October 7, 2020
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SATURDAY, November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW), marked the beginning of the Global 16 Days Campaign, also known as 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
THE Global 16 Days Campaign, also know as 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, begins on Saturday. This annual campaign runs from November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (IDEVAW)) to December 10 (Human Rights Day). This is an important time of year for women’s rights organizations and other non-governmental organizations and movements working to end gender-based violence against women.
THERE is always a crisis somewhere, and when there is a crisis anywhere, there is a crisis everywhere. This is the nature of the world, given the way that the global economy, geopolitic, and interpersonal relationships work on their own and are connected with each other.
What would you do if you lost your home? If your first plan of action would be to stay in a hotel or stay with family members or friends, what would you do if that was not an option due to lack of funds? What if there is an absence of relationships or of relationships with people who have the means to help in-country?
SUNDAY, October 29, was the first International Day of Care, declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
LAST week, I attended a conference that was primarily organised for people in a particular category. Those people hold power because they control resources that others need to do their work or meet their goals and are often put in competition with one another to gain access.
ACTIVIST Alicia Wallace has renewed calls for the government to decriminalise abortion, urging the Davis administration to stop playing “cowardly” games.
ABORTION is in the news again. This time, a doctor, along with two women, have been charged for providing an abortion. The patient is reportedly a 15-year-old. Two months ago, there was a similar report on a mother who was charged for providing a medical abortion (using pills) for her 11-year-old child. It was also reported that she was impregnated, which means that she was raped, by her mother’s boyfriend.
ALICIA WALLACE: 30 years since The Bahamas signed Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women
FRIDAY, October 6, marked the 30th anniversary of The Bahamas ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). It was marked by a proclamation, printed in both national newspapers, of October 6, 2023, as Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women Day. The Prime Minister called on organisations, businesses, and families to recognise the importance of women’s rights and the elimination of discrimination against women with relevant activities and programmes.
THE misleader who speaks for the anti-rights group —which claims to be a Christian organisation — is at it again. This time, he and those of his ilk feel threatened by an event that has nothing to do with them. They consistently demonstrate that they believe they are the main characters in a story and the plot must centre on them. When anything happens that does not advance what they believe the plot to be, it is a problem for them. They then decide to make their problem a problem for everyone else. It would not matter much if they did not bring their problems to the rest of the country with vitriol and violence.
THE national gender policy has been on the shelf for years. It was first drafted more than a decade ago, and last updated in 2018.
GIVEN the gutting of the media, one would think that the current government administration would be competent in the area of communications.
THERE is nothing quite like being qualified and experienced in one’s field of work and somehow ending up under the management of a person who is not trained or even minded for the role.
I recently participated in an interactive session organised by a nongovernmental organisation for community members.
IT was just about two weeks ago that the general public was told that a serial sex offender who has not been rehabilitated would be released from prison.
LAST week, we were notified that a serial sexual offender would be released from prison. We are also told that he was not and is not rehabilitated and that it has been clear that he will continue to sexually violate women. The Minister of National Security said the sexual offender is “unable or unwilling to control his urges to commit sexual offences”.
AS parents and guardians prepare to send children back to school, the usual conversations for this time of year are coming up. People are asking where they can find the best prices on school supplies. Some are asking about tax-free days and when they will be announced if they are happening at all this year. Hair appointments are being made, shoes are being purchased, eye exams are taking place (for those who made their appointments early enough), and traffic is already increasing as at least one school has already opened.
THE Government of The Bahamas has made the decision to be lazy and to, once again, scapegoat the Bahamian public in its attempt to provide an excuse for its refusal to perform one of its primary functions — to protect, promote, uphold, and expand human rights.
OVER the past few years, I have been working with the Equality Bahamas team to not only advocate for the Gender-Based Violence Bill (2016) to be updated and passed, but to make recommendations on the draft to strengthen it and bring it to compliance with international human rights standards.
COMPREHENSIVE sexuality education in all schools is an absolute necessity.
SINCE the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual and hybrid conferences have become such a norm that attending in person is especially exciting. When people are able to be in the same room(s), in a bubble of sorts, there is a different energy. The possibilities are different because it does not all disappear with the press of a button.
