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Institutionalised deafness supported by square pegs

first_imgDear Editor,The presidential candidate for the PPP/C for the upcoming elections, Dr Irfaan Ali, in his speech at the party’s election campaign launch on January 5 at the Kitty Market Square, pledged to support the growth and development of the vulnerable sections of Guyanese society with their unique needs. So pleasing it was to hear the recognition that each section of our society has unique needs that his subsequent reference to supporting single ‘mothers’ jarred like nails against a chalkboard.It is 2020 and we cannot continue to ignore a reality that we have single fathers in this country who need support just like single mothers do. Everybody and their dog have rights in this country except single fathers. The continued invisibility of single fathers at the political level creates severe injustice in Guyanese society with severe consequences for the lives of children.As Dr Ali acknowledged, every section of society has unique problems. We have a ‘child-father’ phenomenon in some sections of society where fathers are often not present, hence the need to support single mothers. In other sections of our society, we have problems where mothers have a nomadic lifestyle and abandon or neglect children or leave them with their father or in the care of extended family with a multitude of opportunities for child sexual abuse. In some sections of our society, mothers push their children into prostitution. In some cases, mothers are just weak-minded and careless, while the fathers offer more disciplined upbringing of children. If we do not understand the diverse reality, then the solutions that we are offering as a society are too simplistic and, therefore, can only be ineffective and unjust.When a Government implements solutions that are unjust, then we have oppression and injustice in society. I have personal experience of a Government agency unable to understand or hear anything from a male perspective – institutionalised deafness supported by square pegs. All the concerns and familiar tales of females being abused find a willing ear because the storyline is a familiar one, rendering agencies gullible and their recommendations to Police and courts lack credibility, producing more injustice in society.Beyond the invisibility of single fathers in our society, men, in general, have little support from the Government. As a society, we are very good with persecuting males. Prisons are full. Rum shops are the places where men can find comfort and support and understanding. As a country that produces a large number of violent and self-destructive males, we need to invest more thought into our policies to offer the kind of intervention that is critically needed. If we do not have the human resources in Guyana to address this problem, then recruit experts and specialists. Surely the suffering of the people is what Government aims to address? At a minimum, I hope that we can develop our own unique solutions in Guyana to stop the gender discrimination against single fathers and stop the assault on fatherhood.Sincerely,Sandra Khanlast_img read more

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