Saint Lucia joined the rest of the world in marking International Women’s Day on March 8, 2016.
Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony met with a contingent from women’s rights group Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia (RYVSL) on that day.
RYVSL secretary, Catherine Sealys, and director Petra Jeffrey-Nelson presented the Prime Minister with a declaration advocating for improvement in the mechanisms to protect women and children.
The Prime Minister welcomed the delegation warmly, thanking them for the work they are doing, and encouraging them to continue with their interventions at the community and national level, whilst noting the need for more work to be done.
Said Dr. Anthony,
“As a nation, we have come a long way in terms of the treatment of our women, and the place that our women enjoy in society. We have had many notable Saint Lucian women in the legislature, judiciary, and serving at the highest level in well-respected international organisations.
“It is fitting and, in fact, essential that we should seek to ensure an environment in which all of our citizens can flourish. This is a Government that does not shy away from responsibility, and we accept the responsibility to protect and advance the cause of all Saint Lucians, without reservation.
“In that regard, I thank Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia for sharing their concerns with me. A number of those issues – reinforcement of our family law, and protection for victims of sexual assault, for instance – resonate with ordinary Saint Lucian. They are at the forefront of my mind as well.
“We must put better mechanisms in place. But we must also engage our community in dialogue. We must initiate frank, open communication with our women, and our men, as well, to better understand how best to proceed, particularly when it comes to drafting and enacting sensitive social legislation.”
The mission and mandate of RYVSL is to speak out against domestic violence, rape, physical and sexual abuse of women and minors and to advocate for change in the system of governance specifically in the Social, Judicial and Public Systems that affect women and children.