something interesting – amidst all of the pandemonium there was not one woman to be found. However, it seemed that where the protests were more civil, there were female protestors right next to their male counterparts.

Let’s bring this closer to home. Did anyone else notice there was never a mention of any women to be found in the small army of terrorists that killed at least eight people a week ago today?

That is not to say that women are not capable of being violent or killing others. I am well acquainted with at least one woman in my life that could be violent. My point is this, when a woman is involved in the leadership of a group, there is an often time far less violence. There seems to be a feminine calming effect that takes place when women are included in every portion of society and rational thinking rules over chaos and mayhem.

I truly believe it is nature’s way of balancing the world. There are times when masculine aggressiveness can be a good thing, but for the most part it is a trait that should be bridled for the sake of society. I believe that when the leadership of a group is a healthy balance of feminine and masculine leadership, it allows the human race to function at optimal performance.

What is wrong with the world today? In my opinion, it is the lack of balanced leadership throughout human history that has produced this world. Little boys grow up without fathers and then turn around and do the same thing to their own sons. The lack of masculine leadership in the home is one of the primary reasons society produces men capable of the type of violence we saw in Agricola.

There is still a severe a lack of feminine leadership in the world at large and a severe lack of masculine leadership in the home. When these two aspects are balanced out, that is when this world will become a bit more tolerable.

March 8 is International Women’s Day and in the U.S. this is Women’s History Month. I believe it is important for women to understand why there needs to even be a month to recognise women. Remember ladies that it was only a couple decades ago that women were even allowed equal access to education in many parts of the world. My great-grandmother never had the right to vote because she was a woman.

I have been fishing around for some history on great women of Guyana. I have been frustrated with this effort because his-story does not say much about her-story. The Guyana history books I own say nothing whatsoever about the women of Guyana and I suppose much of what has been written on this subject is not on the Internet yet. I did find a few decent sites, but nothing substantial.

I am very interested in reading more about the women of Guyana though and would appreciate it if anyone has information they would be nice enough to pass on to me via my email address.

Another reason women are so invisible in history – all history, not just Guyanese history – is because they were usually invisible in society. While they tended to the children, cleaned the house and pampered their waiting husbands, the men are the ones who made the notable speeches, decided when to go to war and wrote the legislation – including the laws that made sure women stayed in the house with the kids.

Think about any type of world history – religious, political, economic, etc. Men have dominated the history for all of these important aspects of life. There may be a woman sprinkled in here and there for good measure, but by and large the men are the ones we learn about in school and church.

In fact, it is this very reason that I am so evasive towards any religion. When someone can present me a religion that accepts women as equals, that is when I will once again consider religion to be something besides detrimental to the human race. At this point, all I see is a very long history of men using God to subjugate women.

Not to mention that religion also has a very violent past for mankind. In fact, that violence is still here today. One man says God told him to kill thousands by flying airplanes into buildings because the West was his enemy and another man says God told him to pre-emptively invade a country because they had weapons of mass destruction. Both of these men were wrong and neither one heard from God.

Throughout history, millions of people have been killed in the name of God by men who thought they were better than someone else because of their religion and because God supposedly spoke to them. If hearing from God makes one person better than another, then women should be on the highest throne because I believe if there is a God, he/she speaks to women far more than men because women take the time to listen.

The world needs women leaders more than ever to balance out this madness that has plagued the human race for thousands of years. Gender balanced leadership is this world’s only hope for peace. Let’s hope we find peace soon.

Email: Stellasays[at]

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Stella Says…Enough is Enough

by Stella Ramsaroop

(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 2 March 2006)

Any one who reads my column on a regular basis will expect this column to rail against the PPP for being unable to maintain some reasonable semblance of stability. Been there, done that.

Over and over in my head I keep repeating to myself, “I can’t believe eight people died. I can’t believe there was an actual shootout for an entire hour. I can’t believe the police did not show up until an hour after the shootout was done.”

There is nothing in my life that prepares me to empathise with the terror that ran through those near the shootout on Sunday. I have lived in fear of my life before, but I have never had to fear random terror from heartless gunmen.

I am at a total loss for words to explain how deeply aggrieved I am about this horrific event. Throughout Monday and Tuesday, I knew I wanted to address this issue, but could not find the words. I am travelling this week and what should be an enjoyable trip has been heavily overshadowed by this violence.

Even from thousands of miles away, my heart breaks for the families of the victims and I wrestle with comprehending how little value was placed on these lives – not only by those who stole their lives, but also by those who are expected to protect them.

I am visiting my mother-in-law and her new husband who are both Guyanese. When I finally talked to them about this last night and told them about my feelings, they did not seem shocked at all to the degree that I am. It was almost as if they had been exposed to this type of violence to the point they had become desensitised to it. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “That’s Guyana.”

I thought I would wake up this morning (on Wednesday) feeling like I had a better handle on my feelings and be able to write something coherent that could make a difference. I was wrong.

I cannot understand and I cannot reason this one through. Even worse, I feel like there is not one damn thing I can do about it.

If I feel this way from thousands of miles away, I cannot imagine the heaviness that must permeate every aspect of life in Guyana this week. I suppose it would be as thick as the ominous fear that must eclipse all other emotions in the hearts of the people.

I may not be able to work through this gloom enough to articulate my feelings or find a way to offer some hope, but I know full well what I do not want. I refuse to become so acclimated to this level of violence that I am not appalled by senseless killings. I will not succumb to the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness – and I hope you do not fall prey to these feelings either.

If we give ourselves over to these dark feelings, then those scoundrels have won.


I just took a little break from writing this column to envision a wonderful Guyana. I sat here for a while to think about what Guyana would be like if the criminal elements were under control. I thought about a Guyana free from the drug lords and political thugs. I thought about a Guyana free from violence.

I pictured a country with a strong infrastructure that had reliable streetlights, clean streets and no flooding. I dreamt about a Guyana with a strong and thriving economy, highly rated schools and successful businesses. I thought about a flourishing tourist industry that boasted of beautiful hotels and the best customer service in the region.

If I prayed, this is what I would pray for today. I know many Guyanese are praying people, so I hope you say a prayer today that resembles my little daydream.

I may not pray, but I do believe in the power of the people. The situation in Guyana is all wrong. Politics as usual has produced violence as usual and it is time to try some thing different.

I believe it would be unethical to use this tragic situation and the deaths of these precious lives to preach change or to rail against the current government. I don’t think I have the will to fight today anyhow. However, when we find our footing again and regain the will to fight, I think more than ever the outcry will be “enough is enough.”

Email: Stellasays[at]