Wilchcombe: Forum allows country to take centre-stage on critical and important issues that affect mankind

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Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Obadiah H. Wilchcombe (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

From: Matt Maura/Bahamas Information Services

Gender equality is a broad discussion that must be had, and with the determination to make a difference now, Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Obadiah H. Wilchcombe said Thursday.

Minister Wilchcombe was addressing the Opening Session of the ministry’s three-day National Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Law Review Forum that has been scheduled for February 17-19 at the Grand Hyatt Convention Centre, Baha Mar resort. (Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Edward “Brave” Davis, delivered the Keynote Address at this morning’s Opening Session. The In-house and Virtual audiences also heard from Bahamian, Ms. Marion Bethel, United Nations Committee Member, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination, during the Opening Session.)

Also in attendance were Speaker of the House of Assembly, the Hon. Patricia Deveaux, Senate President, Senator the Hon. LaShell Adderley, and their Parliamentary colleagues from both the Senate and the House of Assembly. Minister Wilchcombe, who was accompanied by State-Minister Lisa Rahming, said the dialogue that will take place over the next three days will allow country to take centre stage on critical and important issues that affect mankind.

“And so I am privileged. I am privileged to welcome you; I am privileged to be a part of this change and this era when the change will take place. I want to thank, formally, my Minister of State and colleague, Lisa Rahming. Lisa has been at the forefront, always moving, never stopping, but always with a purpose and a determination and that is to make a difference,” Mr. Wilchcombe said.

“That is why we are here; that is why I am happy that you have gathered for the next two and one-half days. Let us make this count. Let us make the difference in moving our country forward.”

Mr. Wilchcombe told his audiences that the Forum was birthed out of Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Edward “Brave” Davis’s ‘Blueprint for Change’ for The Bahamas.

“It is your Blueprint, your Blueprint for Change, that has mapped, and causes for the dialogue today,” Minister Wilchcombe said. “It is your Blueprint that has made it very clear that no voice will be left out, that no one will be left behind, and that all voices will be heard — no one to be ignored. That is how we make a difference. “(And) So, we have assembled, collectively, to have this dialogue, to have this discussion, and to make it meaningful and to cause for our country to take centre- stage again in leadership; in leadership on critical and important issues that affect mankind.”

Mr. Wilchcombe said while the country has made progress: “’We still have, as (Reverend) Simeon Hall once said: ‘Much more land to be possessed.’”

“We must not forget, when we talk about gender equality, the little ones. The little Sues and the little Marys who reside in our communities such as Englerston, Bain Town, Bimini and West End. We must not forget that they, too, are in search of opportunity, are in search of better education, and that they want opportunities for better lifestyles,” Minister Wilchcombe added.