ALICIA WALLACE: Lack of recognition of other religions at Bahamas 50th independence celebrations is discriminatory
IT has officially been 50 years since The Bahamas claimed its independence from Britain and became a part of the British Commonwealth which now has 56 member countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas (which includes Caribbean countries), Europe, and the Pacific.
IT has been 50 years since The Bahamas became an independent nation, and we continue to struggle with the concept and the practice of unity.
“WHAT makes you go,I’m with the boomers on this one?” That was the question posed by a Twitter user on Saturday, getting more than 1,000 replies and more than 13,000 quote tweets. Almost 48 million people viewed the tweet up to close of business on Tuesday.
As we progress in our careers, move from one industry to another, and seek both promotions and raises, continued education becomes a priority for many of us.
YESTERDAY, I attended the Global Summit on Gender Equality in Nationality Laws, held at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland, and streamed for the hundreds of online registrants.
ANOTHER year, another month of June, another observation of Pride Month. For the third consecutive year, the US Embassy has decided to fly the Pride flag at the Queen Street chancery at at Liberty Overlook, the residence of the US Ambassador.
CUSTOMER service in The Bahamas is, more often than not, severely lacking in professionalism and care. Jobs in this area are often considered entry-level and pay minimum wage or close to it.
“People does lie.” Those are the words of a religious leader in The Bahamas. While he used the word “people,” the rest of his drivel indicated that he was really talking about women. In particular, he was talking about women who are raped by their husbands, suggesting that they are liars who want to get out of a marriage.
A TOP human rights expert said she is hard-pressed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bahamian independence given the constitutional inequalities between men and women and the government’s failure to adequately protect women from violence.
WHILE it is not news to me that there is a fundamental lack of understanding of human rights, particularly the human rights of people in situations of vulnerability, it continues to be both frustrating and offensive when it is made obvious by people in positions of power and people who claim to be supporters of human rights.
HUMAN rights are being discussed with more frequency in The Bahamas in recent years, due in no small part to the human rights violations taking place and the responses of non-governmental organisations and the general public.
Today, The Bahamas is under review at the 43 Session of Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations in Geneva. The UPR, now in its fourth cycle, was established by the Human Rights Council and is designed as a peer review. States report on what they have done since the previous review to improve human rights conditions and fulfill their obligations to the people.
APRIL is Sexual Assault Awareness Month — a time to focus specifically on the pervasiveness of sexual violence and its impact on survivors and their communities, educate the public, and advocate for the introduction and/or expansion of prevention, intervention, and support programmes and services.
ALICIA WALLACE: Decisive action on rape allegation would show govt’s commitment to ending gender-based violence
A MEMBER of Parliament has been accused of gender-based violence by a woman who was in a relationship with him. The violence included physical assault, rape, and death threats against the woman and her family. The survivor’s story is as clear as it is disturbing. It is about the escalation of violence, manipulation and threats, abuse of power, and the apparent impossibility of accessing justice. It is a lived reality that is more common than most people know.
LAST week, I participated in the pre-session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations which focuses on human rights.
IT is nowhere near surprising to read news stories about increased reports of sexual violence. It has become a near-daily challenge to get through articles about court cases involving men who have raped or otherwise sexually assaulted children where their crimes are referred to as sex or, in some other way, named as though they are not criminal, abuses of power, and void of consent.
ACTIVIST Alicia Wallace said on Friday that protecting women from gender-based violence is not the same as ending it. She said more early educational intervention efforts are needed for the violence to be stopped.
GENDER-based violence is a public health crisis, yet no government administration in The Bahamas has come to this realisation, declared it, and moved to take action to end it.
ON Friday, March 18, the 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) came to a close. The theme for this year’s meeting was “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls” and the theme under review was “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls” which was the theme of the 62nd session.
MONDAY was Commonwealth Day, observed by countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, the Pacific, and Europe, and it was the start of a week-long schedule of events. The theme for Commonwealth Day 2023 was “Forging a sustainable and peaceful common future”.
IT’S International Women’s Day and the global theme for the day is “Embrace Equity”. The International Women’s Day website says this theme was selected to get people to talk about why equality opportunities is not enough.
ON SATURDAY, March 4, Equality Bahamas’ International Women’s Day March and Expo returns to its in-person format after two years of virtual design. As the name suggests, this event commemorates International Women’s Day which is on March 8 every year, and it is designed to bring women and girls together to learn, play, share, and explore together.
INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day is two weeks away, and the celebration of The Bahamas’ 50th year of independence is 20 weeks away. Whenever there is talk about independence, I think about women’s rights.
VALENTINE’S Day can be one of the most illuminating special occasions that is not a holiday. There are people who like this kind of day, people who despise them, and people who are completely indifferent. Most people seem to like it when they are able to reap its rewards. Similarly, for those who are not recipients of gifts and gestures grands and small, it can be a day of disappointment, and even lead to feelings of low self-worth.
IN many areas of work and study, there are conferences, workshops, trainings, and summits of all sizes that bring people together to hear from experts, share ideas, and make decisions about the way forward.
THERE was a time that I was afraid of anger. It appeared to be more than an emotion, bordering on a disease that temporarily transformed some people into monsters and inhabited others indefinitely, making their presence dark and unwelcoming.
LAST week, in response to questions about shantytowns in Abaco, Member of Parliament for Central and South Abaco John Pinder said: “We’re gonna lose our father’s place. Our ancestors settled there[…]”
ACTIVIST Alicia Wallace is calling for paid maternity leave to extend beyond the current 13-week period for mothers following the recent deaths of two infants in the past week.
ON January 13, a large bronze sculpture dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King was unveiled in Boston. Twenty feet long and 26 feet wide, titled “The Embrace”, it is meant to depict the Kings hugging, inspired by a photograph of the two after Dr King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
‘GOVT STALLING ON MARITAL RAPE LAW’: Activists say women’s rights are not being treated as a priority
WOMEN’S rights activists have accused the government of “dragging its feet” on marital rape legislation, suggesting the Davis administration is stalling with ongoing consultations.
OVER the past few days, in addition to the usual crime reports, there have been stories about the need to address what the prime minister called a “serious a chronic problem”.
WE are a few days into 2023. The holidays came and went as quickly as they always do. There was shopping, cleaning, cooking, and gathering. In the midst of all of the activities, many of us made time to reflect on 2022, imagine what could be in 2023, and make resolutions, set goals, or set intentions for the year ahead.
IN July 2020, Megan Thee Stallion (legal name Megan Pete) was shot in her foot in Los Angeles. She posted on Instagram: “On Sunday morning, I suffered gunshot wounds, as a result of a crime that was committed against me and done with the intention to physically harm me.”
IN celebration of a special occasion, I was one of four people having dinner at a fairly popular restaurant, known for its focus on meat, at a major resort in New Providence. The restaurant was selected to give the guest of honour as many options as possible, allowing her to be as indulgent as she wished. Since I choose not to eat meat, I looked at the menu online and identified the items that I could order and hoped to enjoy.
THE holiday season is one that many look forward to all year. There are beautiful lights, lots of events, and the anticipation of giving and receiving gifts. There always seems to be a rush to check off all the items on our lists in the three weeks before Christmas.
LAST week Friday was the first day of the Global 16 Days Campaign which was started by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. The campaign, which begins on November 25 — International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW) — every year and end on December 10 — Human Rights Day — was started to focus on ending violence against women.
WE ARE rapidly coming to the end of another year that our government has not made the necessary changes to legislation toward gender equality or for the advancement of women.
SOCIAL media is, and has always been, complicated. The platforms are fickle and the moderation is never strong or swift enough. Open to everyone, these platforms can become chaotic. While we can largely curate our feeds by choosing who and what we follow and like carefully, more and more, we are being exposed to what they follow and like. Many of our feeds are flooded with content we never chose to see, both because we are seeing others’ activity and ads are taking up a significant amount of space.
OVER the next few days, there will seem to be no end to the conversations about COP27.
THE news over the past few days has been quite interesting. A few stories have been dominating while others were blips. It can be useful to look at two or more seemingly unrelated news stories to make an assessment on the current state of affairs. Asking questions “Who is in charge here?” and “Why was this the course of action taken” along with “Who is affected most?” can help us to get beyond the story itself and into what it tells us about where we are, and even who we are.
LAST week, a disturbing event dominated the media and public discourse for days. A group of people, who claimed they were not protesting, went to Parliament Squares where they said they wanted to deliver letters to Members of Parliament.
