On Friday, September 15, 2017, the Party Leader, Sen. Hon. V. Nazim Burke and other party Officials joined Senior Government functionaries to march against sexual abuse, an event organised and promoted by the Ministry of Social Development.
According to the Leader, it was important for himself and members of his party to demonstrate to Grenadians their willingness to stand up and fight against the abuse of girls and women in our society.
Sen. Burke pointed to the NDC’s longstanding leadership on this issue from when it formed Government, declaring that being in opposition does not make the party any less involved or committed to the eradication of this scourge.
“The National Democratic Congress commends the Government on the formulation of a response to what is becoming a scourge in our society. We fully acknowledge that the state cannot shirk its obligations in this regard, and must therefore play a pivotal role in ensuring the protection, safety and security of our women and girls and other vulnerable groups,” the Leader said.
NDC leader added further that “the Party notes the reports of the incidents of sexual abuse of children and joins with the rest of the nation in our concern and condemnation”.
“Indeed, a threat of this nature requires a bi-partisan, national response and the NDC stands willing and ready to assist in this regard.”
Even as the NDC acknowledges the formation of a national committee as a first step to tackling the issue, we note that its composition falls short of all the skills that are necessary to completely accomplish the declared goals.
We believe that both the composition and scope of such a committee ought to be broadened, to allow for a more multi-sectoral approach when addressing such a sensitive and deeply emotional issue.
President of the Women’s Arm, Jenny Simon believes that there ought to be a shift in the perspective of those dealing with these issues away from the dispersing of resources in a “hand-out fashion” to one that focuses on the empowerment of our women and girls.
She said that there has always been a correlation between the lack of opportunities and sexual abuse.
“In this current socio-economic environment, Grenadian households find themselves having to combat joblessness, dysfunctional families, poorly developed social skills, lack of institutional support and a profound sense of powerlessness”, she said.
“For too long, the social needs of our people have been neglected and it is time to move beyond mortar and concrete and address the real lives of our people,” she added.
For its part, the NDC will pursue a path which seeks to ignite the social development sector, and which focuses on putting the family and the community at the core of the development thrust, as outlined in the Party’s policy document, launched several months ago.
This, we believe will demonstrate the significance of people’s development in nation building and the importance of the family and community in the transformation of our society.
The social development agenda will ensure the protection of persons who have traditionally been at risk for harm and abuse, ensuring establishment of a social development commission shifting the focus from a welfare perspective to a strong development orientation.
The NDC calls on all Grenadians to condemn abuse in all its forms, to report instances of abuse immediately to the relevant authorities; and to not remain silent in the face of physical or emotional violation.
Stamping out abuse is national business and all Grenadians must stand ready to commit to the fight.