Don't kill the messenger


THE EDITOR: It's easy to jump on the "Bash Jeanine" bandwagon and assail her for her poverty-related remarks.

Fact is, I am deeply saddened to see my sisters taking to social media to trot out a whole lot of vitriol about the exact number of girls who don't have a place to sleep, don't know where their next meal is coming from and are unable to afford feminine products and care.

They are not being real nor are they listening to the message. Instead, they are diverting attention from Ms Brandt's candour and forthrightness by dwelling on the obvious, ie her skin colour, her geographic origin and status as a Miss World TT contestant.

Had it been Archbishop Burke, Yasin Abu Bakr (rest in peace, Imam) or even "Twiggy" for that matter, the conversation would have been totally different.

So what could Ms Brandt have said that was more accurate and indisputable? Well, she could have started off by saying that long before the pandemic, women (inclusive of females of all ages) were under siege from domestic violence and sexual assault from men (of all ages) and did not know whether they are safe or will sleep in peace at night.

Women have borne the brunt of hardship brought on by rising food prices, job losses and discrimination in the workplace. Long before the pandemic, when the man of the house had a hard day at work, he would go home and take it out on his wife if she dare ask for a few extra dollars to meet some unforseen expense.

When he had a good day and had extra money, it is for weed, zesser events, bling or the lady friend on the side. This is a reality!

She could have also said that women everywhere, including the politically used ones in the PNM's Women's League, hurt and grieve for the nation's women who go missing and are either never found or found in ways that would make God Almighty weep.

Note carefully how a wannabe alpha male responded by saying women need to be careful who they bring in their bed.

Lastly, Ms Brandt could have referred to the vast number of girls (and boys) who do not have electronic devices or internet to acquire the necessary skills and competencies to move them from chattel to professionals.

This notwithstanding, I cannot forgive her for omitting women who are either working two or three jobs or calling their friends in the workplace, the public service in particular, to sell confectionery, roti or knitting to take care of the family.

And I will also ask her if she has not noticed the number of women who stand on the roadway in malls, shops, and banks to beg for food or money. Alas, I could go on.

My years in trade union service as a qualified counsellor have taught me not to kill the messenger, but listen to the message. In so doing, I urge my sistrens to fight the cause and not create division. The chauvinistic enemies of equality, unity and strength in numbers delight in seeing us fight down each other.

I also thank the local chapter of Soroptomist International, the Hindu Womens Group, WAND and other charitable and corporate bodies everywhere who help single, vulnerable mothers with jobs, donations and relief.


St James


"Don’t kill the messenger"

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