Organizers of next month’s march against gender-based violence here say they have been forced to adjust the timing of their March 11 event, following this week’s announcement by the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) of a national march of disgust against the Freundel Stuart Government.
Director of the Life In Leggings Caribbean Alliance Against Gender-based Violence Ronelle King told Barbados TODAY this evening that while awaiting official permission from the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) to stage their event titled, Reclaim Our Streets – Feminine Solidarity March, they were informed by police that the Opposition wanted the same time slot, as well as one of their chosen locations.
“We basically tried to work it out and we agreed we had to push up our march from 1 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. [instead of the original 3 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.],” King said, adding that they chose to reschedule the time rather than cancel the march.
Asked how she felt about the clash of events, the anti-violence activist was evidently unhappy.
“We would have loved the day to be solely focused on persons from all walks of life standing in solidarity with survivors of sexual and gender-based violence to try to bring an end to gender-based violence . . . now the day has been politicized.
“It kind of takes away what is the focus of the march in Barbados,” King said.
While making it clear their march was neither political nor a protest against Government, she told Barbados TODAY her group had actually invited all parliamentarians, including Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, to participate in the event.
However, she declined to disclose Mottley’s response to the invitation which was also sent to other political parties, civil society groups, members of the judiciary, the private and public sector, faith-based organizations, the international community, local artistes and representatives of the media.
The letter dated January 27, 2017 urged Government to ensure domestic violence and sexual offences legislation and policies satisfy international norms and standards.
It also suggested that Government meets its obligation to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and Belem do Para.
The letter also requested that political parties and parliamentarians in general develop standards and implement accountability policies on gender-based violence, including political harassment against women and men.
It also called on the local judiciary to ensure collaboration to amplify the work being done to reach more women and girls.
The group also wants the judiciary to hold itself and the Government accountable.
It has called on the private sector to sign and implement international standards to end gender inequality – such as the United Nations Women and United Nation Global Compact Women’s Empowerment Principles and the United Nations Development Programme Gender Seal.
Faith-based organizations have been urged to develop and implement zero tolerance policies on gender-based violence perpetrated by leaders and within communities.