In just under five months, the lives of at least five women were snatched at the hands of their lovers and has sprouted worry among almost every Guyanese.
Former Education Minister Priya Manickchand, who was at the forefront of a number of legislation to protect women’s rights when she was Human Services Minister and
Opposition Member of Parliament (MP), has been very vocal on violence against women and was, in fact, representing a young mother, who was found dead earlier this month.
Manickchand said that she is deeply saddened over that specific tragedy which will leave five children parentless as the father is likely to face the full brunt of the law for confessing to the heinous act.
She was, however, keen to note that there are many factors which result in such a mishap occurring, some of which may include the woman’s financial dependency on a man. In this regard, the MP stated that the law provides for women to be compensated by the male they were with if they would like to exit an abusive relationship.
According to the attorney-at-law, a woman can be granted, “Maintenance for you and children; an occupation order [which] means he has to leave the house irrespective of who owns it or how it came to be your house. In other words, if his parents gave him the house or if it is in his name, an occupation order would allow you to live there without his presence and a tenancy order [which] means that even if the agreement of tenancy is in his name, the court can order it be put in your name”.
Additionally, these women can also “gain custody of their children, orders prohibiting him from hitting, speaking to or coming anywhere near where the victim live or works as well as take half or 1/3 of all you own together even if it is all registered in his name”.
The MP has appealed to women being abused to seek help as there is currently legal aid available in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Five (Mahaica-Berbice), Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) and in Georgetown, Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).
On May 17, a 39-year-old woman was stabbed to death by her husband during an argument at their Anna Regina, Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) home. Dead is Farida Khayum, a mother of six of Lot 9 Market Street, Anna Regina. Her husband has since been charged for murder.
Mere days before, Zaila Sugrim, Manickchand’s client, was allegedly murdered by her husband and buried in a shallow grave near his Crane Village, West Coast Demerara home. The woman and the suspect had separated for over eight months but their union brought forth five children. According to relatives, the mother of five endured 15 years of an abusive marriage.
In March, 20-year-old Omawattie Wazi called “Agile” of Lot 33 D Williamsburg, Rose Hall Town, Berbice, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), was killed by her husband.
Reports are Wazi and the suspect, Gavin Gill, had been living at Port Mourant Village for a year but she moved to her mother’s Williamsburg, Rose Hall Town home after her husband of 14 months became abusive.
It was reported that the young mother moved out with her seven-month-old baby and started working. On March 30, at about 07:55h while on her way to work, her husband struck her down with his car. She was riding a bicycle at the time. This publication understands that the man then exited the car with a knife and stabbed her several times before chopping her with a cutlass.