Commonwealth Secretary-General meets with Social Services Minister

Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, with Commonwealth Secretary-General, Baroness Patricia Scotland, P.C., Q.C., (centre) and Ms. Phedra Rahming, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, in the ministry’s foyer ahead of the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Courtesy Call on the Minister of Social Services. Minister Campbell advised Baroness Scotland that the flowers adorning the plant holders were planted as a Memory Garden in commemoration of September as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month globally. A number of activities have been planned by The Bahamas Alzheimer’s Association (TBAA) in recognition of the observance. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

From: Bahamas Information Services

Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, informed Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt. Hon. Baroness Patricia Scotland, P.C., Q.C., that the Government of The Bahamas has dedicated “quite a bit of its resources” to ensuring that the Sustainable Development Goals are being met.

This includes efforts in areas such as Climate Change, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Gender Equality, Peace and Justice, Good Health and Well-Being, Education and Partnerships for the Goals. The Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals, as they are sometimes called, are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals that are designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.” The SDGs were implemented in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.

Secretary-General Scotland was in New Providence to attend the Commonwealth Law Association Meeting.

Baroness Scotland paid a Courtesy Call on Minister Campbell at the Ministry’s Head Offices on John F. Kennedy Drive and Bethel Avenue (Monday, September 6) and later held discussions with Minister Campbell and a number of senior ministry officials including Ms. Phedra Rahming, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Services an Urban Development; Dr. Jacinta Higgs, former Director of the Department of Gender and Family Affairs and now with the Office of the Prime Minister, and Ms. Melvelyn Symonette, First Assistant Secretary, Department of Gender and Family Affairs. The Secretary-General was accompanied by Mr. Linford Andrews, Political Advisor, Governance and Peace Directorate, Commonwealth Secretariat.

“I know that the whole question of Women in Leadership is very important and I want to say to you that we have expended much of our resources to ensure that the requisite training has been in place; we have partnered with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) and with the Speaker of the House of Assembly to have a Women in Parliament day that is designed to prepare and train women to take their place at the political table,” Minister Campbell said.

“As we go into this General Election, the overall figures suggest that we are in the area of one-third of the candidates being female. I am pleased that there has been progress in this area,” Minister Campbell added. Minister Campbell also reported on the DGFA’s efforts as they relate to the empowerment of women and girls, and its efforts in training, and education and awareness campaigns, particularly in the areas of Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence.

“Another area we have spent a lot of resources on, because we recognize the great importance of it, is persons with disabilities who fall into many of the other categories that we speak of, Minister Campbell said. “Our focus has been on recognizing their disabilities, but focusing more on their abilities. We have hired persons with disabilities on staff, and we have plans to increase the number of persons with disabilities in the ministry’s employ.

“We have made considerable strides in the empowerment of women and girls (and) while we have expanded our efforts in this area, we realize that it is simultaneously important for the young men and boys to appreciate the need for them to partner with the women and girls and so we are working with various male groupings towards this partnership that we feel is necessary.”

Minister Campbell thanked the Commonwealth Secretary-General for “taking the time out to come and meet with us and to follow up on conversations that we have had, that continue to evolve.” Minister Campbell said the government has made “every effort” to file timely reports to all matters to which the country is a Signatory.

“We have always been of the position that we want to keep our international reporting up to date, but not merely for the sake of reporting, but as an indication of our commitment to living up to those obligations to show that we are reporting, not just for the sake of reporting, but that our people are living the experience and that we are making effort to ensure that is the reality on the ground,” Minister Campbell added.