THIS is not an easy place to live. It may be paradise for the people who pass through, enjoying beach days, hotel amenities, and the hospitality of people who are not paid anywhere near enough for what they do, but for Bahamians, it is far from pleasant.
OCTOBER is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so pink ribbons and pink t-shirts abound, especially on Fridays when many businesses have a casual day and encourage employees to support the cause.
OCTOBER was declared Domestic Violence Awareness Month in 1989. Thirty-three years later, people know domestic violence exists. In The Bahamas, the general sentiment is domestic violence - in most cases, is wrong.
ON Saturday, Equality Bahamas hosted its sixth event in its CEDAW (Convention) Speaker Series, designed to increase understanding of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. On a monthly basis, an expert, usually from the CEDAW Committee, leads discussion on one of the Articles of the Convention. At the most recent event, Corinne Dettmeijer, a Committee member from the Netherlands, made a presentation on Article 6 which is focused on trafficking and exploitation of prostitution.
LAST week, I attended the Symposium on Sexual Offences Legislation which focused primarily on amendments to criminalise marital rape.
“I AM an endangered species, but I sing no victim song. I am a woman, I am an artist, and I know where my voice belongs.” These are the lyrics Sheryl Lee Ralph bellowed upon acceptance of her Emmy award — her first one — for best supporting actress in a comedy series.
POLITICAL rhetoric, specifically about women’s rights, is repetitive and devoid of meaning beyond the indication that politicians do not care about any of it enough to take a clear position and use their political power to bring action.
AN activist said the current administration continues to demonstrate its disinterest in addressing the issue of marital rape by “putting it off” and explicitly stating that it is prioritising other issues.
THE third anniversary of Hurricane Dorian is quickly approaching. Much has been said about the current administration‘s plans which do not come close to centering the people directly affected by the category five hurricane and their needs. The emphasis was placed on a concert which, for obvious reasons, comes across as a celebration rather than an opportunity for reflection. For many of us, what the government announced was ill-conceived and, worse, an insult to the people who are still trying to recover.
THE school year is about to begin, and parents and guardians are trying to get ready. There are still uniforms to buy, books to source, rides to arrange, and schedules to set, re-work, and set again.
IN 2014, then Prime Minister Perry Christie announced the gender equality referendum which was to be held in November of that year.
FOR the past week, scrolling the news has been difficult. In every newspaper and on every news outlet website, the top stories are gut-wrenching, frustrating and terrifying. The same is true for the stories amplified on television and radio news.
EVERY year, we celebrate Emancipation Day, often referred to as August Monday. In a statement released on Monday, Niambi Hall Campbell- Dean, PhD, Chair of the Bahamas National Reparations Committee acknowledged there are varying ideas about the meaning of “freedom” and how it is (not) realized and embodied.
ON Sunday morning, a twin engine vessel with at least 40 passengers capsized near Blackbeard’s Cay. Twenty-five people were rescued and 17 bodies were recovered.
Last week, at an event in the “Meet the Policymakers Lecture Series” hosted by University of The Bahamas’ Government and Public Policy Institute, the Prime Minister presented on the National Development Plan. Following his presentation, there was a short question and answer segment and one question sparked about two days of commentary — not necessarily conversation — about LGBTQI+ people and human rights.
LAST week, the Regional Conference of Youth on Climate Change was held at University of The Bahamas, bringing young people from the region together to talk about the climate crisis and the climate action we all need to take.
IN RECENT days, there has been hand-wringing about the number of murders counted in just one week. This is not an unfamiliar place for us. As the number of murders steadily moves toward 100, people start talking. They decry the state of the nation and worry aloud about its direction and destination.
LAST Friday, in a 6-3 majority vote, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that a woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion was protected by the constitution.
THE Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2022 is now underway in Kigali, Rwanda, after being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the most interesting artists of this generation is Lizzo. Some fans were enjoying her music on YouTube long before she made it big.
ALICIA WALLACE: Climate change isn’t just a hurricane - it’s the flooding in our streets and we all need to get real
YEAR after year, the rainy seasons meets us unprepared.
IN many countries all over the world, today marks the beginning of Pride month. It is most often celebrated in June because the Stonewall riots - catalyst for the LGBTQI+ movement in the US — took place in June 1969.
