Team Unity administration condemns gender-based violence
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Highlighting the recent brutal killing of two young women, Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris said during his monthly press conference March 14 that his administration condemns all forms of violence, including gender-based violence.
“While there are many good things happening such as breaking the glass ceiling by our women, we are dismayed by the cruel hand of violence exercised against women,” he said. “To be clear, we condemn violence in all forms, but we maintain that violence against women and children is most reprehensible and egregious,” he added while mentioning the loss of two sisters from Keys Village, Jimmyliah and Naomi Finch.
Against the backdrop of violence against women, he said that his Cabinet is presently reviewing the amendments to the draft Domestic and Sexual Violence Complaints and Response Protocol, which has been updated with the support from the legal department and the Magistracy. He said that this policy will serve as the functional guide to key personnel in the police department, health care institutions and the Department of Gender Affairs.
Prime Minister Harris also noted the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has been instrumental in providing support to the Department of Gender Affairs with the national consultation on the protocol.
“No society can develop without the active engagement of women in all aspects of national life,” he said, while noting the steps that his administration is taking to include women in high-level positions in the Civil Service and the Cabinet.
“Our deeds are reflected in our appointment of two female senators in the Federal Assembly: the Hon. Wendy Phipps and Deputy Speaker the Hon. Akilah Byron-Nisbett; first ever female Cabinet Secretary Josephine Huggins; and our first female press secretary, Valencia Grant; appointments of their excellencies Dr. Thelma Phillip-Browne, Shirley Skerritt-Andrew, Sherry Tross and Verna Morris-Mills to key diplomatic postings,” he said.
Harris also mentioned the eight women honoured for their contribution to community-building at the International Women’s Day Award Ceremony March 8. Those awarded were Sonia Henry, Mavis Armstrong, Faith Benjamin, Michelle Stokes aka “Sweet Sister Sensia,” Merle Liburd-Browne, Pastor Janet Paul, Catherine Benjamin and Dr. Kathleen Allen-Ferdinand.