Every few months, Ministerial representatives from all Caribbean Nations attend the CARICOM Meetings to discuss shared concerns and challenges within the region.
The wives of the Prime Ministers from the different countries which make up CARICOM want to form a network to function in a similar way. It’s called the CARICOM First Ladies/Spouses Network.
The network is in its infancy, and, right now, the First Ladies and the Wives of the different Prime Ministers who made it to Belize are currently in deliberations about how this network will function.
Kim Simplis-Barrow, Special Envoy For Women and Children and First Lady of Belize and Sandra Granger, First Lady of Guyana are among the First Ladies who are participating in the meeting and were both interviewed by 7 News Belize.
Kim Simplis-Barrow: “It’s really a network of women – spouses and first ladies – coming together to address issues affecting the region. We have been working for the past 2 years in identifying initiatives that fall under the sustainable development goals, and we looked at 4 issues affecting the Caribbean. Adolescent pregnancy is one. HIV/AIDS is another. Gender-based violence is another, and cervical cancer is one. It is so important that we join forces to try to address these issues. This really came about from the every woman every child initiative that Ban Ki Moon launched some years ago, and we just decided, well, why not focus – why not take that and focus it on the Caribbean region.”
Sandra Granger: “We first met here in Belize in 2015 at the invitation of Mrs. Barrow, and we discovered that there were many issues in which we had similar difficulties, and we recognize that by coming together, in a region with limited resources, we could pool our ideas and efforts, and come up with something that could be of greater benefit to the Caribbean, working in collaboration with our partners, the UNFPA, the CARICOM Secretariat, who kind of initiated the process. So, it has been evolving, we’ve been sharing ideas; we have been working on our specific interests, but as well, looking at how these impact, our women and our children.”
7 Spouses and First ladies made it to the launch this time around. Some stayed home because of concerns about Hurricane Irma.
The CARICOM First Ladies/Spouses Network meeting continues until Thursday.
Source/7 News Belize