THERE are many laws in The Bahamas that need to be reformed for various reasons. Over the past few years, I have specifically focused on gender inequality in the law and laws that have the effect of perpetuating and sustaining gender stereotypes. One law that does not often get attention is the Employment Act.
MOST of us spend more time working than doing anything else. We are trained for this from childhood.
HERE we are again. It is a familiar place. Government administrations change with some regularity, and many of the practices remain the same.
MOTHER’S Day is just a few days away, and many are scrambling to make plans and purchases for the mothers in their lives.
THIS week, I joined two working groups on separate thematic areas, and these groups are meant to produce reports within a short time period.
AS mask mandates are overturned and removed in other parts of the world, we are forced to depend more heavily on others to help manage our own risks related to COVID-19.
APRIL is Sexual Assault Awareness Month — a period for raising awareness and educating the public on sexual assault in parallel with advocacy for laws, policies, programmes, and services to prevent it, effectively respond to it, and ensure access to justice for survivors.
LAST week was tough. The conversations taking place in public and private spaces were difficult. Reading the news was a chore. The constant barrage of video clips, audio snippets, and sensational quotes were intrusive and exhausting.
“Jada, I love ya, GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see it, aight?” That is what Chris Rock said on stage at the Academy Awards on Sunday night. He used the 1997 movie GI Jane which starred Demi Moore with a buzzcut to reference Jada Pinkett-Smith’s bald head. Pinkett-Smith’s bald head is not exactly a style choice, but the result of alopecia. On Sunday night, sitting in the audience, she was visibly annoyed by the comment, rolling her eyes, showing exhaustion.
A 26-year-old father was charged with incest, indecent assault, and child cruelty this week. He appeared before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt for sexually abusing his three-year-old daughter.
OVER the past few days, we have been talking about the death of yet another woman who was a victim of domestic violence.
YESTERDAY was International Women’s Day and there were thousands of events held all over the world to raise awareness of issues women face, celebrate the progress that has been made, recognize women whose contributions have helped us to move closer to gender equality and kickstart new initiatives and programmes.
EARLIER this week, a video of an elderly woman being abused by a supposed caregiver made the rounds and drew commentary from shocked and disgusted members of the public.
WE have all attended far too many Zoom events over the past few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
THIS week started with Valentine’s Day and there were countless roses, chocolates, greeting cards and romantic gestures going around.
OVER the past few days, Bahamian Twitter has been talking about pay. The conversation seemed to have started with the observation that salaries are not included in job postings.
WE are still in the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and case numbers are decreasing week by week.
ALICIA WALLACE: Soundbites and social media won’t change a thing - we must force through a new mindset on gender-based violence
A FEW years ago I woke up to the sound of an argument in the street. A woman was telling a man to stop, telling him to let her go, telling him to leave her alone. I looked out the window to see them in the middle of the street, him behind her, his arm around her neck. He was berating her as he dragged her along. Their movement was slow. She was struggling.
ALICIA WALLACE: If people can’t pay their bills or put food on the table, Mr Cooper, how are they expected to save?
Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper says Bahamians do no save or invest enough, and increasing savings and investments is critical to national growth.
IN recent years, there has been an increase in conversations about and focus on mental health. More and more, people are recognizing it as a part of our overall health and wellbeing, requiring at least as much attention as we give to our physical health.
HERE we are, in a new calendar year. We always look forward to the fresh start a new year represents, but especially after going through a difficult one.
BETWEEN December 23 and December 25, 580 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded. This should come as no surprise given the gatherings that usually takes place during the holidays and the few restrictions that were in place. There should have been better measures to protect against rampant spread of COVID-19, especially given what we already know about the Omicron variant.
The holidays are quickly approaching and we are all preparing in different ways. For the past few weeks, traffic has gotten heavier and it has taken more planning and time to get from one place to the next.
ON Monday, it was reported that 30 percent of sexual offence cases were dropped, largely due to the long wait time for trials. Director of Public Prosecutions Garvin Gaskin said: “We’ve had experiences where persons have said just that, ‘I’ve moved on. I’m not going to relive that. I’m now married and my husband doesn’t even know about it’.”
