There is a great need for women to come to the forefront of the decision-making processes in the country. This, according to female Parliamentarians, would ensure that issues relating to women are properly prioritized and addressed. The Bahamas Branch of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) sponsored a luncheon for the spouses of parliamentarians, department heads, and senior female government officials at Luciano’s of Chicago, December 4, 2017. The event was held under the theme, “Strong Women, Leaders Unite.” Delivering the keynote address was Mrs. Patricia Minnis, wife of Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis. Mrs. Minnis said that women need to be more visible in order to effect change in the country. To this end, Mrs. Minnis said that she is pushing for an Office of the Spouse of the Prime Minister. She has already started the process by submitting a proposal for consideration by the Cabinet. She is currently awaiting a decision by the Cabinet.
“I believe that as women, we should have a voice to speak to the issues that we face in the country,” said Mrs. Minnis. “For that reason, I am pushing for this office, which I believe will help us to push for certain things relating to women and children, such as healthcare, the well-being of women and children and other issues.” Also delivering brief remarks was Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, and Chairperson of the CWP, the Hon. Lanisha T. Rolle, who said that even though much has been done to advance the causes of women, more work needs to be done. “The only way we can be strong is when we are united, and the only way we are united is to speak with one voice,” said the Minister. “We have come far, and together we can go even further.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, with responsibility for Information and Communications, Mrs. Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe delivered welcome remarks and expressed her appreciation as a participant in the event. She noted, “We are all here today because of those who came before us who fought the good fight, which now allows us to enjoy some of the privileges and opportunities that we now have.” Past Chairperson and Member of Parliament for Englerston, the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin also delivered remarks. After thanking the CWP for the invitation, she said women are still under-represented in the country despite representing over 50 percent of the electorate. Currently, females represent only 2 percent of the country’s cabinet. Worldwide, the average hovers around 10 percent. “We must find common ground despite serving on different sides of the political divide,” said Hanna-Martin. “We have to find ways to channel our energies and unite on fundamental issues affecting women.”
Also in attendance and bringing brief remarks was Senator, the Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis. Senator, the Hon. Dr. Jasmine Turner Dareus, offered the invocation. Moderator for the luncheon was Senator, Dr. the Hon. Mildred Hall-Watson. A video highlighting the contributions of women in the country was presented during the luncheon.