NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (MARCH 22, 2017) — Junior Minister in the Ministry of Social Development Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, described participation in the first ever sub-regional conference for women and girls hosted by the ministry as overwhelming.
The two-day meeting, which commenced at the Mount Nevis Hotel on March 22, 2017, brought together participants from across the Caribbean and St. Kitts and Nevis. An initiative of Hon. Brandy-Williams, the meeting is designed to underscore the Nevis Island Administration’s (NIA) commitment to women’s empowerment, within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“At the last minute we had to turn down the requests of some persons who wanted to come. The capacity of the room here at Mount Nevis is 75 and I think we have surpassed that capacity a little,” she said.
The Minister believes that the cross section of participants is a perfect mix of youth, experience, professionals and persons from civil society. She expressed hope, that the ministry would be able to garner information and varying ideas from the cadre of persons in attendance.
Hon. Brandy-Williams said the forum was able to draw participants from six of nine Organisation of East Caribbean States (OECS). Each delegation is responsible for presenting a country report. The information would shed light on the progress of the country’s efforts to sensitize the public and speak to achievements on the way to implementing the SDGs.
Today’s meeting concludes with a women’s rally through the streets of Charlestown which culminates at the Villa Grounds. There will be a concert with a number of local artists including women playing steel pan, reciting poetry and the highlight will be singer Destra Garcia from Trinidad.
On day two of the meeting, the issue of women in leadership and women in politics will be the focus. A number of professionals are slated to speak on the inherent issues encountered by women who want to enter into elective politics.
The Minister said she is looking forward to the sessions because some of the young persons in attendance may want to become politicians and the information gleaned would assist persons in making that bold step for change.
In response to an invited comment, Hon. Brandy-Williams told the Department of Information that since she entered government, she has been attending a number of forums across the region which pertain to women. She realised that awareness in St. Kitts and Nevis, as it relates to the Sustainable Development Goals was lacking. So she set about organising the sub-regional women’s forum.
“I felt that for us to be able to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, we must start with awareness and so that is why I decided to get persons involved. So that they can understand what the Sustainable Development Goals are, what is in it for women? How could it empower women? How could women’s lives be improved by the Sustainable Development Goals?
“Once you get that information out and you have the awareness, then we will ultimately get the buy-in from women and so, the implementation process will become much easier,” she said.