THE Global 16 Days campaign is always an interesting time for us at Equality Bahamas. Since 2017 when we started participating in the campaign, we have observed the responses from members of the public. Most people are content to ignore it or casually observe the activities while others are either excited by it and looking for ways to participate, or enraged by its existence — not that it is necessary, but that the campaign dares to centre women, people who disproportionately experience gender-based violence.
ALICIA WALLACE: We need more than knee jerk reactions - the route map to end gender-based violence is already there
Tomorrow is the first day of the Global 16 Days Campaign, also known as 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence. This year, it comes on the heels of several upsetting new stories about gender-based violence against women and girls. Some of the stories were accompanied by video, clearly showing acts of violence and the responses of people nearby.
ON the weekend, it was reported that a four-year-old child was taken to the hospital. Soon after, there were claims on social media that the toddler had been sexually assaulted. The toddler, Bella Walker, died.
THE United Nations Climate Summit, COP26, is drawing 30,000 to Glasgow, Scotland, this week and next. More than 200 countries are party to the United Nations Framework Convention, first established at the Rio Earth summit in 1992.
EVERYONE is familiar with the term “domestic violence”. It, unfortunately, comes up often enough that it is a regular part of our vocabulary and we believe we know what it means. Domestic violence is violent or aggressive behaviour between people in the same home, and it usually involves partners. We know that it can be physical, but it can take other forms that are often not recognized as domestic violence, and it disproportionately affects women.
IN less than two weeks, world leaders and activists will meet at COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference. The conference will be hosted by the United Kingdom in partnership with Italy. Parties that signed the 1994 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) treaty.
DRESS codes, to some people, are necessary. To others, they are restrictive. The way they are received depends heavily on the reason they are introduced, the effectiveness in addressing that cause, enforcement, and the consequences, both intended and unintended, of their existence. It often seems as though we like dress codes. It isn’t that we particularly enjoy being constrained, but watching other people fail to meet the standard appears to be a favourite pastime.
GABRIELLE “Gabby” Petito, a 22-year-old white woman went missing while on a cross-country road trip to Wyoming with her fiancé Brian. They had been documenting their trip on YouTube as Nomadic Statik and Van Life, but 23-year-old Brian returned to Florida, in her 2012 Ford Transit van, without her on September 1.
Cabinet appointments have been made, and we have all noticed the number is quite high. Whether the new administration is piloting a new way to address the issues we are facing today or it is paying for favours or rewarding loyalty, taxpayers are footing the bill.
The general election came last week and brought many challenges with it, some of them noted by the election observers. There was not, in any of the reports thus far, enough attention on the disenfranchisement of voters. Many young people did not register to vote before the election date was announced as they were under the impression the election would be held in May 2022. People displaced from Abaco and Grand Bahama who intend to return home were unable to vote in their current islands of residence.
Tomorrow, we go to the polls. Well, some of us. I have heard from numerous people that they are definitely not going or are still very unsure about voting in the election due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the current raging wave of cases as well as the video evidence of an obviously disorganized advanced poll. For many, uncertainty turned into definite opt-outs when the announcement was made that people who are supposed to be in quarantine will also be allowed to present at the poll and vote alongside everyone else.
THE general election is in one week and we still do not know how the process will be managed given the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country. By now, we should know the measures being taken to keep us all safe and what is required of us to keep each other safe as we exercise our rights to participate in the election.
The return to the virtual learning environment is difficult for many parents and students. The last school year was difficult, barely transitioning from in-person teaching to the virtual learning environment.
ALICIA WALLACE: We vote in a broken system which fails us and the options in most cases are terrible
THE signs are here – and they are terrible. The uninteresting, uninspiring, unsightly lawn signs litter New Providence with red, yellow and not much else.
WE are tired of the COVID-19 pandemic and there is no end in sight. The Prime Minister made the ridiculous statement a few weeks ago that the pandemic is over for the vaccinated. That was far from the truth. While some of us have some protection, we are all still vulnerable to COVID-19 and its effects.
“You like bad treatment.” When is the last time you heard that? Whether it was directed to you or someone else, you likely got the feeling the person saying it does not want to offer their support. How does it feel when someone tells you your situation is due to your failure to remove yourself from it?
ALICIA WALLACE: We celebrate individual national successes but where are the goals we should all strive for?
It’s that time again. Many people are glued to their televisions, calculating time differences, pulling out their flags to wave, and preparing the honey and lemon to soothe throats after screaming at athletes who cannot hear them.
