The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

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.

Prime Min­is­ter Hon. Dr. Kenny D. An­thony with Raise Your Voice Saint Lu­cia

sec­re­tary Cather­ine Sealys and di­rec­tor Pe­tra Jef­fre-Nelson.

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