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Open Letter to Trinidad Senator!

May 29, 2012

On 16th May 2012, Senator Verna St. Rose Greaves of the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development in Trinidad & Tobago, made a groundbreaking statement at a stakeholders meeting held to discuss the proposed National Gender Policy.

“Our approach is a rights-based approach. Whilst we may not agree on issues, let us be uppermost in our focus on the rights of citizens of this country…We must respect people’s rights as citizens and all that comes with it.” Read more about it here.

Groundation Grenada Action Collective along with the other members of the newly formed CatchAFyah Caribbean Feminist Network wrote this open letter in response to Senator St. Rose Greaves. Read it below and please share your own thoughts?

Love is My Religion by Grenadian artist, Maureen St.Clair


Dear Senator St. Rose Greaves,

We are the CatchAFyah Caribbean Feminist Network and we are a collective of young, passionate Caribbean activists and organisations. We span the Caribbean, representing such nations as Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We are farmers, social workers, artists, social entrepreneurs, counsellors, researchers, teachers and students. We work for social and economic justice and empowerment, particularly gender equity and women’s rights. We stand against discrimination of any kind, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. 

We are therefore pleased at your public show of support for the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and the rights of the LGBTQ community. We recognise the tremendous courage it takes to speak publicly on issues that are controversial and that people would rather ignore. In speaking openly, you have demonstrated true leadership and a commitment to the rights of marginalised groups that far outweigh any potential opposition.

In addition, we join you in condemning the lack of adequate response to all forms of child abuse and in particular the sexual abuse of Caribbean girls and boys. We lend our collective voices to breaking the silence on this issue and we pledge to work in our communities, nationally and regionally to ensure that Caribbean children’s right to life free of abuse is made reality. This is on-going work to which we commit ourselves, in partnership with progressive political leadership in the region.

As you move forward in your social justice work, know that you are not alone. We stand in solidarity with you and we laud your courage and conviction. Always remain cognizant that your words and actions tangibly impact the lives of many Caribbean citizens. Although naysayers and detractors sometimes appear the loudest and most visible, remember that we are listening and we support you. We look forward to your continued action and leadership on these very important issues.

Yours gratefully,
CatchAFyah Caribbean Feminist Network

Tonya Haynes (Barbados)
CODE RED for gender justice!

Sherlina Nageer (Guyana)
Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination
Red Thread

Patrice Daniel (Barbados)

Rashida Beckles (Barbados)

KizzyAnn Abraham (Grenada)
Grenada National Organization of Women

Kenita Placide (St. Lucia)
United and Strong Inc.

Zahra Jacobs (St. Kitts & Nevis, Trinidad & Tobago)

Asha Challenger (Antigua & Barbuda)

Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe (Grenada)
Groundation Grenada Action Collective

Tracey-Ann Lewis (Jamaica)
Women for Women

Amina Doherty (Antigua & Barbuda)
FRIDA Young Feminist Fund

Georgia Love (Jamaica)

Satira Maharaj (Trinidad & Tobago)

Fatimah Jackson (Barbados & Canada)

Zahra Airall (Antigua & Barbuda)
Women of Antigua

Valerie Chadic (Haiti)

Sanyu Phillips (St. Vincent and the Grenadines)

Tara Wilkinson (Barbados)
CODE RED for Gender Justice!

Ifasina Efunyemi (Belize)
POWA: Productive Organization for Women in Action

Women’s Health Advocacy Network (Barbados)

Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network

Flavia Cherry (St. Lucia)

One Comment leave one →
  1. maggotbrainu permalink
    May 30, 2012 4:07 pm

    Incredibly well written, I applaud you.

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