October 1, 2016

Creation of Gender Affairs Bureau being “streamlined”

MAB Administrator Diego Alphonso

MAB Administrator Diego Alphonso

The creation of the Gender Affairs Bureau (GAB), which was slated for completion in early 2016, is currently being “streamlined.” This is according to current Administrator of the Men Affairs Bureau (MAB) Diego Alphonso, who on Monday told Guyana Times that staffing structure is being worked out.

“Presently the personnel department is working out the organisational structure… everything remains the same,” related Alphonso.

He further stated that the Social Protection Ministry will alert the public as soon as the bureau commences operations. The MAB administrator said: “We will be issuing a press release when we officially start off the department.”

The establishment of this bureau will see the merger of the MAB and WAB (Women’s Affairs Bureau) which exist as two separate entities. It has been explained that the subsumed units will operate under a singular head while achieving the relevant objectives.

It was in December of last year that Social Protection Minister Volda Lawrence disclosed that this unit would begin operating in early 2016. She had opined that this merger is in keeping with world trends.

The Women and Gender Equality Commission Head Indra Chandarpal

The Women and Gender Equality Commission Head Indra Chandarpal

Head of the Women and Gender Equality Commission Indra Chandarpal had welcomed the merger. She however cautioned that the issues of men and women must be dealt with equally.

“I don’t see a problem… we have other jurisdictions where it operates in that way,” Chandarpal said, adding: “What we need to ensure however is that men’s issues are also taken on board because the problems we face in society is not only female; so with the one division you can have two desks… each desk, I am sure will continue to do the things they have been doing.”

She had however expressed disagreement with the organisation having a singular director.

“I don’t subscribe to the idea of one director… you need to have separate heads. I think that they should have two different directors… in terms of the WAB you have a separate person and the MAB you have a separate person.” Chandarpal had opined that one director shouldn’t be tasked with the implementation of policies for both genders.

“That person would really have to be gender conscious to understand that you can’t take sides. We all understand the issues affecting each other but I think it would be more suitable if you can have two different persons rather than one,” she remarked.

In light of these concerns, the MAB head had explained that while there would be one head, the two components would continue simultaneously.

“There would be the male component and the female component,” Alphonso had stated.

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