Here we are again, COVID-19 case numbers rising, tightened restrictions and numerous questions about the effectiveness of the measures put in place by the government. No one wants to be restricted like this, but most of us understand we all need to cooperate in order to help save lives by reducing the spread of the virus.
We want a fixed election date. The Free National Movement promised a fixed election date. It was one of its 2017 campaign promises. It, along with many others, has not received any attention from the Free National Movement administration. It is, to most of us, no surprise that we are here today, speculating on the date of the next general election, fully aware that it can be called any day.
Independence is always an interesting time in The Bahamas. On the weekend, someone joked that on July 9, people complain about the country. On July 10, The Bahamas is the best place on earth. By July 11, the complaints are back.
Independence Day is approaching and the planned celebration is going to be different again this year. Due to the COVID-19 safety protocols, it will be an entirely virtual event.
ON Bahamian social media, there are a few topics that come up over and over again, always without resolution. On an endless loop, people on opposite sides argue their positions or, more accurately, argue against other positions. In these pseudo-conversations, some people actively participate by engaging others, some state their own opinions while others have side conversations on the topic at hand or one adjacent to it.
Summer is officially here, students have time off from school and adults are taking vacation. Travel may seem too complicated and be too expensive right now, so we have to think about how we can make the most of this time here at home. There is more to do than most of us realise, likely because our days our packed with too many errands and obligations in addition to employment. When we have time off and set fun as the goal for the day, even the most ordinary outings can be enjoyable.
The US Embassy has been flying the Pride flag for two weeks as Pride Month continues. It is a great time to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community. If you do not know what the L, G, B, T, Q, or plus stands for, get ready to learn.
Yesterday was the first day of Pride Month which is not only a celebration of sexual diversity and community, but a set of activities that assert the humanity of LGBTQI+ people and a direct response to the shaming and oppression carried out against them.
The murder of 15-year-old student Kenm Paul at Government High School last week was not the first tragedy of its kind. These incidents stir many emotions and lead us to wonder what is happening within the school and between students. While we know nothing excuses violence, we search for the cause. For some of us, the focus is on finding solutions. How do we stop violence in schools and, in particular, among boys and young men?
Last week, University of The Bahamas and Verizon Media Group held the first in a series of debates this election season.
This week, the community of women’s rights advocates and feminists in The Bahamas learned of the passing of Donna Nicolls. She was fierce in her advocacy for women’s rights, compassionate in her care for survivors of domestic, sexual and intimate partner violence, generous in her support of other activists and advocates in the human rights space.
During the month of April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I participated in numerous events including panels and group discussions about sexual violence against women and girls.
General elections loom ahead with no firm date, though the current administration promised fixed election dates and fixed terms for Prime Ministers in its 2017 campaign, and debates are being organized.
ALICIA WALLACE: If you’re worried about the vaccine, read up, learn the facts and hopefully, like me, you’ll take it
LAST week, I got my first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. I had been watching and waiting to be eligible, ready to get vaccinated even before the vaccines were ready.
On Friday, April 9 there was an explosive eruption of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ La Soufrière volcano for the first time since 1979. It sent plumes of ash 3.7 miles into the air. This came one day after the country’s Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves issued a Stage 3 disaster alert which was followed by an evacuation order to communities in the red zone. Early estimates indicated that 16,000 people—15 percent of the population—would be displaced as a direct result of this disaster.
APRIL is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and, in recent weeks, there have been several reports of men attempting to assault school-age girls. There has been the usual outrage. It is horrifying to know these predators are on the loose, targeting children. If not for the vigilance and intervention of others, more children would be victims of sexual assault.
This week, some women in frontline politics were asked whether or not gender bias exists in politics. Their responses made it clear there is not only a limited understanding of gender bias, but a reluctance to acknowledge it. Perhaps there is concern that acknowledgment would be seen as making excuses or a sign of weakness rather than what it actually is — recognising and naming an issue that pervades our lives.
This week, a family’s story was made public in a request for financial assistance.
The Grammy Awards always get people talking. From who wore what and who won what to the speeches and snubs, there is more than enough material for people looking for jokes, gossip and something to criticise. This year, there were awkward moments, firsts and social distancing with masks.
INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day was on Monday and, of course, it came with radio talk show slots, panel discussions, presentations and purple attire. It is an annual day to celebrate the progress women have made and to take action toward the changes that still need to happen.
ALICIA WALLACE: We need women in Parliament who can do real work. Rolle is not a loss – she was a liability
International Women’s Day is next Monday, March 8.
Last week, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka met again at the Australian Open. I have always been #TeamSerena.
International Women’s Day is less than a month away and the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations follows closely behind. The themes for these events focus on women’s leadership.
Last week, it was reported a woman was sleeping in a car with her children, including an infant. She was asked to leave her previous apartment after being allowed to live there rent-free for several months. She expressed concern about her children’s education, noting her daughter had fallen behind over the past year. She noted there were other people in the same situation, forced on to the streets.
The issue of sexual violence against women and girls is in the media too often for us to pretend the incidents are isolated or separate from systemic issues. We struggle to recognise and address some of those issues, such as capitalism and misogyny, while others are universal enough to receive widespread acknowledgement.
THERE are some arguments that never seem to end. We return to the same questions over and over again.
A WOMEN’S rights advocate wants society to stop placing the blame on young vulnerable girls being lured out of their homes and becoming victims of statutory rape and hold the men responsible accountable for their actions.
THIS week, the Commissioner of Police reported there were 11 suicides in 2020, up from eight in 2019. He said this was due to people — men, in particular — being “weak”. The suggestion is absurd, offensive and incorrect.
LAST week, I observed an online conversation about the suitability of migrant and Bahamian workers for domestic work. Someone was looking for a domestic worker and specifically noted they were not interested in a Bahamian employee and listed specific characteristics they did not want.
THERE is a story about a family with generations of people baking turkeys in the same way. They always cut the legs off before putting it in the pan to bake. When being taught to a cook turkeys, the youngest generation asked why it is done that way. The parents said they did it that way because their parents did it that way. Unwilling to leave it at that, the youngest generation asked the grandparents why the legs are always cut off. The grandparents said they only did it that way because the pan wasn’t big enough for the whole turkey to fit.
WE’RE coming to the end of the confusing period between December 25 and January 1. During this time, a lot of people don’t seem to know what day it is or what is going on. From bed to shower to breakfast to bed to couch to lunch, time moves whether we mark it or not. It feels like the busyness of the year catches up with us during this time and we are forced to feel the listlessness and lack of motivation we have to ignore or push through when there seems to be no good reason to pause. For once, in December, some of us get to just drift.
MOST people say it doesn’t feel like Christmas week. There isn’t much holiday spirit in the air, but we are doing the best we can to feel and look festive.
LAST week, I moderated the second session in the Commonwealth Foundation’s Critical Conversation series. The event, entitled “Young Leaders Speak,” was a collaboration with the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and Commonwealth Youth Council and brought young people together to talk about their leadership experience, activism and demands of Commonwealth institutions.
TOMORROW is the last day of the global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence campaign coordinated by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership. It is also International Human Rights Day.
There are positions of leadership and there are a particular set of skills, competencies and flexibility that, used appropriately make leadership successful. How often do they meet?
Today, International Day to End Violence Against Women (IDEVAW), is the first of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence.
I know two couples who rescheduled their weddings multiple times this year. Neither of them had planned huge ceremonies or receptions, but they had plans.
We have endured, over the past seven months, more than we could have ever imagined. The first lockdown was a shock but, for the most part, we accepted it as a necessary and temporary measure.
ALICIA WALLACE: Why do we continue to allow the Church to pull the strings on so many aspects of our lives?
We have a serious problem with the relationship between the church (used here as shorthand for a select group of religious leaders speaking on behalf of Christian churches) and the State.
IT IS Domestic Violence Awareness Month and, story after story, our attention is drawn to the broader issue of the gender-based violence we are failing to address.
Over the past few days, there has been heated discussion about the five people recognised as national heroes. There are people who believe one or more of those people to be undeserving of the designation and there are people who have others in mind who have done more or better. Considering the recommendations and criticism, we do not have a solid definition of a national hero.
ALICIA WALLACE: People in power need to stop paying lip service to the problem and do something about it
Since the murder of a young mother and her daughter, the issue of domestic violence has been getting more attention in the media.