Monday, August 29, 2011

What does your candidate think about 16-year-olds having sex?

(Originally published in Guyana’s Stabroek News on 20 August 2011)  

Question 10:  How do you feel about the current age of consent being 16?

APNU Candidate David Granger: 

My view is that it should be 18 because 18 is the age when you can join the armed forces, vote, own a firearm or drive a car. I think 18. By that time I think you are mature enough to make a decision about many things.

PPP/C Candidate Donald Ramotar

I think that society went through a lot of debate and that Parliament went through a lot of debate on that issue and it seems to have been the age that most people see fit. I do not think everybody agreed on it, but most people seemed to agree on it. I suspect that taking the reality into consideration, it is probably the best we could do.

My own view, however, is that [the age of consent] should not take away the responsibility of the society or the many institutions of society or the home from educating young women not to fall into the trap of having sex too early and having kids too early. Let them know how it can affect their lives. It is not necessarily a good thing to have such young people having children.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The candidates on women being forced to work soon after giving birth

 (Originally published in Guyana’s Stabroek News on 13 August 2011) 

Question 9:  There are many mothers who are forced by their employers to return to work soon after giving birth. Do you view this as discriminatory against female workers?

AFC Candidate Khemraj Ramjattan

Oh yeah, it is very much. What time are you talking about? I mean a week after they have to go and [work]? That is crazy.

My response: Less than the 13 weeks that are allowed to them.

That is a violation. That woman’s body may not be prepared yet for work again [so soon after]. But more than that, you want the woman to be comfortable in her zone so that she can then go back to work within that 12 or 13 weeks rather than to simply put her back after childbirth.

I think it is a serious violation of women’s rights and we should ensure that whatever the standards are [13 weeks after], that must be adhered to. I feel an Alliance For Change government will ensure an adherence by the private sector and [implement] serious penalties to employers who do not adhere to that.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The candidates on saving economically-trapped victims of domestic violence

(Originally published in Guyana’s Stabroek News on 06 August 2011)  

Question 8:  In interacting with domestic violence victims around the country, one issue that consistently rears its head is that victims with no education and no means of financial independence feel trapped in abusive relationships because they cannot support themselves or their children. This is one of the most difficult issues at hand in the fight to end domestic violence. As president, how would you address this problem?

PPP/C Candidate Donald Ramotar
(Edited for space)

As you said, it’s a very difficult case to confront. I don’t think, not necessarily as president, but I would say that right now the PPP/C has been grappling with those issues from the time we got into the government. If you look into the budget, you will see how much money we spend on education.

And what is good, too, is that we are spending on our students not only in the Coastland and in Georgetown, but in the interior areas. People are now appreciating the importance of education in the society.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

What will your candidate’s First Lady’s role be?

(Originally published in Guyana’s Stabroek News on 30 July 2011)

I must admit that I asked the following question of Guyana’s presidential candidates simply because the nation’s last ‘First Lady’ attempted to play a significant role in helping the people of Guyana, but her work was frowned on by the President. In asking this question, it was my desire to bring this issue to the forefront with the hope that the next First Lady can actually help the people of Guyana in her own way if she so desires.

Question 7:
Can we expect to see your wife participating more in your campaign as elections are now drawing near? What role will she play as First Lady?

APNU Candidate David Granger 

[Granger hands me a copy of an interview his wife did with the Guyana Times] That’s her role. Those are her words. I wasn’t present. She accompanied me on my visit to North America in late May and June. We went to four states, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey and New York – and Washington [DC], as well, and she was with me. When I went to the Barima/Waini region she was with me.