Minister for the Public Service, Home Affairs, Labour and Gender Affairs, Honourable Dr. Virginia Albert Poyotte appealed to the CARICOM Secretariat and regional governments to commit financial, material and human resources to achieve gender equality in national and regional development. Minister Poyotte made the statement Tuesday August 16 at the opening of a National Consultation on the CARICOM Draft Regional Gender Equality Strategy held at the Bay Gardens Hotel. Forty-two participants representing 32 governmental and non-governmental agencies from Saint Lucia took part in the consultation, which is being conducted in all CARICOM member states.
Dr. Albert- Poyotte applauded Ms. Ann-Marie Williams, the CARICOM Deputy Programme Manager, Gender and Development, who facilitated the consultation, and praised the CARICOM Secretariat on its much-anticipated leadership in the regional coordination of gender equality. According to Dr. AlbertPoyotte, “the consultations are timely given that the COVID-19 pandemic reversed hard-earned gender equality gains in the region by an estimated 20 years.” She stressed the need for networking, collaboration and strategic partnerships for the implementation of the strategy both at the regional and national levels. The Gender Affairs minister implored the participants at the workshop to ensure that the specific interests and challenges of Saint Lucia are represented in the regional strategy.
Workshop participants demonstrated a high level of commitment to the process, highlighting several Saint Lucia specific considerations with regional implications such as measures to address coordination for freedom from violence; how to foster greater social inclusion and reduce gender-specific contributors to poverty; how to ensure more inclusive and collaborative sustainable natural resource management and environmental sustainability; instituting measures for more equitable economic empowerment that is inclusive and participatory; eliminating barriers to inclusive quality education; promoting equitable access to health care; and promoting good governance through strategic gender mainstreaming; and gender parity in political participation and decision making.
Dr. Albert – Poyotte implored the Department of Gender Affairs to ensure the inclusion of new initiatives for gender equality in the upcoming national budget to guarantee adequate financial resources for gender equality outcomes in all sectors. The Minister pledged the commitment of the Government of Saint Lucia to the regional gender strategy.