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Ministerial code of conduct falls short on sexual offences- Red Thread

The women and child rights organisation, Red Thread, on Tuesday rubbished government’s proposed ministerial code of conduct, saying that it does not provide for sexual harassment and child molestation.

Executive Member of Red Thread, Karen De Souza told Demerara Waves Online News that the code of conduct should have included the dismissal of persons if faced with enough evidence.

Asked how a satisfactory provision in the code of conduct should be structured, she said “any instances of sexual behaviour with under-aged children, sexual harassment or sexual misconduct in the office would be grounds for removal; it is not about discipline, it is about removal.”

She said dismissals should not merely be left to a police probe and prosecution because proving in a court is tougher. “It is possible to investigate and to prove without going t court. The standard of proof is higher in the court than at the workplace,” she told Demerara Waves Online News.

She said issues would arise about who should conduct the probe and how it should be conducted. “It really shouldn’t be left to be proven in court. Once there is enough credible investigation and there has been an investigation or hearing of some sort that shows that you are tarnishing the appearance of the government…,” she said.

The Red Thread activist noted that harassment at the workplace by mainly men in authority is a very crucial issue for women that might require the application of the Sexual Offence Act to prove consent. De Souza said except in the case of couples, every effort should be made to discourage liaisons between senior and junior staff.

She expressed disappointment that the code of conduct states that it does not seek to regulate the conduct of public office holders in their private and personal lives. The code further states that public office holders have a duty to uphold the law, including the general law against discrimination and sexual harassment, and to act with propriety on all occasions in accordance with the public trust and confidence placed in them.

De Souza argued that the private and public lives of ministers could not be separated because victims would have already lost the case.

  • Carl

    If they do that, then quite a large number of the men in the current government would have to quit. Granger is a wordsmith, I’m sure he’ll have a great response for Red Thread. Something like, ‘the law allows for blah blah blah….’ Somethings will not change in GT. This is one of them.

  • Pam

    Then as women, we will have to take our own justice and the monkies better know which limbs to jump on.

  • weir

    I would appreciate if those women out there who were sexually assaulted throw away their shame and pride and come out and expose those wicked monsters who now hold high positions in Government Offices and are pretending that they are saints.
    I do not know the Statute Of Limitations when it comes to Guyana Judicial System but if these women come forward it would be surprising to see how many of them, and who, would be charged for these wicked act that they have committed.
    There is a department in the Public Service that employs mostly men where that kind of behavior is the norm of the day from since history,especially on the females of a specific minority ethnic group that is at the lowest level of the socio-economic strata.

  • PETER

    People seem to forget ashni singh offering his family to have sex wih one of his female office workers, in the ppp party all the ministers were adulterers, they all treated women as wild meat, check out ramotar at sleep in on thursday night karaoke, rohee at the main street disco’s, on friday nights at pegasus, they were all skenks, so souza should of gone after the ppp bosses and their friends before targeting the new government.

  • SeeLochan Beharry

    The words of Ms Karen De Souza of Red Thread should be heeded. They have been in the vanguard for women and children’s rights for a long time.
    Seelochan Beharry