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Health Minister considered slapping, stripping female anti-government activist

Sherlena Nageer (with finger pointing) speaks to Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsaran (Mark Jacobs photo)

Even as the two major political parties in next month’s general elections are pushing a pro-women campaign agenda, Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsaran cursed a female anti-government activist and thought of slapping and having her stripped.

Ramsaran was also heard telling Sherlina Nageer that she was a “little piece of shit,” and an “idiot” to which she retorted “you are a bigger piece of shit.”

Nageer was at the time at Whim Village, Corentyne, questioning the Health Minister what he was doing outside the Magistrates’ Court while the incidence of maternal mortality continues to rise. She suggested that he was wasting taxpayers’ money travelling to Whim to be part of a group of ruling People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) supporters who were there in solidarity with Former President Bharrat Jagdeo.

As Nageer persisted with her line of questioning, an agitated Ramsaran said he was a candidate and told her “F-off.”

Attorney-at-Law, Christopher Ram, who was accompanied by Nageer to court, has filed a private criminal charge against Jagdeo for allegedly uttering racially divisive remarks early last month in violation of the Representation of the People Act.

After asking police to intervene and stop Nageer from “harassing” him, he said “I would slap her ass just for the fun,” and that “I can have some of my women strip her here.”

In response to Nageer’s concerns about maternal and infant mortality, he said “less women and children dying that under the PNC (People’s National Congress)” that ruled Guyana from 1964 to 1992.

The Health Minister’s outburst is the latest blunder by top functtionaries of the incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) ahead of the May 11 general and regional elections. First it was Attorney General, Anil Nandlall suggesting that the privately-owned Kaieteur News newspaper could come under a violent attack for some of its reportage followed by President Donald Ramotar telling a heckler at a meeting in the Rupununi that if it was Jagdeo he would have slapped him.

Ramsaran’s reaction to Nageer comes as the PPPC and A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+ AFC) coalition are highlighting the importance of women’s rights. 

PPPC Prime Ministerial candidate, Elisabeth Harper,herself as a victim of domestic violence, has promised to fight that scourge. Earlier this week, the PPPC refused to participate in a debate with APNU+AFC prime ministerial candidate Moses Nagamootoo on grounds that he had ridiculed her.

Nagamootoo had merely questioned whether Harper had the morality authority to talk about domestic violence because she has been on the campaign trail with Jadgeo who has been accused by his ex wife Varshnie Jagdeo of ill treatment.