Guyanese women gather for peace
Six hundred sign petition
Stabroek News
January 25, 2003

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The women of Guyana added their voice to calls for an end to the bloody crime wave and a return to peace with a gathering around the Cenotaph at lunchtime yesterday.

Sending a message to the nation’s leaders, political representatives, law enforcement officials and the criminals, some 400 women of all ages, ethnic and social backgrounds assembled at the Cenotaph outside the Bank of Guyana.

The gathering, which included Minister within the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security, Bibi Shadick and PNCR parliamentarian Deborah Backer, convened at noon and by the time the protest ended minutes to 1 pm, more than 600 signatures to the peace petition had been gathered.

“We intended to make a point and that’s what we did. [This type of action] will be continuous until the violence ends. The effort was very well supported and we are satisfied with the indications we received that people care,” television personality Andrea McAdam told Stabroek News. Those in attendance linked hands in condemnation of the ongoing violence throughout the country while praying for peace and justice.

A press statement earlier this week said the group is looking for an immediate return to peace and justice in an effort to “protect our children from the ravages of hopelessness and death and promise each citizen a life and a livelihood.”

Another woman, Beverly Harper said, “First and foremost, I was encouraged by the turnout of women from all walks of life and by the number of persons who signed the petition.

It is obvious that everyone is highly frustrated and wants an end to the [situation].” Harper also said it was critical for the approach currently being employed by Guyana’s law enforcement agents to be reviewed as “it is not working.”

Denise Dias described the response as “amazing. It was a great success and it was especially wonderful to see Minister Shadick and MP Deborah Backer there.” Dias also pointed out that children ought to be protected from “the constant death surrounding them. We want peace.”

Others noted that the deportees should be adequately monitored and the importation of and distribution of guns in the country must be reduced. Among those present were representatives of Red Thread, Help and Shelter, Mothers in Black, Women Across Differences and Women Reaching Out.

The group is scheduled to meet again next Tuesday with a view to discussing measures which could be implemented to curb the killings and other forms of violence.

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