Thursday, October 11, 2018

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President's Communication

International Day of the Girl Child, 2018

GirlCon 2018




Dear Readers,

In honour of the international day of the girl...this week's editorial is the communication made by GirlCon founder and Senator Kay Forbes-Smith.

Honorable Senators

Good Morning

Let me first acknowledge our visitors in the gallery;
Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, The Hon. Frankie Campbell; Director of Gender Affairs Dr. Jacinta Higgs; Chairperson of the National Women's Advisory Council, Coralie Adderley; Teachers and students representing RM Bailey, AF Adderley, DW Davis, HO Nash, LW Young, Anatol Rogers and SC McPherson Schools; we welcome the newly crowned Ms. Bahamas Brinique Gibson; again a very special welcome to the "GIRLS" visiting the Senate Chamber this morning.

I would also like to acknowledge the committee members of the GirlCon Organization in Freeport who are on location at six schools on Grand Bahama at this hour and tuned into the Senate proceedings; I would like to acknowledge the girls at Bishop Michael Eldon, Lucayan International, Sunland Baptist, Eight Mile Rock, St. Georges and Sir Jack Hayward High Schools.  In Long Island Mrs. Patricia Minnis is marking the day with school visits to MGM Major and North Long Island High.

The GirlCon Organization of which I am a proud member; operates on Grand Bahama Island and we are currently preparing for our annual event scheduled for November 20so we thought today was a good day to launch our event. The one-day conference brings together some 300 high school girls; the event serves to inspire and motivate the next generation of female leaders through personal conversations with a group of panelists who bring frank discussions about success and failure and sharing of their "life story." GirlCon is not just a single event, it is an organization and movement supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Goals and the 1.1 billion girls throughout the world, with particular emphasis on Bahamian women and girls.  As an organization we focus our efforts on goal number 5 Gender Equality- "to achieve gender equality and to empower all women and girls." So this is a great day to kick of GirlCon 2018.

Today is International Day of the Girl Child; a day celebrated annually on October 11th. First introduced in 2012 by the United Nations General assembly, this important day seeks to "promote girl's empowerment and fulfilment of their human rights while also highlighting the challenges that girls all over the world face."  According to the United Nations Women's message on International Day of the Girl Child, girls face adversities that hinder their education, training and entry into the work force; this year it is expected that 12 million girls under 18 will be married, and 21 million girls aged 15 to 19 years will become pregnant in developing regions; under this years theme, With Her: A skilled GirlForce, "International Day of the Girl Child will mark the beginning of a year long effort to bring together partners and stakeholders to advocate for, and draw attention and make investments to the most pressing needs and opportunities for girls to attain skills for employability, particularly in the STEM areas - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math."  While this year's focus will be employability in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, today is about highlighting the need to remove the various types of social discrimination and exploitation that girls face in their lives.

Here at home women have played a pivotal role in the creation and development of The Bahamas. And since gaining the right to vote just 56 years ago, Bahamian women have taken their active and influential place in the direction of our beloved country. While we have set the course of our Bahamas through our strength and inspiring others, we have also stepped up to become leaders in our own right, in politics, education, business, technology and the arts. There is still a road ahead as we travel towards equal rights for women and girls, so we join the many organizations throughout The Bahamas as we continue to work, advocate and activate until the goal of "equal rights" is fully realized.

Today gives us cause to pause and align ourselves with our international counterparts, recognizing our responsibility to ensure that girls in The Bahamas have every opportunity to succeed. While many countries deal with the fact that "girls and women face higher risks of sexual and gender based violence; girls are 2.5 times more likely than boys to miss school during disasters and displaced girls are often married off as children in an effort to secure their security," as a country we should also take note of the issues girls face in our communities.  There are still too many cases of young girls being exploited on social media; there are still too many unspoken cases of incest in our communities; there are still too many cases of domestic violence in the homes that impact the family; too many cases of bullying in the schools; and there is still an unlevel playing field for women seeking financial independence; and yes we must prepare our girls as the next generation of leaders with a focus on political leadership. The reality is when 18,000 more females register to vote than men as was evident in the 2012 election, and when over 54% of the voters are female; and when 13% of all elected candidates are women and when one female sits at the Cabinet table, we know we have much work to do; and as the saying goes if we are not sitting at the table we are on the menu.  
I commend the many NGO's working throughout The Bahamas who have as their mission to mentor, motivate, inspire and prepare our GIRLS for leadership.  It is important that we continue to encourage these NGOs in their most important work, as they help and serve as a reminder to the Government of their duty to women and girls in our country.

As I conclude my communication on International Day of the Girl Child, I would like to again thank the Minister of Social Services and Urban Development for being in the gallery and lending his support to this important day; I have heard the Minister say equal opportunity and representing the female agenda is easy for him, as the parent of girls and a boy, he treats both his girls and his boy on equal footing; so thank you for being male and operating in a female world; also to the Director of Gender Affairs Dr. Jacinta Higgs (a former Senator), thank you for your presence and we wish you success as you lead the charge in ensuring that the convention the Government of The Bahamas signed in 1993 to end all forms of discrimination is closer to reality in the not too distant future;  to all our students in the Chamber today and in Freeport, and Long Island tuned into the Senate this morning, your attention is appreciated.

We ask every Bahamian to join us, starting today, as we work together, hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, determined to change the world and build a better future for the next generation of female leaders in The Bahamas, community by community.

To commemorate this important day, we will now have a ceremonial balloon release (using bio-degradable balloons) from the balcony of the Senate and in Grand Bahama from Bishop Michael Eldon, Sunland Baptist, Lucayan International, St. Georges and Sir Jack Hayward and Eight Mile Rock High Schools.

Seven balloons will be released at each location representing the 700 island and cays of The Bahamas and remembering our girls living throughout our country today.


#242Editor
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Click Below for this week's weather in The Bahamas:
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The HSGB Veterinary Clinic wants to prevent more dogs from ending up with this life threatening disease. From Tuesday October 9th through Friday October 19th, all VetScan Flex4 Rapid Tests* will be 25% OFF THE NORMAL PRICE OF $80. In addition, all dogs that test negative will receive one FREE HEARTGARD PLUS!

*BONUS: this test also checks for three different tick-borne diseases, two of which are extremely prevalent here on Grand Bahama.

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Upcoming Calendar
New Providence
Grand Bahama
  • October 13th, 2018


    • Book Launch for S.L. Sheppard's The Left-over Daughters 6:00pm at Regency Theatre Foyer
  • October 13th, 2018


    • The Grand Bahama Hope Society Presents: "Hope Gala Ball" 7:00pm at Grand Lucayan Convention Center
  • October 20th, 2018



    • Humane Society Pub Quiz 7:30pm at Garden of the Groves
  • October 26th, 2018



    • Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce 8th Annual Business Excellence Awards 12:30pm at Garden of the Groves
  • October 27th, 2018



    • Local Farmers and Craft Market 9:00 am - 1:00pm at Rand Nature Centre
Family Islands
  • October 12th, 2018



    • St. Paul's Anglican Church Bazaar at Clarence Town Dock, Long Island
  • October 12th, 2018



    • North Eleuthera and Harbour Island Sailing at Harbour Island
  • October 13th, 2018



    • South Andros Conch Festival at Mars Bay, Blue Hole Beach, Mars Bay Community Park
  • October 14th, 2018



    • Abaco Open Water Swim Race at Marsh Harbour
  • January 14th - 24th, 2019 
    • The Great Abaco Classic at Abaco Club
For More Abaco Events click the photo below
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