The National Organization of Women (NOW) has expressed fears that there could be a spike in cases of domestic violence as Barbados embarks on its structural adjustment programme with the International Monetary Fund.
Public Relations Officer of NOW Marsha Hinds raised the concern while speaking to Barbados TODAY on the sidelines of an economic consultation with Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn and leading feminist economist Dr Peggy Antrobus yesterday.
The consultation was a round table discussion with organizations under NOW’s umbrella that discussed the impact of the IMF austerity measures on gender groups.
“Even as you see the economy continue to contract…domestic violence is going to continue to rise, as people become displaced as people become uncomfortable it creates conflict and conflict exuberates those individuals who are not emotionally intelligent enough to put their feelings and their needs into word,” said Hinds.
“Domestic violence and protection of women from domestic violence is going to be one of the most important keys in this adjustment process,” she urged.
Hinds added that with pending jobs cuts, Government would have to improve social services and she appealed to national stakeholders to help ensure that everyone can successfully survive the rebuilding process.
“If we are to come out of this crisis with the idea of Barbados intact everybody has to play a role and that can’t just be Government. It has to be every family, every NGO and every individual,” Hinds said, adding, “until we move our society away from the attraction of “picket fence and the good life” as defined by somebody else or another culture, we are going to find ourselves struggling”.
Minister Ryan Straughn stressed that through “retraining and empowering, retooling and enfranchising” for displaced workers, the Government would seek to foster entrepreneurial pursuits and reform how the economy works. Straughn emphasized that as the country is transformed, Barbadians should not be afraid to explore pursuing opportunities beyond the island.
“The mindset of only working in Barbados now has to be changed and I think that now it is up to us collectively to demonstrate there maybe opportunities for us to leverage outside of Barbados and as Barbadians we must take the bull by the horns and take advantage of those opportunities,” said Straughn.
“It is not just expansion of domestic activity but it is expansion of Barbadians going outside of Barbados earning a living and remitting those funds back,” he said.