Minister for Grand Bahama and Member of Parliament for the Pineridge constituency, Ginger Moxey told Parliamentarians that the violence that has marred the lives of countless individuals across the islands of the Bahamas are not merely physical acts, but pointed out that economic, emotional, and psychological trauma continues to impact the lives of victims, families and local communities.Making her contribution during debate on the Protection Against Violence Bill 2023 in the House of Assembly on Thursday, July 27, 2023, Minister Moxey noted the proposed Bill goes beyond punitive measures to address various issues, offering comprehensive support for victims and committing to preventive strategies.
“This landmark Bill marks a significant milestone for this Davis/Cooper Administration and for the people of The Bahamas. It supports the commitment we made to the Bahamian people in ‘Our Blueprint for Change’ to safeguard the most vulnerable among us,” said Mrs. Moxey.“This piece of legislation is rooted in our intent to create a safe, inclusive, and prosperous society for all inhabitants of The Bahamas. And, at the core of it, is our commitment to empower, protect and support victims of violence. This is why we have taken decisive action to ensure the safety and dignity of our citizens.
“During our 50th year of independence, it is great to see that finally a comprehensive framework has been established that empowers victims, fulfills international obligations, establishes a Commission, provides specialized services, ensures victim’s rights… and all in an effort to create a safer Bahamas.”The full scope of the proposed Bill is an act to provide for the protection of and support for the victims of violence, to establish the Protection Against Violence Commission, to enable The Bahamas to fulfill certain obligations arising under regional and international treaties and for matters connected therewith.
Presentation of the Bill pulled on the heart-string of Minister Moxey, who admitted that she too had personally experienced the vicious acts of violence against someone close to her. She related the story of how her father was stabbed to death in 1982, while shooting dice outside of a bar in Seagrape, Eight Mile Rock. She was eight years old at the time, but vividly remembers the incident.However, she noted that what was available to her during that time of pain, confusion and fear – the support of a village – unfortunately is not available for victims of violence in today’s society.“I also recall the care and attention of my mother, who had to take care of 4 kids on her own (one girl and three boys), but also the support of grandparents, aunts and uncles, and the entire village and neighbourhood that we called ‘Beirut’… also known as Martin Hill, Eight Mile Rock.“At the cornerstone of my childhood there was a community that supported one another. We played together, danced together, worked together, and even built homes together. Back then, we worked together to be our ‘Brother’s Keepers’ and to make a difference. This sense of community that my neighborhood back then presented prepared me for the kind of Pineridge I want to see today.“Currently, certain communities in Pineridge are considered ‘Hot Spots’ for violence, in police-terms. However, what some people see as a challenge; I see as an opportunity to transform lives.
”The Grand Bahama Minister pointed out that central to the Bill is also the establishment of the Protection Against Violence Commission. This, she said, is not merely another government institution, but a beacon of hope for victims and a clarion call to action for the Bahamian society.Minister Moxey said that the Commission will serve as the hub of national efforts, orchestrating the delivery of care and support services to victims and leading the charge to uphold regional and international treaty obligations. She added that the provision for care and support services outlined in the Bill must be balanced.“Our role as a government extends beyond enacting laws,” she said, “our duty is to ensure that our citizens have access to the resources they need to heal and rebuild their lives. Whether it be provision for shelters, anger management training, conflict resolution, or therapy, our mission is to offer a holistic solution to the issue of violence.”Minister Moxey said with the creation of the Collab: Partnerships for Development Unit, Grand Bahama has been given a head start in assisting those whose lives may have gotten off track. In tandem with the Protection Against Violence Bill 2023, she added that the Collab Resource Center at Restoration Village also offers counselling, mentorship programs, the expungement of records sessions and other holistic programming for those in search of rebuilding their lives.The Ministry for Grand Bahama has also partnered with the Grand Bahama Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, who will be constructing a Safe House for victims of domestic violence.
The Ministry have also partnered with Links International Nassau Chapter to develop a shelter that will also allow programming that supports the objectives of the proposed Bill.During her address, Minister Moxey reminded Parliamentarians of the horror which faced Grand Bahama when five boys went missing and were never heard from again. This year marks 20 years since that nightmare enveloped the nation’s Second City.Minister Moxey recalled that she personally organized a Candlelight vigil on the basketball court in Garden Villas (commonly referred to as “the ghetto”) for the five missing boys.“On that same basketball court, through Beautiful Grand Bahama, we intend to erect a beautiful Memorial to cherish the memories of the ‘5 Missing Boys’ in recognition of the 20th Anniversary of their disappearance,” said Minister Moxey.“Also, very soon we will be making a major announcement of a special partnership with international organizations for sustainable development. The program aligns with global best practices as set out by international conventions, like the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.“The overarching goal of this initiative is to solve critical urban challenges around sustainability, inclusivity, and resilience with the goal of transforming communities, and transforming lives. I would like to take this opportunity to say ‘Thank You’ to the countless Bahamians, non-profit organizations and communities that have toiled the proverbial soil in efforts to fill a vacuum that long existed in our country for the victims of violence and the families of victims of violence. You have done well and we applaud you for your efforts.”