Acting Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner (FP)????

Barbadians have been urged to have zero tolerance against violence.

This call has come from Acting Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner. She was speaking at a press conference today at Government Headquarters to announce plans for United Nations'(UN) International Day of Peace on September 21.

Commenting on the acts of violence that occur periodically and are reported in sections of the media, the Acting Minister of Family said one way the day could be made worthwhile was for leaders and persons of influence to speak out against such incidents when they occurred because this country was one of the most peaceful in the world.

She said: "I would wish that when these things happen that the Church comes out and says this is not right and this is not what we wish to see… and children… and the media would say this is not right and this is not what we wish to see". She indicated that such open condemnation would go a long way to stemming violence in the society.

Senator Sandiford-Garner stressed that the society needed to eliminate all forms of violence, especially sexual abuse against women.

The Acting Minister of Youth, Family and Sports pointed out that the world was now a global village and Barbados could not disregard conflict across the globe. "As long as there are wars, we cannot be safe," she stated.

Mrs. Sandiford-Garner also called on everyone to observe the day with periods of silence and acts of peace.

UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Michelle Gyles-McDonnough, said September 21 would be a day of global cease-fire and a cessation of hostility and anger.

"It is an incredibly important moment…It is a time to reflect on the horror and the cost of war… And to resolve conflict and its effect on innocent civilians such as mothers and children," she noted.

The UN Official said there was evidence to suggest rising incidents of crime and violence were occurring in the world and that the cessation of violence on this day was very important because it provided everyone with a sense of hope, not just for humanitarian relief, but also for United Nations’ staff members to reach persons. Mrs. Gyles-McDonnough mentioned that some countries were working towards disarmament and it was necessary to keep the pressure on warlords.

UN spokesperson for peace, Aja, stated he wanted to see the entire country "shutdown" at 12 noon on Monday, and for persons to wear blue and white, which were the United Nation’s colours. "A minute’s silence is critical for the day for our objective;" he observed.

He urged corporate Barbados to participate by wearing the colours and for schools to educate children about the day and the importance of peace. The UN Peace Ambassador added that the day would be used to remove some of the negative practices from society and to focus on issues that would be important. He said: "We have to look at Barbados and make Barbados a better place:"

Aja called on called on all persons to reflect and pray on the Day before they attend work or school and participate in other activities. He said that some churches would be having special services dedicated to peace.

Come next Monday, the International Day for Peace will be commemorated worldwide.

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