After six years…Jagdeo speaks out on wife abuse allegations

After six years…Jagdeo speaks out on wife abuse allegations

April 23, 2015 | By KNews | Filed Under News

Former President Bharrat Jagdeo

Former President, Bharrat Jagdeo

Six years after maintaining absolute silence on allegations of domestic abuse leveled against him former President Bharrat Jagdeo has said that despite numerous claims being circulated he never resorted to physical violence against his ex-wife, Varshnie Singh.

Jagdeo, who spoke out in defence of women, yesterday, stated that the only act of physical violence against women he had ever been involved in was when he was a lad of 10 years and had tussles with his older sisters.

He made these remarks during a press briefing at Freedom House, Robb Street, on April 22.  At the time, he was asked about Minister of Health, Dr. Bheri Ramsaran’s confrontation with a female activist on Monday April 20.  

Jagdeo condemned the actions of his colleague. He stated, “Personally I think it should have never happened; it’s distasteful and we should never say anything about any woman, particularly women that way.”

Though he was not asked, Jagdeo volunteered, “I saw they’ve said that I beat my wife; you can ask her. Let me make it clear to everyone: I have never touched, physically abused, a single woman in my entire life, including my ex-wife.
“So that is clear, I can say it here: never, ever. I fought with my older sisters when they used to beat me up a few times but that was when I was ten years old.
“Outside from that I never ever touched a single woman,” he stressed.
Jagdeo made it clear that his party does not condone attacks on any female.

Former First Lady, Varshanie Singh

Former First Lady, Varshanie Singh

When former First Lady, Varshnie Singh, spoke out in 2009 about what she called “institutionalized” or “high-tech” domestic violence, she spoke of her fears and insecurities living in a country where her  “oppressor” had his hand in every facet of the day to day functioning of the country.

This, she said, had put her in a precarious position from which she could not escape. It was after she was locked out of State House that the Former First Lady documented, in great detail, her decade-long experience of verbal and emotional abuse by Jagdeo.

She said that during their marriage she was not allowed to work and did not receive proper maintenance or care, financial or otherwise.

The Office of the First Lady was one she dubbed a “myth.”
She had stated that she and Jagdeo had a “deal” before getting married that they would work together, to move Guyana forward, but that never happened.

Singh had spoken of her non-profit Kids First Fund being sabotaged, often by her ex-husband. The charity was one used to raise funds for medical care for poor Guyanese children.
“He found my work embarrassing and me annoying. The First Ladies of every country in the world, when they are helpful, are treated with respect and are given the full backing of their husbands and the nation.”

Singh said she had been isolated and alone for two years.
“If I wasn’t home by 6:00pm, the apartment door would be locked with a latch from the inside so my key could not open it…When I was locked out, I would have to spend the night on the sofa on the first floor without a sheet, praying for the night to end quickly,” Singh said.

The former First Lady had spoken of having been sabotaged over and over: being denied money and support to run her charity and being denied rights to buy land to start a low-cost specialist hospital for the country.
“Although my work is done with total commitment, fairness and honesty for the benefit of others, it irritated my husband a lot.
“I used my fancy job title to advocate for those who had been taken advantage of and needed help, the voiceless, poor people, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation.”

She had said that this was the first country where the First Lady was “proactive, doing good for the nation but gets penalised because her husband is President and finds her work to help the same people he swore to defend and represent as ”showing up the inadequacies of his government” and therefore made me his enemy.”

The former First Lady had not alleged physical abuse. She claimed that Jagdeo had decided that to punish her, “he would withhold all resources, financial and otherwise and line my path with a multitude of cruel, selfish obstacles.”
“It is funny and sad to hear the politicians talk about the campaign against domestic violence, investing millions to “stamp it out” etc when what I am experiencing is hi-tech domestic violence and persecution.
“Our (then) President is using his office and state resources, including Ministers unprofessionally, to disadvantage a woman.”
“I have been deprived of the basics for many years, my food is taken care of by my Aunt who has a shop. My clothing, money and everything else is from my parents and family,” she had said.
She said, later, that attempts to gain independence “would somehow eventually need his approval on the business front. On the job front, I was told that no one would employ me for fear of backlash from our President.”

The former First lady had said that she applied for 31.4 acres of land at Moraikobai to develop a hospital and complex offering a number of benefits which she had offered to buy from the Government.
“But I was told by the President that he can’t sell state land. We asked for a 99-year lease, but he said he can only give 25-year lease.”
This is in stark contrast to prime land that was given for controversial projects in more recent years.
When information was made public about the extent to which the then Head of State had reportedly ill-treated his wife, Kaieteur News had sought comments on the issue from senior female government officials.
None of them would comment. Six years later, none of the female government Minister would even say word about Jagdeo’s wife abuse.

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  • Deen  On 04/24/2015 at 3:44 pm

    It not unusual that people, especially government workers, have a fear to spreak candidly or critically against political figures because of vindictive reprisals.
    Obviously, Bharrat Jadeo was not kind to his wife and flexed his political muscle to discourage her benevolent and charitable work. It does not reflect well on a leader of a nation, who should have supported all individuals and organizations that were dedicated to helping the people of Guyana.
    Does Bharrat Jadeo have a record for philanthropy?

