Women, engines of the economy


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Category: Women 14 May 06


It was a tiny news story, almost lost among the top news of the day of Chief Justice Satnarine Sharma, Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls and Prime Minister Patrick Manning.


Mind-blowing stuff. It was the extraordinary story of Justice Joan Charles carrying an entire court to Sangre Grande to facilitate testimony from a pregnant witness in a murder trial. The judge said it was critical to the case in which a 33-year-old man, Paul Cox, is charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Deidre-Ann Layne.


It struck me that the machinations between powerful arrogant men take up pages and pages of our newspapers and often overshadow the real tragedies and heroic acts amidst us. It is the juxtaposition between Justice Charles, the attorneys and the jury sitting under a galvanised shed at Turure Village, hearing how Layne was dragged into a shed and had her throat slit and the cut throat plots of Whitehall and the Hall of Justice.


That was real. That sun bouncing yellow off the galvanise sheets, the benches, the curious village people, the trauma of the pregnant woman who witnessed a man kill a woman and the judge who, with amazing resolve, did not to allow that brutality to be casually buried.


In the last few months, I have allowed the doings of the powerful to dominate this space. I have written about people who move currencies and markets, of the blame game with regards to our fragile economy and the social and political bubble we live in despite the fact that oil prices are at an all-time high.


I reported how the Governor of the Central Bank blamed the private sector on the fizzled stock market, the withering manufacturing sector, dwindling foreign reserves. How the Chamber president blamed the Government for oil money vanishing without anything to show for it.


Build fences


The fact is you and I can talk and write to high heaven but we know democracy is a lie because apart from voting, we canít do a thing to stop the spending spree or the racial politicking.


What we can do is build fences, so when the bubble bursts, and it will, believe me it will, we arenít in for a free fall.


We donít have to go to the PMís office for that, or rattle our MPís door at night.


We just go home and take care of our mothers, wives, daughters and aunts. Or we go to the office and treat our female employees fairly, with decent wages and time off to tend to their children. Then we lock the door and we will be safe. Itís as simple as that.


Women are the real engines of economies, educating, socialising children, taking care of the ill and elderly, driving ethics, discipline, accountability, responsibility. we need to turn to them to build us back.


One in three women in our country is abused by a man. Every time a woman is murdered in her own home, bullied, ridiculed, hit, kicked, abused, undermined, underpaid, cowed, denied education, it creates holes in our lives out of which families can roll out and fall hard, breaking something, usually our spirit, if we are women; our souls if we are men.


The socio-economic price for abuse against women is incalculable.


So today, on Motherís Day, I am glad to report that in my mind the big story is that Justice Charles had the humanity, the guts and the ingenuity to pursue justice on behalf of a dead woman by carrying her court to a remote village. Thatís the big story. Not the Chief Justice/Chief Magistrate/Prime Minister power triumvirate.


Justice Charlesí story is the kind of picket on which we can build our fences to protect ourselves from our hollowed-out country.


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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur