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Bus conductor refuses to transport woman to family court- Act reveals work still left to do - Gender activist

Published:Tuesday | December 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM
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Gender activist Judith Wedderburn has reacted with shock at the "disturbing" report of a woman carrying a baby being barred from entering a coaster bus in Papine, St Andrew, because she intended to travel to the Family Court in Kingston.

The conductor had denied the woman entry, arguing: "Mi nah mek you go lock up no man. Mi nah carry you!"

One passenger then offered to give the woman his seat and people in the park pleaded for the woman to be allowed to board the bus but the conductor was unmoved.

Minutes later, the bus left the stop with several passengers arguing with the conductor over his stance.

"Unfortunately, the conductor made an assumption which may or may not have been correct," Wedderburn told The Gleaner yesterday.

"But the principle that he should even think he has the right to bar her from entering the bus for that reason tells us how much work we have to do."

The gender activist added: "If she were going to the Family Court to pursue a case against the child's father, that's her right and we have to help young men take responsibility for their actions. The implications from this are huge."

Another gender activist and member of the 51% Coalition, Nadeen Spence, said while the woman's reasons were not clear, the treatment towards her demonstrated "the culture of disdain" for women who go to the Family Court.

LOOKED DOWN ON

"It's almost as if a woman is looked down on ... automatically seen as evil if a woman dares to try to get support through the Family Court," said Spence.

She said the reactions were similar to those in relation to former beauty queen Yendi Phillipps, who recently filed for full custody of her child with dancehall entertainer, Daniel 'Chino' McGregor.

"Yendi came from a different socio-economic background, but met the same disdain. People were not asking whether it was true the man was taking care of his child. Focus was on whether Yendi was causing trouble," said Spence.

jovan.johnson@gleanerjm.com