GAYNELL Curry has tendered her resignation as the director of the Department of Gender and Family Affairs in the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development.
Ms Curry advised colleagues her resignation would take effect from March 8, 2018, in an email on Friday.
“It has been a pleasure working with you during my tenure,” the email read.
“I am sure that there will be opportunities for us to continue to work together, even beyond my remaining time in post, toward gender equality, women’s empowerment, and a culture of rights, dignity and respect for all in The Bahamas.”
Ms Curry formerly served as a gender and women’s rights advisor, and acting chief of global issues for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Her resignation was described as a major loss for both the department and its mission by former Social Services Minister Melanie Griffin, who oversaw the establishment of the department in November last year.
Formerly the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, Mrs Griffin lamented the move as a setback given Ms Curry’s qualifications and expressed concerns over the status of the overall ministry.
“It’s most unfortunate that the ministry itself is facing some really serious problems,” Mrs Griffin said.
“Ms Curry is a young Bahamian with international experience. We wanted to move the bureau forward, we wanted to improve the extent of the work of the bureau.
Ms Griffin continued: “That’s why it was developed and transitioned into a department, where it doesn’t just deal with women issues but it also dealt with the family. Gender and Family Affairs so you have women and girls, men and boys because gender-based violence impacts the entire family. This is really a step backward. We speak to consultants and see fit to pay hundreds of thousands to foreign consultants and when our own people come back home we can’t keep them. I think it’s highly unfortunate and really a backward step for the ministry.
“She’s a major asset to the ministry,” Mrs Griffin added, “we are dealing with violence and crime, and we had the report of the commission that actually researched the whole issue of gender-based violence. It was presented to Cabinet and Parliament, and Ms Curry and her team had already begun the work to deal with the issue and now for her to be leaving. I lament, it’s something to be lamented.”
Ms Curry’s resignation also follows scheduled departures from the Secretariat of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, a statutory body.
Secretariat Executive Secretary Lester Ferguson, and Deputy Executive Secretary C Anna Cote have tendered their resignations and are expected to leave office in 2018.