Women empowerment in Guyana had seen a sizable increase over the past year, ever since a new movement was launched to target the need for equality among all.This was according to the coordinator of SASOD Women’s Arm Guyana (SWAG), Akola Thompson, who noted that the foundation has significantly impacted the visibility of LBT (Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) women and has provided a voice for many who are discriminated against in society.“So far, we have really promoted the visibility of LBT women and that’s not something that has been happening a lot. For a long time, you never really saw a lot of LBT women in public spaces and that is a thing that has been significantly changing,” Thompson stated.Through the movement, numerous empowerment sessions were conducted with women in various communities across Guyana; an activity which they hope to increase as time progresses.“Since the launching of SWAG, we have begun monthly empowerment sessions also aimed at providing community orientation for our community members and these are some things that we’re hoping to continue and also expand into other regions as the time goes by. We recognise that advocacy is largely sensitised and sensualised and we need to have more spaces in communities that do not have the same access as Georgetown.” To further eliminate acts of violence against women through sensitisation, SWAG will be partnering with a number of organisations, including the Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA).“CEDA committee had recommended enacting antidiscrimination legislation that includes the prohibition of all forms of discrimination against women. So far, none of this has happened and we’re calling on Government to personally repeal discriminatory laws and practices and to put in more mechanisms in strengthening and supporting LBT persons in the community,” Thompson stated.Since the launch of the organisation on Women’s Day 2017, outreaches were conducted with LGT women to address the issues of violence and discrimination that they face on a daily basis.It was revealed that these discussions will continue in the coming months to spread more awareness to promote equality.
Thirty-five-year-old Lindener, Quacy Giddings, was found not guilty of possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking, when he made his final appearance before Magistrate Clive Nurse at the Linden Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.Quacy GiddingsGiddings was accused of having in his possession 49 grams of cannabis sativa for the purpose of trafficking on November 3, 2017, at the Mackenzie Market in Linden. The prosecution’s case had contended that Police on foot patrol at the Mackenzie Market had observed Giddings acting in a suspicious manner and conducted a search of his person.Ranks had allegedly unearthed a pink and white plastic bag containing leaves, seeds and stems suspected to be cannabis, nine small ziploc bags also containing leaves, seeds and stems and a quantity of empty small ziploc bags.However, in making his ruling in the matter on Tuesday, Magistrate Nurse after perusing the evidence which was presented to the court, ruled that the prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was indeed guilty of the offence. He cited several inconsistencies and discrepancies regarding the handling of the evidence as well as contradicting testimonies by Police witnesses. He said the witnesses contradicted each other.He noted that as a result of the discrepancies, the court could not rely on the evidence presented and was doubtful regarding the handling and investigation of the matter. Giddings, who was represented by Attorney Yondessa Welcome, walked out of court a free man after thanking the Magistrate.