ANOTHER women’s group in St Lucia is moving to mobilize its members to secure a better deal for themselves.
This group called “Nous Fanm” (“We, the Women”) comprising ex-policewomen and wives of ex-policemen is an offshoot of the Ex-Police Association of St Lucia which has been around since 1994.
President of the Association Helen Charles said: “We are embarking upon an important undertaking the formation of a synergy between the ex-policewomen and wives of the ex-policemen to protect and advance our interests and stimulate participation in the association.
“We cannot hope to be successful working individually, but by combining our efforts, maximum results can be obtained. I am sure we all have a desire to achieve a richer life and a better association.
“We must have every hope that our common goal will be attained. This association of neighbours now in the process of formation needs your support, particularly at this stage of its development
“I am calling on us older women to commit to the removal of barriers that will affect our full participation in society while protecting our rights and dignity.”
According to the World health Organization (WHO), by 2050 the number of older women will be twice that of young children in developed countries. This trend is expected to have very profound effects on these countries and individuals.
The world over it is also being recognized that the aging population will present a significant challenge to society. “Therefore, we as older women should step up and use this as the opportunity to showcase the many contributions that we continue to make to our societies.”, Charles said, adding:
“To this end, we must stimulate discussion on promoting the rights of older women and strengthen partnerships aimed at securing our full participation in society.
“Let us all redouble our efforts to demand our rights as older women and make the dream of a society where equality for all is a reality.
“We often hear people speak of their admiration for older women because of their wisdom and grace, but older women don’t just want to be heard by people; we want to have a voice in our society.
“We need to increase public awareness of our needs and problems as older women and the valuable contributions that we have made to fashion our families and societies and also the efforts that we continue to make for the well-being of all.
“We need to encourage each other to maintain our dignity and self-esteem by recognizing and acknowledging our individualities. We need to come together to support each other in our achievements and success and also in times of sickness and crisis.
“We need to demand from our children for us to remain in our own homes for as long as possible and make informed decisions about our finances, our lives and our destinies.
“We need to be advocates for and on behalf of each other. We, the women — nous fanm.
“We need to be the coordinating body bringing together all our members to work on development issues relating to our association and to prevent the duplication of services.
“We need to develop projects that will benefit us all as a unit and to plan and implement activities each year to celebrate us women.
“We need to develop an attitude of ‘koudemain’, helping each other and being there for each other. Finally, we need to learn to appreciate each other.
“To society, I say : Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.
Sergeant Wilson, a fifteen-year veteran of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, who is currently in charge of the Vulnerable Person Team in Castries, welcomes the initiative and hopes to see the gap between former and serving policewomen filled. One way to do so is by becoming friends now to make the transition easier when the time comes.
She recognizes that being older in age does not make the former policewomen “old” as they have an abundance of intellect, value and are very important to society. She believes that work on the generational differences is needed in order to break the barriers that exit between former and serving policewomen. She believes it starts with the acceptance of the fact that time and people have changed and continue to change. However, there should be no compromise of rights and dignity with this acceptance and so, she has pledged her support to the association and this initiative.
Ms. Charles is the fifth President and first woman to head the Ex-Police Association. She is also the Executive Director of Helpage Saint Lucia National Council ff and for Older Persons. She holds an associate degree in Sociology and an Associate degree in Business Management.
The purposes of the Association are as follow:
1. The development of comradeship among its members.
2. The promotion of social, civic, benevolent and cultural activities as the association sees fit for the necessary welfare if its members.
3. To grant financial aid to members spouses, children, grandchildren or adopted children who are unable to meet the educational expenses, subject to availability of funds.
Membership of the Association is open to any member of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, Saint Lucia Fire Service, Special Reserve who, having served in such capacity, left the service, voluntarily, resigned, retired or was discharged for medical reasons.