In recent months the spotlight has been turned on St Vincent and the Grenadines over the Yugge Farrell scandal with pressure being brought to bear on prime minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves over his handling of the affair involving his son Camillo, who is accused of having an extra marital relationship with the 22-year-old former model.
Today, on International Women’s Day, Javelle Frank, coordinator of the group SAY Enough is Enough
appealed for respect for woman and girls in St Vincent and the Grenadines in light of the recent public controversy.
Following is the full statement issued by the group.
Sisters and brothers, in the struggle for peace and justice, today March 8 declared International Women’s Day I stand in solidarity with you to demand respect for our women and girls as equal partners of the human family.
Today I urge you to remember that Women’s Rights are Human Rights. I say, Women’s Rights are Human Rights. Today, I remind you that, women’s rights are the fundamental human rights that were enshrined by the United Nations for every human being on this planet over 60 years ago. These rights include the right to live free from violence, slavery, and discrimination; to be educated; to own property; to vote; and to earn a fair and equal wage. Therefore, if, women’s rights are human rights, it means that women are entitled to all of these rights. Today we recognize the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and the declaration that “Gender equality is a right . . . . And fulfilling this right is the best chance we have in meeting some of the most pressing challenges of our time—from economic crisis and lack of health care, to climate change, violence against women and escalating conflicts.”
Sisters and brothers, today I stand with you as a representative of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Public Service Union and our newly found Social Justice organization, Enough is Enough. Today we stand up for women all over our country. We stand up for workers in the public and private sectors, we stand up for women who are unemployed, underemployed, and disadvantaged. We make a clarion call that women, who are the bedrock of our society, must be treated with the respect and dignity.
Today we urge women throughout the length and breadth of this country, regardless of affiliation to stand up and stand together to demand better conditions that will allow our women to lead fruitful and productive lives. We call on women to acknowledge the power of their voice and their vote. We make a clarion call for all to hear that it is time for women to share equally in the power structures of our government, our political parties, our businesses, and our civil society organizations. It is time for us to have a seat at the table where decisions impacting our lives are made, so that our unique needs and concerns are duly considered. We demand a place at the table where laws and policies to protect us are discussed and crafted. We demand a seat at the table where programmes and initiatives are developed to empower us so that we can defend ourselves from the assault of sexual predators and vultures and can safely flee from bad situations.
In this vain, we demand that our schools and civil society organizations spearhead efforts to teach our girls and boys, women and men how to love and respect each other. Teach them how to parent well, so that our families can once again be a strong foundation for our society and our children can become more respectful, industrious and critical thinking Vincentians and citizens of this world. We must encourage creativity, entrepreneurship, and collective economics so that we can create employment and lift our women, and their families, out of poverty and a cycle of dependency. In this way, we will lay a solid foundation for a more empowered and stable nation and our women will no longer have to compromise their values or sacrifice their dignity to put food on the table for their families. Singing Sandra has instructed us, Tell them they could keep they money, ah go keep my honey and die with my dignity.
Today, we stand boldly and declare: that time’s up for women of this country to be treated like second class citizens, the time’s up for the disrespect, the time’s up for the abuse, and the time’s up for the silencing of our voices. We call on the powers that be to recognize that our voices must be heard, and we will not retreat until our demand for respect and justice are met. Sisters and brothers, let us stand firm and resolute in defence of our women and girls. Remember this is: My Life, My Right, My Dignity: Enough is Enough.