Acting Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Patrick Todd

No stone must be left unturned in guaranteeing women the enjoyment of their fundamental freedoms.

This assertion from acting Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Patrick Todd, who reminded all that women were not owned by anyone, regardless of family or friend, nor did they have the right to determine women’s legitimate destiny.

“Neither should the state condone institutional violence against women through the criminalisation of the victim through the police and courts, negligence in investigating the underlying causes of the cases by social services, the trauma to victims in repeating the experiences throughout the legal processes, the slowness and complexity of administrative procedures and the low priority given to these services in policies and budgets,” Mr. Todd said.

He made the comments yesterday while giving the national message at the Bureau of Gender Affairs symposium at Bagnall Point Gallery, Pelican Village to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and launch the campaign for the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.

This country is a signatory to the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention of Belem do Para and the Minister disclosed that it was actively considering signing the Optional Protocol to CEDAW.

“Barbados owes it to over 50 per cent of its population, to the minority sex in leadership and decision-making policies, to those burdened with the responsibility of care, to its grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters and nieces, the assurance that they can pursue their lives free of discrimination, exploitation and violence.

“Barbados must ensure that its women are able to pursue their dreams in the safety of their homes, church, schools and workplaces. Only through these assurances can Barbadians, and women in particular, rest comfortably in the knowledge that their basic human rights will be preserved,” he told the gathering.

Minister Todd urged all in the society to play their part in denouncing all forms of violence, stressing that women should not be subjected to “cruel and inhumane treatment that is symptomatic of uneducated and barbaric practices”. He was adamant that women demanded and deserved better.

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