By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Commissioner on the Women and Gender Equality Commission, Nicole Cole was joined by political activist and Leader of the Independent Party, Mark Benschop on Tuesday August 04 as they protested the dismissal of two city constabularies who had become pregnant.
The two women, according to media reports, were dismissed by Chief Constabulary Officer Andrew Foo after they were found to be pregnant.
Reports indicate that as a policy, female constabularies are asked not to become pregnant during the first two years of their employment, since such is considered to be probationary period and would be against the by laws that govern the constabulary.
Foo is quoted in the Stabroek News as saying “becoming pregnant would seriously limit their ability to function but if they do become pregnant they have the option of resigning and at the end of their maternity once their performance has been good, they can return to the constabulary.”
But Cole at the protest lines on Tuesday fumed over the decision as she stated it infringes on the rights of women and is also unconstitutional.
She pointed out that Guyana is signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and such a move also contravenes that Body’s regulatory framework.
“This policy smacks of discrimination all the way from the colonial days and we are calling for a review of the case and to reinstate the women. How are they going to get jobs?…to have such a policy violates the human rights,” said Cole who was very passionate about the issue.
Meanwhile, Benschop stated that he is of the firm view that such draconian laws should not be enforced given the fact that they infringe on basic human rights.
“It is obvious that this action is discriminatory – it is inhumane…why some may argue that it is paramilitary laws and this is that…I think it is unjust. That is something that our colonial master, slave masters would have done to control the populations….for them to embrace such draconian laws it is unacceptable,” said the political leader.
When asked about support from the other constables, Benschop stated that there is some fear on the part of the other female constables to reject the decision of their superiors.
“It is hurtful to hear some of the female ranks in the presence of their seniors saw that ‘the law is the law…the law is the law’….don’t they have a conscience? The law may seem like the law but it is unlawful,” said Benschop.