Women against violence to broaden activities
Stabroek News
February 1, 2003

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Women Against Violence Everywhere (WAVE) plans to take its demonstrations to other sections of the city and surrounding communities with a view to attracting wider participation.

The group's peaceful pro-test against the violence and killings gained more momentum as was evident when they gathered outside the Cenotaph for the second time in two weeks, yesterday.

Organizers were encouraged by the turnout of persons representing various ethnic and socio-cultural backgrounds including nationals of other countries. Addition-ally, the group has now managed to obtain in excess of 1,000 signatures for their petition.

The women also had banners which decried the fact that the number of deaths so far this year outnumbers the amount of days and demanded a return to peace and justice.

Head of the English Department at the University of Guyana, Dr. Adeola James said,"...everybody in Guyana is concerned about the ongoing violence and I want to show my solidarity with the women who have suffered. In all the instability and unrest caused by the [crime] situation, women are the ones who get the worse end of it and this is my own demonstration in a very small way."

Another person told Stabroek News that she had come out as a "concerned mother. I think everyone should take a stand and speak out regardless of race or class."

However, like with anything else, some persons thought the demonstration "useless". Designer and Cultural Entrepreneur Allison Gaskin said, "I was collecting signatures and a gentleman refused to sign because according to him, the situation is a hopeless one.

"But we have to remain strong just like the members of the Civil Rights Movement in America which is still a powerful and respected organisation today...and we will get justice. The hopelessness can end."

PNCR Councillor for the M&CC Patricia Woolford noted that the killings have reached "insane proportions." She expressed concern regarding the depletion of the country's citizenry saying, "...it is unhealthy for such a small society with under one million people to lose our people to shootings in addition to traffic accidents and severe cases of domestic violence among other ills. As women, we want to say this madness must stop because without people, we cannot develop a nation."

And former St. Rose's High school head teacher, Henry Rahaman noted that while the demonstration could not stop the banditry, it would serve to strengthen the bond between Guyana's ethnic groups.

Members of WAVE are expected to meet next Tuesday at the Hotel Tower to discuss plans. (Edlyn Benfield)

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