WPO condemns APNU/AFC appointed REO’s attack on Vice-Chairwoman

Dear Editor,
The Women’s Progressive Organisation condemns the recent physical and verbal onslaught on the Vice-Chairwoman of Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Ms Nandranie Coojah and calls on the Government to stop the harassment and victimization of political elected women and professional women in Guyana.
Since 2015, several women have suffered emotionally, financially and in this case, verbally and physically by the Granger’s Caretaker government and in this specific case at the hands of the REO of Region Two. While this matter was reported to the police station at Anna Regina, Essequibo Coast and is under investigation, the WPO will be paying keen interest to how the Guyana Police Force will be handling this issue of harassment, physical and verbal abuse.
Women in Guyana is more than 50% of our population, and in the last three decades, women’s empowerment and gender equality have been gradually climbing to the fore of the national agenda. On March 8, 2016, the Caretaker President, Mr. Granger, at the International Women’s Day celebrations at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, committed his government to achieve women’s equality in governance of 50/50 by 2030 as recommended in the SDGs. In contravention to this commitment, the APNU/AFC politically appointed and directed official continues to indiscriminately violate the rights of this elected women to political office.
Reports received during the past 4 years suggest that the REO and his predecessors have used the powers of their office to discriminate, victimize and harass Ms. Coonjah, who is an elected member and Vice-Chairwoman of the Regional Democratic Council, Region #2. It was said that the REOs have deliberately sabotaged the Vice-Chairwoman from effectively performing her duties by not providing her office with the necessary entitled amenities, which includes a vehicle and a driver. The Minister of Communities was written regarding the REOs blatant disregard for the rule of law, gender equality and gender equity.
WPO is concerned about the continuous harassment at the place of work and remind those in authority that Guyana is a signatory to the Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW), the sustainable development goals (SDGs) that speaks to gender equality of 50/50 by 2030 and several other conventions that speaks to women’s empowerment and gender equality.
Nandranie Coonjah is a member of the Central Committee, Secretariat and is the Assistant General Secretary of the WPO. Further, Ms Coonjah is a Commissioner on the Women and Gender Equality Commission with responsibility for Regions Two, Five and Six.
WPO Calls on all women’s organisations, including the Women and Gender Equality Commission to condemn the actions of the REO of Region Two, and for his resignation with immediate effect.
Further, the WPO calls on the Minister of Communities, with responsibility for RDCs, and Minister of Social Protection with responsibility for Gender Affairs to launch an immediate investigation into this matter.

Women’s Progressive Organisation (WPO)