    • albert  On 04/24/2015 at 4:37 pm

      Guess out of fear no one in Guyana would ask him directly whether he was gay and give him an opportunity to get out of the prison he must be in. Its no big thing now in America and most of the West.

  • Gemma  On 04/24/2015 at 4:42 pm

    He’s too smart to have subjected his wife to physical abuse but mental abuse is another story and that can be worse than the physical kind. As to the gay rumor…well no amount of denial would make him less gay. However, in the Caribbean region and its environs, it’s still a no no so I can understand why he will not come out of the closet.

  • de castro  On 04/25/2015 at 3:08 am

    Ha ha hilarious laughter….
    My uncle was gay……as boys growing up we would ride pass his “CookShop”
    in middle and camp street GT shouting “aunty gregory”…… without daring to go
    into shop… its not the ” gayness” but the stigmata attached to a natural
    Think comrade Jagdeo should consult a shrink if he has not done so already.
    Openness and transparency is a perquisite for a political career in today’s world.

    So what I am gay 😇 its 2015 not 1915……
    Wake up guyana wake up guyanese.

    • albert  On 04/25/2015 at 11:03 am

      Some years back his wife had a lengthy piece online about their lives together. I could only laugh when I think she said he locked her out of the bedroom on their honeymoon night. With so many horny Guyanese men around he coud have found one to help him out.

  • de castro  On 04/25/2015 at 3:19 am

    If at 10 (pubity age) comrade Jagdeo had “tussels” with older sisters this could have triggered his “later resentment” of women.
    Am no physiologist….had no such tussels with my two older sisters
    but learnt a lot of the Y Z cromozones from them !😇
    Why they even taught me how to “dance”….. Happy days !😀

    • albert  On 04/25/2015 at 10:55 am

      Atlanta, Georgia has its first openly gay major. So is 1-2 in Congress. The US is slowly catching on but the republican far right holds on to 18th century customs.

  • gigi  On 04/26/2015 at 7:40 pm

    If one reads the US embassy wiki leaks cable on Guyana, one would learn that the marriage was an arrangement suggested by the elders in the PPP party. It seems being married projects a better image for a president. It seems this image is universal and not limited to only Guyana.

    Further readings of various other cables – and the reading is exhaustive so I mostly read those that were marked “highly/strictly confidential” or something to the effect – one would also learn that while still being married, Mrs Jagdeo maintained her live-in relationship with her boyfriend in England where the two resided. I seriously doubt the information was lies concocted by the American embassy in Guyana to send to Washington since the information is easily verifiable for a country with a vast and invasive spying apparatus that matches that of its closest ally, the UK, home of the said spouse. Pictures were probably taken to verify the information. Mr. Jagdeo’s sexual orientation is his personal business. If he prefers the single life that his personal business too. Why does he need to/or why should he hide behind a woman to prove he is a man?

    “The fact is that a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous.” Niccolo Machiavelli

    • albert  On 04/26/2015 at 10:32 pm

      “Why does he need to/or why should he hide behind a woman to prove he is a man?”
      No one doubts he has the physical features of a man.What they say he prefers sexual relationship with other humans who look like him. Savvy? Vaginas are prohibited.

  • sashaj11  On 05/01/2015 at 7:23 pm

    Good article. This is what journalism stands for, to give readers the truth.
    I like how you included the fact that no female (or male) government ministers or other heads gave any statements regarding this. It’s important to question why.

    Also important to note is that Jagdeo did acknowledge he didn’t physically abuse his wife. But he didn’t say anything about mental or emotional abuse.

    Sometimes this news is sad to read, who wants to know that a former president abused his wife (emotionally or mentally)?

    But I think having the story told, both sides, is important for moving forward the world, and individuals doing that moving.

  • sashaj11  On 05/01/2015 at 7:31 pm

    I also agree with gigi’s comment. “Mr. Jagdeo’s sexual orientation is his personal business. If he prefers the single life that his personal business too.”

    As a former leader and president, despite his numerous political and other connections,IF he is gay, then his sexual orientation could help others come out too. And wouldn’t this make others feel safe and accepted in Guyana (and the Caribbean)?

    But it may also be hard (and other things) for an individual, especially in a government to come out, if he is gay. But this fear makes it even harder I think for others who are not in government to come out. If we want a better future shouldn’t we be open-minded to all progress?

    A person’s sexual orientation isn’t anyone’s business but their own.

  • albert  On 05/02/2015 at 2:08 pm

    “A person’s sexual orientation isn’t anyone’s business but their own.”

    I’m incline to agree but this would be a hard sell in many situations. It is better for a politician to disclose his/her sexual orientation up front and dont wait until elected. Look at the blackmail attempt and sudden resignaton of that NJ Governor. ….on the other hand Barney Frank I think, was still relected to Congress after coming out of the closet.
    Could a US Presidential candidate make a claim that his/her sexual orientation is no one’s business……the media would have a field day.

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