ON the occasion of International Men’s Day observed annually on November 19, Saint Lucian men and their counterparts in the Caribbean have been left with an enthralling challenge to live up to their full potential and do more to positively impact the world.
The latest challenge has come from Minister for Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment Joachim Henry, who led Saint Lucia’s delegation and was the keynote speaker at the first-ever hosting of the International Men’s Day Regional Conference convened in Grenada from November 15 – 19.
Minister Henry told his audience that it was not a curse that statistically men died before their spouses. That fact, he said, should galvanize men in seeing themselves as the bridge in helping to set their children and families on an economically successful path towards the creation of generational wealth, thus mitigating the effects of colonization and slavery.
Minister Henry also appealed to men to no longer remain passive observers within the family and society but to instead rise to the occasion, as now more than ever, the world needed leaders of good faith and character. He called upon men in attendance at the inaugural regional conference to work side by side with their female counterparts, in helping to stem the tide and root out the prevailing attitude of juvenile delinquency and outright disregard for authority plaguing Caribbean societies.
“Men should also uplift other children in their community, which by doing so, they are indirectly uplifting their children,” the minister declared. “Too often, they do not see what their kids are doing but they will see their neighbour’s child. When you use the opportunity to embrace and uplift other children, you are uplifting your own, sometimes from issues that you would never imagine that your kids are practicing.”
He added: “The village always come alive when men embrace an entire community and other children within the sphere of influence.”
Minister Henry was accompanied by Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary, Celia Charles-Arthur; Stephen Edward, Family Case Worker of the Division of Human Services and Family Affairs, and Reynel Stephen, Coordinator of the Boys Matter Programme of the Saint Lucia Social Development Fund (SSDF).
International Men’s Day is dedicated to men and their contributions to society. The observance seeks to celebrate the success and progress made by men in economic, social, cultural, and political spheres while highlighting their contributions to family, institutions, and society at large.