A call has been made for “modern Barbados” to have a conversation about gender, and put things learnt through the island’s colonial legacy to rest.
Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Kirk Humphrey, made this call as he addressed the opening ceremony for the Livity Project Policy Forum on
Inclusive Approaches to Justice at the Hilton Barbados Resort on Tuesday.
Reflecting on Barbados’ history, Humphrey said: “Our own journey on plantations and the definitions given to us about gender, what it meant to be a man, to be able to produce and produce; what it meant to be a woman, to be able to bear more children and more children; at some point, these things have to be renegotiated.
“We need to have a conversation now in a modern Barbados about what it means to be a man, what it means to be a woman, what it means to really be a decent human
being at the end of the day,” he said.
He added this meant that at some point Barbados was going to have very challenging conversations. These, he said, should also extend to persons with disabilities and the elderly.
“That we have not created a space for persons with disabilities is very perplexing to me. The vast majority of us will be over 50 in the next few years, and we have not made a space,” he stated.
The Minister charged it was important to ensure that everyone was part of the development process so they can make a contribution and reap the benefits.
“This country must be able to recognise people in all their diversity and be able to serve those people because they are people,” he said.
Humphrey also called on persons “to look at the world as it has evolved and apply rational thought to determine if we need to keep the trajectory, or if we should change it, considering how the world has changed. It is a question we all need to pontificate on at some point in time.”
Head of Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, explained that the Livity Project started in 2018 to give a voice to the daily struggles of marginalised citizens
in the Caribbean.
Those, she said, included members of the LGBTQ+ community, the disabled and the elderly. She added that the project was dedicated to inclusive approaches to justice, with the understanding that access to justice was a basic human right.
President of the Barbados Council for the Disabled (BCD) Kerryann Ifill, noted that the two-day event was the final policy forum for the Livity Project.
She said the BCD applauded the champions of the project and thanked them for their work and contributions over the years. (BGIS)