By: Matt Maura/Bahamas Information Services
The Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development’s three-day National Gender-Based Violence (GBV)/Discriminatory Law Review Forum will be etched in Bahamian history for a number of reasons, Minister of State in the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Lisa Rahming told participants attending the event’s Closing Ceremony (held Saturday, February 19).
Primary amongst those reasons was the announcement by Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Edward “Brave” Davis, QC, that recommendations coming out of the three-day Forum will be “very important” to the formulation of new public policies and a Plan of Action. Prime Minister Davis delivered the Keynote Address at the Opening Session of the Forum, telling those gathered In-house, and watching via Zoom and Facebook, that there is a shared understanding that bringing the country’s laws up to date and in line with Bahamian values and international treaty obligations with regards to Gender-Based Violence, was crucial.
The Prime Minister applauded both the substantive Minister of Social Services and Urban Development (the Hon. Obadiah H. Wilchcombe) and State-Minister Rahming for “this opportunity to review and debate these issues.”
“It will be etched in Bahamian history that the Hon. Philip Edward Davis, QC, MP, Prime Minister of The Bahamas; the Hon. Obadiah Wilchcombe, Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, and Ms. Marion Bethel, UN Committee Member for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination, opened the first National Gender-Based Violence Discriminatory Law Review Forum on February 17, 2022,” the State-Minister told her audience.
“Excitingly, it will go down in history that this event was supported and attended by my Honorable, Senior colleague, Chair of the House of the Assembly, the Hon. Patricia Deveaux and other senior colleagues, among them, the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training.
We were also so very grateful to have the President of the Senate, Senator the Hon. J. LaShell Adderley in attendance at the Opening along with the Vice-President of the Senate, Senator, the Hon. Barry N. Griffin and other distinguished Senators and all of those persons who attended the Opening Session in respect of/to honour the lives lost to Gender-Based Violence.
“Similarly, my colleagues (House of Assembly) came in support so that they would be able to hear, first-hand, where the necessary changes in law are needed for the prevention, investigation, prosecution or reparation in keeping with the Convention.” State-Minister Rahming labelled the Forum as “an exciting time in Bahamian history.”
“We know the way forward. The Captain of the Ship, the leader of this great country, our Prime Minister, expects us to provide recommendations emerging from this historic, monumental and pivotal three-day conclave. It is our hope that these will assist in the formulation of new public policies and a Plan of Action that will seek to address Gender-Based Violence in a tangible way.
“We thank you participants from all walks of life and from Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society who dedicated their time and energy to the engaging, enriching and enlightening discussions. We commend all of those persons who participated via Zoom and Facebook. We thank all of the Presenters, Facilitators and Rapporteurs. We thank all of the Media Houses that covered the event and we thank Baha Mar for hosting this historic event.
“We ask your prayers and intercessions; we ask that you continue to dialogue in your public and private spaces, on your jobs, in your churches, under the trees in your neighbourhoods and on the parks, and I encourage all Bahamians to support and participate in the events and activities organized over the next year as we journey ‘Towards Reversing Discrimination in Law’ in The Bahamas,” Minister Rahming said.