Tackle violence against women says Baptiste
March 12, 2010
Tackle violence against women says Baptiste

This country’s Minister of Culture Rene Baptiste fears that there is reluctance by persons to address the issue of violence against women.{{more}}

“There was a time when violence against women was a popular topic but it seems to have disappeared until we start to see it come back and rear its ugly head again,” said Baptiste.

Baptiste, whose portfolio also covers Urban Development and Labour Affairs, addressed the serious issue while delivering the feature address at an International Women’s Day gathering, organized by the Embassies of the Republic of Cuba, The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Federative Republic of Brazil, on Monday at the Peace Memorial Hall, Kingstown.

Baptiste referred to articles in last week’s editions of the newspapers, where a woman was savagely attacked with a cutlass, losing a hand in the process, as one of the recent acts perpetrated against a woman here.

She noted that not much was said about the situation as there would have been in the past.

“The advocacy seems to have dried up. I am not hearing it,” she stated.

“It affects women in the low income brackets more often than not; that’s not to say there’s not a clever mask in the other brackets. Things cannot change unless someone is willing to help change it,” Baptiste emphasized.

The minister also called for more persons to champion the cause of women, who she claimed make up more than 50 percent of the public service and work force.

Throughout her address, Baptiste paid homage to a number of women who made an impact on the development of women’s affairs and St. Vincent and the Grenadines over the decades: Ivy Joshua, Olive Ballantyne, Alice Mandeville, Viola John, Joy Browne, Joy Matthews, among others.

She issued a challenge for more women to take a leading role in politics, and said that she would like to see a female president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Chamber of Industry and Commerce, as well as the Employers Federation.

“Directors, Executive Directors, yes, (but) aren’t there women interested, willing to knock heads on that ceiling in respect of those two bodies in the business sector of St. Vincent and the Grenadines?” Baptiste asked the gathering.

The minister called for International Women’s Day to be a meaningful day on this country’s calendar of activities.

Monday’s event also heard addresses from the Ambassadors of Cuba Olga Chameros Trias, Venezuela’s Joel Perez Marcano and Brazil’s Renato Xavier.

There were also poetry by Arianna Richards and Sherice Cambridge, a musical rendition by Marvo Morgan, and a mini fashion show featuring styles from Ebika Kagbala.