On International Women’s Day 2022, we have to ask ourselves if women have equality in SVG in any, or all, areas of life. When it comes to gender equality, this government has failed badly.
Since the ULP regime came to office in 2001, the plight of women in SVG has worsened significantly. Violence against women and the lack of economic empowerment of women are two major failings of the ULP regime.
According to The Star, a Canadian newspaper, 179 Vincentians sought asylum in Canada in 2001 and that number had risen to 710 Vincentians in 2010. The majority of Vincentians flocking to Canada are women and it appears most are fleeing domestic violence. Has the situation on domestic violence improved? No.
In 2007, SVG had the third highest rate of recorded rapes per capita in the world, according to a UN report. In 2011, The Star asked of SVG: ‘Is this Caribbean idyll the worst place in the world to be a woman?’
In the decade previous to 2011, more women had been murdered per capita in SVG than any other country in the nine-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. UN statistics showed that in 2011, SVG was the fourth worst country worldwide when it came to its rate of recorded rapes. Domestic abuse and incest are common. The statistics show a shocking situation for women in SVG.
We still read about many cases of domestic abuse, rape and incest in the newspaper. The ULP regime has failed to address these serious problems in our country.
There is plenty of persecution in SVG, and unless things change, Vincentian women will continue to see fleeing abroad as a refugee as their only option. Gonsalves has embarrassed our nation and Vincentians in Canada with his economic incompetence. Poverty and persecution are forcing Vincentian women abroad.
A number of women have said to the Leader of SVG Green Party, Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal, BSc (Hons), MSc, MBA, that poor leadership at the top in SVG is the catalyst for crime and social decay. A grandmother said poor leadership has made living in SVG go from bad to worse.
One woman summarised the situation as greed at the top, unclear policies, no vision and a lack of respect by those at the top for our people. She emphasised that the piecemeal and ad-hoc approach to development in SVG means that the ordinary citizen has no idea what’s coming next. There’s no long term development plan and in her opinion, SVG is in a shambles because of poor leadership.
The ULP regime has failed to end violence against women in SVG and failed to economically empower women in SVG. The weakening of the SVG economy under the incompetent ULP regime is a significant factor in these two failures. The greater the level of poverty and deprivation in our country, the greater has been the level of criminality and violence against women.
We have to change direction in our mindset and respect women. We must also abolish economic apartheid. SVG should go Green for prosperity and a better quality of life for all. Green philosophy promotes equality for men, woman and children. The time has come for a Green revolution to fix the economic and social problems created by the incompetent ULP government.
We must aim for serious improvements in gender equality for International Women’s Day 2023.