PHOTO: First Lady Sandra Granger performs a ceremonial walk at the 49th Independence Day flag raising ceremony on May 26 at Guyana’s Independence Arch, Brickdam, Georgetown. © Brian Gomes Photography
About six days ago, May 24 to be exact, I glimpsed at the dailies Kaieteur News, and Stabroek News, and I couldn’t help but cringe at the features of First Lady Sandra Granger, and Second Lady (if that’s a thing) Sita Nagamootoo.
These were two contrasting articles from Stabroek News (SN) and Kaieteur News (KN) published on the same day. The SN article featured an interview with Sita Nagamootoo, while the KN article featured Sandra Granger.
SN May 24, 2015: “Sita Nagamootoo sees role working with grassroots women, children”
KN May 24, 2015: “First Lady or not, I am always the wife of a soldier –Sandra Granger”
The second story plunged me back in time to the pre-1960s, where women were viewed in the shadows of their husbands. The first story made me hopeful for the role of the ‘politician’s wife’ (a term which makes me cringe) in actively being part of the conversation. Yah know, movers and shakers rather than the ceremonial party planner or baby forehead kisser.
About the Sandra Granger KN story. I have not had the privilege to be in her company, but I feel in my gut (and I like to think I’m an excellent judge of character) that she is more than just the wife of President David Granger. She walks with the confidence and certainty you find in the Emily Davidson’s of this world while her aura radiates grace and genteel.
The First Lady, the world over, has always maintained a ceremonial background role- it’s a western thing. It’s the sort of phenomenon that makes us overlook that Michelle Obama is also a Harvard-trained Lawyer, who tutored Barack Obama when they were in Law School.
Bear with me that in this post, I am not beating up on KN for SN because SN also did the same thing in 2011 with this feature:
SN December 27, 2011: “I did not expect to be a politician’s wife, says Sandra Granger”
One would assume Sandra Granger must be tired of the media’s generic questions of her supportive role to her husband. I bet she can spit those answers with ease now that she has been bludgeoned with the same line of questions for 4 years. I think it’s about time the media gets to know who Sandra Granger really is, and what she stands for. Who knows, we might even boost her to pull a Hilary Clinton in 2020.
Now to the Office of the First Lady, former First Lady Varshni Jagdeo, by her own admission, established that office in Guyana so that she and others after her could have a proactive fulfilling role. I would hate to see Sandra Granger downplayed from the intellectual powerhouse that I know she is.
Former First Ladies like Viola Burnham and Janet Jagan have held their own when it came to political presence. They stood out in leadership roles and even held high office, as in the case of the latter. It is quite early in the First Ladyship for Sandra Granger, but while I know her stint as First Lady will not be spent sitting down, I think the media has a greater responsible to get on the ball. I predict big things happening.
On another note about First Ladies, over to that neighbouring oppressive regime with the bus driver turned President. Ah yes, Venezuela. When Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited Guyana a couple years ago, he said that his wife, Venezuela’s First Lady, Cilia Flores, was their Attorney General. He also said that she prefers not to be called the First Lady but instead “The First Fighter.”
The appointment of the First Lady to the post of Attorney General might be questionable, but it’s a heck of a step forward from Professional Baby Forehead Kisser.