In­ter­na­tional Men’s Day 2016 Greetings

The fol­low­ing is a speech de­liv­ered by Dr Gale Rigob­ert, in recog­ni­tion of In­ter­na­tional Men's Day ob­served on sun­day, Novem­ber 19.

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

In­ter­na­tional Men’s Day (IMD), Novem­ber 19, was first ob­served in Trinidad and Tobago in 1999. The day, which is sanc­tioned by the United Na­tions, has re­ceived sup­port around the world and we are pleased that Saint Lu­cia will for the fifth year be of­fi­cially mark­ing the ob­ser­vance, which aims to make life bet­ter, not just for grown men but for young males alike. In­ter­na­tional Men’s Day is an oc­ca­sion for men to high­light dis­crim­i­na­tion against them and to cel­e­brate their achieve­ments and con­tri­bu­tions, in par­tic­u­lar their con­tri­bu­tions to com­mu­nity and na­tion build­ing, fam­ily, mar­riage and child care.

This year’s theme “Re­spon­si­ble Men, Se­cured Fam­i­lies, Safer Com­mu­ni­ties” high­lights the im­por­tance of: • Pro­mot­ing pos­i­tive male role mod­els. • Cel­e­brat­ing men’s pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tions to so­ci­ety, com­mu­nity, fam­ily, mar­riage, child care and the en­vi­ron­ment. • Men’s health and their so­cial, emo­tional, phys­i­cal and spir­i­tual well­be­ing. • High­light­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion against males es­pe­cially in ar­eas of so­cial at­ti­tudes and ex­pec­ta­tions. • Im­prov­ing gen­der re­la­tions and pro­mot­ing gen­der equal­ity, and • How men can get more in­volved in cre­at­ing a safer, bet­ter world, where their fam­i­lies and mem­bers of their com­mu­ni­ties can feel se­cure and con­fi­dent to reach their full po­ten­tial.

As Min­is­ter with re­spon­si­bil­ity for Gen­der Re­la­tions I am in­deed hon­oured to salute you the men and young men of our country. I rec­og­nize the in­valu­able con­tri­bu­tions that you make to fam­ily, com­mu­nity and the sus­tain­able devel­op­ment of our country. I also rec­og­nize the many chal­lenges that you may face at var­i­ous stages of your lives, and I im­plore you to re­frain from re­spond­ing in ways that can en­dan­ger you and your loved ones and to seek counsel when nec­es­sary through the var­i­ous gov­ern­ment agen­cies and in­sti­tu­tions, your churches, fam­ily mem­bers and friends.

I would like to ap­peal to men who are able to be of good ex­am­ple to other men and young men to take on the role of men­tors in your re­spec­tive com­mu­ni­ties and pro­vide the guid­ance and sup­port to other males to help them deal with some of the chal­lenges that con­tinue to hin­der their progress. I would like men and young men to or­ga­nize by form­ing ad­vo­cacy groups to ar­tic­u­late their con­cerns as a col­lec­tive. I am ap­peal­ing to all men to take their health, in­clud­ing men­tal health se­ri­ously and avail them­selves of the many pub­lic and pri­vate health ser­vices that are present through­out the country. We con­tinue to be con­cerned about what seems to be an in­crease in the cases of gen­der-based vi­o­lence in­clud­ing sex­ual vi­o­lence per­pe­trated by men against the women and chil­dren in our so­ci­ety. I am ap­peal­ing to all men to take ac­tion through ed­u­ca­tion and ad­vo­cacy and em­power other men to end the vi­o­lence per­pe­trated by their male peers. Men and boys should not con­tinue to be seen as the prob­lem, they must be­come part of the so­lu­tion in end­ing this scourge in our country.

The high­light of this year’s ob­ser­vance for In­ter­na­tional Men’s Day is a Fa­thers Fun Sports Day or­ga­nized by the Di­vi­sion of Gen­der Re­la­tions and the Soufriere Youth and Sports Coun­cil, tak­ing place on Sun­day Novem­ber 20th 2016 at the Soufriere Mini Sta­dium from 11:00 a.m. It will tar­get fa­thers, their chil­dren or wards island-wide com­ing to­gether for a day of healthy fun filled ac­tiv­i­ties. It is in­tended to pro­mote the im­por­tance of the role of fa­thers in the lives of their chil­dren. It is an op­por­tu­nity for men to pro­mote the nur­tur­ing of their chil­dren through sports and I in­vite all fa­thers and male men­tors to take part in this event with their chil­dren or mentees.

Again Happy In­ter­na­tional Men’s Day 2016 to all men and boys in Saint Lu­cia. I wish to as­sure you of my com­mit­ment and my Gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to con­tinue putting mea­sures in place that will en­able men to be in a bet­ter po­si­tion to as­sume their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to fam­ily, com­mu­nity and country as we strive to­wards a more equitable so­ci­ety.

Hon Gale T.C. Rigob­ert Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion, In­no­va­tion, Gen­der Re­la­tions and Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment

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