BASSETERRE. St. Kitts — Sixteen of the Federation’s hardworking and pioneering women were honoured in separate events sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine Resources, and the Ministry of Social Development and Gender Affairs.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine Resources honoured 10 hardworking and pioneering women for their contributions to the sector during a ceremony at the Agricultural Conference Room, La Guerite on March 8, International Women’s Day events.
International Women’s Day 2021, is celebrated under the global theme “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World”.
Tricia King and Dr. Tracey Challenger were honoured for technical and administrative support in Marine Resources and Agriculture (Livestock Division), respectively. The other honourees were Francella Stephens – Fisheries; Yvette Huggins – Meat Trader; Joan Napier – Horticulture; Agnes Crossley – Market Vending; Denise Gillard – Crop Farming; Arabella Nisbett – Agroprocessing and Annette France – Livestock. Fahies Agriculture Women’s Cooperative was honoured in the Women’s group in Agriculture category.
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Marine Resources, the Honourable Alexis Jeffers, deemed the event extremely significant and congratulated the women on their achievements.
“This is a very auspicious occasion in the sense that today and moving forward… women are front and centre in all that we do today because you are given a whole day to be recognized,” said Minister Jeffers. “But, of course, we recognize our women every single day for their contribution towards family life, nationhood, and also throughout the globe women continue to do a marvelous job in terms of the development and providing us with that framework and the environment for development of this our blessed earth.”
The ministry’s Permanent Secretary Ron Dublin Collins, congratulated and thanked the honourees for their contributions to the sectors.
“Today is an opportune moment for us to say thank you to our women, to encourage them, to recognize them, because their contribution has been tremendous,” said Collins. “This will be a day of celebration and recognition which is well due to the women who play so great a role in the agriculture and fisheries sector,”
“The theme seeks to celebrate the tremendous efforts and the contributions that our women and girls play in shaping a more equal future particularly in those recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Collins. “The ministry intends to make the event annual, as women and youths are part of the priority areas for the Ministry of Agriculture going forward.”
Trailblazers inducted in ‘Pioneering Women’s Gallery’
The St. Kitts Pioneering Women’s Gallery was inaugurated by the Ministry of Social Development and Gender Affairs on March 9, with six groundbreaking women inducted.
Inductees included Mercelyn Hughes, the first female Chief Immigration Officer; Dr. Naudica Philip, first female Pathologist; Dr. Marissa Grant-Tate, first female Oncologist; Mrs. Sonia Boddie-Thompson, the first female Clerk of the National Assembly; Karisia Willett, first female senior Calypso Monarch; and Meritza Williams, the first female to receive a medal at the Carifta Games.
“As the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day focuses on leadership, it was an opportune time to display to the Federation those women who have been trailblazers,” explained Janelle Lewis-Tafari, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development and Gender Affairs. “These women have shown the nation that women are capable of anything that they set their mind and talent to do.
“These are women who broke the proverbial glass ceiling,” she said. “They are an inspiration to others. Women who achieve firsts in the Federation must be acknowledged and celebrated.
“This is important. Our children who are coming up, both our boys and our girls, need to see strong women,” she said. “Women who are from similar circumstances, the same country. This is so that our little girls can understand that regardless of what challenges they are experiencing, there is hope, you can accomplish, you can achieve.”
Minister of Social Development and Gender Affairs, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, said the event showcases the immense talent and skills of women and how far they have come in St. Kitts and Nevis.