Government Remains Committed to Curtailing Gender-Based Violence – Grange

Photo: Dave Reid Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, addresses Friday’s (February 24) 133rd birthday anniversary commemorative ceremony at National Heroes Park in Kingston for National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante.

Story Highlights

  • The Government remains committed to curtailing gender-based violence and child abuse, says Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange.
  • Speaking at a ceremony to commemorate the 133rd anniversary of the birth of National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante, at National Heroes Park in Kingston on February 24, the Minister noted the high regard which the National Hero had for women and children.
  • “Long before it was fashionable for male political leaders to speak about women’s empowerment, Bustamante was championing that cause. He made it clear that for him, there could be no good reason why, in the civil service, Government should not allow women to rise as far as their abilities, education and intelligence could carry them,” the Minister said.

The Government remains committed to curtailing gender-based violence and child abuse, says Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange.

Speaking at a ceremony to commemorate the 133rd anniversary of the birth of National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante, at National Heroes Park in Kingston on February 24, the Minister noted the high regard which the National Hero had for women and children.

Ms. Grange said the frequency of disturbing reports arising about gender-based violence and child abuse “would outrage Sir Alexander.”

“I want to again assure the nation that the Government is committed to doing all within our power to put an end to the violence. A raft of legislative and policy initiatives, including the National Strategic Action Plan to Eliminate Gender-based Violence, is coming to deal with the problem in a comprehensive way,” the Minister stated.

The ceremony was attended by a wide cross-section of dignitaries, officials and guests, headed by Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, and Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness.

Meanwhile, Ms. Grange hailed Sir Alexander’s stance on the importance of uplifting Jamaica’s women.

She noted that the National Hero, who was post-independent Jamaica’s first Prime Minister, was “passionate and clear” about the role he believed women should play, particularly in governance.

“Long before it was fashionable for male political leaders to speak about women’s empowerment, Bustamante was championing that cause. He made it clear that for him, there could be no good reason why, in the civil service, Government should not allow women to rise as far as their abilities, education and intelligence could carry them,” the Minister said.

She pointed out that not only was he firm in his convictions, “he lived them” by facilitating women’s advancement in national affairs.

Notably, Ms. Grange said, was his endorsement of Jamaica’s first elected female Member of Parliament, Iris Collins, and the appointment of Rose Leon as the first woman to serve as a Government Minister.

She further recounted that Mrs. Leon also held the distinction of being the first female to chair a Jamaican political party, having served in that capacity in the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

Another notable appointment, Ms. Grange said, was that of the country’s first female Custos Rotulorum, Muriel Carneige, who was elevated to that position in 1965.

Ms. Grange said by virtue of his actions, Sir Alexander was a “great example of how to treat women.”

The Minister also highlighted the National Hero’s impact on the working class, many of whom he represented as President of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) during the labour upheavals of the 1930s.

Friday’s ceremony also featured the laying of floral tributes at Sir Alexander’s shrine.

Among those laying wreaths were:  the Governor-General; Prime Minister Holness; the National Hero’s god-daughter, Major Evelyn Sangster-Barnes; National Security Minister and JLP Chairman, Hon. Robert Montague; Kingston Mayor, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams; BITU President, Senator Kavan Gayle; Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Jamaica, His Excellency Dr. Tomas Ares German; and Opposition Member of Parliament, Anthony Hylton, who represented Opposition Leader, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller.

The ceremony also featured performances by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Choir; students of St. Theresa Preparatory School; and Ascot Primary School student, Shemar Allen, with musical accompaniment by the Jamaica Military Band.

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