Charlestown-Nevis—The Ministry of Social Development Social Services Department, Gender Affairs Division and Sustainable Development Department, hosted a men’s forum at the conference room of the Mount Nevis hotel on Wednesday 25th January.
The all-day forum was held in two phases.
From 9 am to 12.00 noon, three dynamic presentations were made by specially invited speakers, on carefully selected topics of concern to the men and during the afternoon session, which stretched on to past 3 pm, the men present, along with a few ladies who had shown up for the session, were placed into groups, where they discussed certain prevalent issues and gave group reports.
The proceedings commenced with prayer by Pastor Wayne Maynard, Gender Counsellor.
He set the tone for the day’s proceedings by also giving welcoming remarks and used the opportunity to highlight some of the differences between males and females and their varying perspectives on life. This produced some hilarity and served as an icebreaker for the forum.
He also took time out to thank, Minister, Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams for her vision and foresight.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development, Mr. Keith Glasgow, spoke on behalf of the Hon Hazel Brandy-Williams, who was at another engagement and spoke to the importance of achieving the sustainable development goals (SDG’S), set by the United Nations.
He pointed out that emphasis must be placed on labour and health issues. He urged the men present to take responsibility for their health.
Director of Sustainable Development, Mr. Anselm Caines then gave a comprehensive overview of the workings of the department of Sustainable Development and noted that it is the intention of the Nevis Island Administration to do its part in ensuring that certain set targets by the United Nations, are achieved before the due year of 2030. He pointed out that the goals have to be met from a federation perspective, but that Nevis will ensure that its part is completed in a timely manner.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Mrs. Nicole Slack, was the first official presenter, as she dealt with the topic: ‘The impact of gender on health outcomes: Changing culturally conditioned behaviour patterns to improve men’s health and wellbeing.’
She noted that some of the issues to be dealt with included the fact that men sometimes eat high fat and high cholesterol diets and to their detriment are involved in a sedentary lifestyle.
She also revealed some frightening statistics:
There were 20 new cases of cancer in 2016 and 12 deaths.
There are 629 recorded mental health cases on the island with 35 added in 2016:
23 males and 12 females.
She noted that the goal is to provide strategies to improve the health of men on the island.
Mr. Gary Liburd, Chief Labour Officer, as the second presenter, dealt with the topic: ‘Protecting Labour rights and promoting a safe and secure working environment for all workers. Where are we now and where do we need to go?’
He was quick to point out that St.Kitts and Nevis has been a member of the International Labour Organization (ILO) since 1996.
He stressed on a number of issues which included occupational safety; equality for both sexes and also discussed several related acts and regulations.
The final presenter for the day, was Miss Rhonda Nisbett- Browne, Senior Legal Counsel at the Legal department. She dealt with the topic: ‘Improving the rule of law and increasing access to justice- a prerequisite for sustainable development.’
She defined ‘rule of law’ as a principle of governance where all persons are accountable to laws which are in keeping with international human rights.
She also expounded on several hot legal topics as it pertains to men:
Family law-Maintenance of children; divorce, property division and paternity fraud.
All of the presentations generated much discussion from those present and many suggestions were made towards improvements for the cause of Men.