#Nassau, August 10, 2019 – Bahamas – Female law enforcement officials from all ranks and across the government sector, were hosted to a one-day ‘Women, Peace and Security’ Workshop by staff of the Department of Gender and Family Affairs (DGFA), Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development.
The session was also attended by Ms. Maria Kelley, Executive Secretary, Secretariat, the National Commission for Persons with Disability. The Commission serves as an advocate for the community of persons with disabilities.
The workshop, which took place on Wednesday (August 7), allowed Department of Gender and Family Affairs to apprise the law enforcement officials of a number of key regional and international conventions to which The Bahamas is a States Party (Signatory), and how those conventions relate to their jobs and the protection of human rights.
They include the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Platform for Action and its 12 critical areas of concern, and the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women (Belem do Para).
Wednesday’s workshop, was a forerunner to a series of educational and awareness initiatives on the Department’s agenda, and further allowed the law enforcement officials “to be guided and made aware of” the importance of documentation/data collection with regards to the functionality of their respective offices and in the decision-making process.
It further afforded the DGFA to apprise the officials of the Department’s expanded, and expanding role, particularly as it relates to reporting at the regional and international levels on the mechanisms, laws, protocols and strategies the country has in place that address the Conventions, Treaties and Agreements.
The workshop targeted officials from the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Bahamas Customs Department, the Department of Immigration, Road Traffic Department and the Department of Correctional Services.
“The Bahamas Government signed onto about ten international and regional Conventions, Treaties and Agreements that have been ratified which means that our country has a legal obligation for the Government, all governments, to fulfill the various articles of these Conventions,” Director of the Department of Gender and Family Affairs, Dr. Jacinta Higgs said, noting that personnel in each Ministry of government must be made aware of what is expected of them with regards to implementing human rights and protection for every citizen of every country.
She said, “On Wednesday, we began with the female law enforcement officials so that we could begin to share with them what is expected of them regarding these international Treaties, Agreements and Conventions and how they relate to their jobs.”
The sessions were conducted by DGFA staff in the areas of the Role of Education regarding the Rights of Women and Children, the CEDAW Convention, Belem do Para and MESECVI, the Role of Law Enforcement in Rehabilitation and Protecting the Rights of Women Prisoners and Detainees, Gender-based Violence, and Sexual Harassment.
Presenters included Ms. Vechenda Roberts, Education Officer, Department of Gender and Family Affairs; Miss Allicia Role, Gender Programme Officer, Department of Gender and Family Affairs, whose work is in international conventions; Mrs. Elaine Sands, Gender-based Violence Expert, Department of Gender and Family Affairs, who presented on the Convention of Belem, MESECVI, and Human Rights; Mr. Henry Johnson, Gender-based Violence Expert and Male Programme Coordinator, Department of Gender and Family Affairs who presented on the Role of Law Enforcement in Rehabilitation and Protecting the Rights of Women Prisoners and Detainees; and Ms. Simone Bridgewater, Gender-based Violence Coordinator, Department of Gender and Family Affairs.
By Matt Maura
Header: Officials from the Department of Gender and Family Affairs Wednesday (August 7, 2019) hosted female law enforcement officials to a one-day workshop on the topic: ‘Women, Peace and Security’ held at the Community Affairs Division, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development.
Insert: Retired Superintendent of Police, Mrs. Elaine Sands (centre) pictured with Superintendent of Police, Royal Bahamas Police Force, Crislyn Skippings (left) and Assistant Superintendent of Police, Royal Bahamas Police Force, Dr. Indirah Adderley, Ph.D., prior to the start of the one-day workshop on ‘Women, Peace and Security’ hosted by the Department of Gender and Family Affairs. The training was conducted by DGFA staff. Mrs. Sands is one of two staff members who have earned the designation of CARICOM Gender-Based Violence Expert.