Mr Speaker, yesterday Jamaica joined several countries around the world in celebrating International Men’s Day.

The first International Men’s Day was observed in 1992. Each year more countries and people join the celebration as the world is growing to understand that although it might be a man’s world, there are many issues facing men that this celebration helps us to highlight and address.

Sometimes men’s issues do not get the requisite focus on the gender agenda, but we are working to change that. And the celebration of International Men’s Day is an opportunity to place men’s issue on the gender agenda while we reflect on the state of the Jamaican man — his health and wellbeing, his challenges and successes.

Mr Speaker, we can be proud of the positive value that our men bring to their families, communities and to our country each day. Mr Speaker, I’m sure the whole House will join me in commending our men, young and old, who continue to give of themselves in the building of our nation — they are the role models who we are happy to celebrate on International Men’s Day and every day.

But there are many others who are failing and need our intervention, Mr Speaker.

We lose too many of our men to gangs and violence; to homicides; to incarceration; to suicides; to homelessness and to preventable diseases such as prostate cancer.

The Men’s Desk which we established a few years ago in the former Bureau of Women’s Affairs has been expanded to the Men’s Department at the repurposed Bureau of Gender Affairs to give men support.

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