by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 24 September 2006)
I like the new Minister of Human Services and Social Security already. Priya Manickchand seems like a no-nonsense type of woman who does not have time to waste on incompetence. I can relate with the Minister since I am very much that way as well.
Of course, I liked Bibi Shadick too, until she let her true colours show by treating a very sensitive issue involving some young women with disregard and disrespect. I know it may be naïve of me to trust another Minister of Human Services again so soon, but that is exactly what I intend to do.
As long as Minister Manickchand is working hard for the women and children of Guyana, she will have my full support. Understand that this support does not mean that I will not be the first to point out the shortcomings of this vital ministry, it just means that as long as the new Minister is working hard (as opposed to hardly working) to make life better for women and children, then she will find that I am actually a very nice person.
I know Minister Robert Montgomery Persaud, MBA might say otherwise, but I really am a very pleasant person. I smile a lot and I love to laugh. Sure there are times when I get very upset at the way our leaders misuse their power and I have been known to yell at the television when I have heard enough of their lies and propaganda.
However, I am quick to highlight the good stuff that our leaders pull out of their hats every once in a while too. For example, Minister Manickchand has announced that she is in the early phases of starting a child protection agency. This news made my day. The sun shone brighter and the flowers smelt sweeter.
Although the first thought to cross my mind was about how I could not believe there was no such entity already in existence in Guyana given the high number of crimes against children. I let this thought flutter by my brain and tried to focus on the fact that although the ruling government may not have thought it was important to protect the nation’s children in one of its previous terms, at least now it has seen the light.
I certainly hope this new child protection agency does more to protect children than the government’s agencies that were designed to protect women. It does seem as though the new Minister has an eye for detail since she has already outlined a fairly well developed plan for this new agency.
Only time will tell whether we can expect more from this Minister than to be patronised with promises and propaganda that yield little or no fruit – like some other Ministers who shall remain nameless (for this column anyhow). I just want our new Minister of Human Services and Social Security to know how much of an interest I take in this particular aspect of society.
As such, it is very important to me to know there is someone in this position who truly cares about the people (all of the people) on a personal level. I want to know this person has the capacity to understand the plight of the average Guyanese and intends to work day and night to make life better them. I want to know that when the pressure is on, this Minister will not undermine the progress made by her ministry to stay good with family friends.
Most of all though, I want to know what this new Minister thinks about the women’s issues in Guyana and whether she sees a safer and more prosperous life for them in the next five years. I think this new Minister and I will become best of friends very quickly, although no one could ever take Smart and Sharp Robert’s place.
But first, we need to find a way to shorten Minister Manickchand’s name (Sheesh, I thought Ramsaroop was long!). My hands are tired just from typing her name so much in this column. How about Mighty Mani? Nah, it sounds like a cartoon and she doesn’t look like the cartoon type of person.
We need a name that fits the persona she seems to portray to the public with her collared blouses and dark suit jackets. Oh, I know! How about Poised and Proper Priya. That is perfect for a no-nonsense woman like the new Minister.
We are sure to have tons of fun in this new term, Poised and Proper Priya, and I am on pins and needles waiting for your strategy to address the nation’s women’s issues. I do hope it is coming very soon. If you need any ideas when formulating your approach to this matter, feel free to give me a ring. After all, that’s what friends are for.