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SIGBI president pays a visit to SVG

SIGBI president pays a visit to SVG
President of Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI), Sue Williams (fifth from right) with members of Soroptimist International SVG and Governor General H.E. Susan Dougan (sixth from right)

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Members of Soroptimist International of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) played host to the President of Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) last week.

President Sue Williams accompanied by her husband arrived in the State on Wednesday, August 28 on the last leg of her Official Tour of Soroptimist International Clubs in the Caribbean Region.

She had previously travelled to Turks & Caicos, Anguilla, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados. While in Barbados, President Sue attended the 35th Conference of the Soroptimist International Caribbean Network.

Trinidad and Tobago has the largest number of Clubs in the Caribbean – nine in all.

At the Conference she was brought up to date by the membership on the several projects being undertaken by the various clubs such as Climate Change; Gender Equality, Human Trafficking and Violence against Woman.

On her visit to the State, she was invited to have time with students, teachers and parents of the children that attend the Helping Hands Centre which is a sponsored Soroptimist of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Project. She was impressed with the work of the Centre and will look into certain aspects of the Program for possible overseas support for further development.

On the following day, she was taken to Government House to make a Courtesy Call on Her Excellency the Governor General Susan Dougan OBE who herself was initiated into Soroptimist International of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines several years ago (and who proudly sported her Membership Pin). President Sue and her husband were introduced. Several club members attended the brief morning meeting including Past Presidents Lady Kathryn Cyrus, Nicole Williams, Zeitha Hadaway, Lavinia Gunn, Shirla Lyttle, Miriam Roache; Euna Thompson – Treasurer, Josie – Ann Small – Secretary; members – Joyce Stay, Donnette O’ Neil and President Renè Baptiste.

In the hour long meeting, Her Excellency was briefed on the current work of the Soroptimist Club including raising funds to rehabilitate The Comfort Station at Heritage Square and to continue our triple Education programs – Helping Hand Centre at New Montrose; The Glebe Pre – School and The Return to School of young mothers; whilst President Sue spoke about her work with clubs in the Region and United Kingdom (she was President of 4 different Soroptimist Clubs in the United Kingdom before being elected President of the Federation of Great Britain and Ireland); that clubs are now focused on the Sustainable Development Goals, especially on Gender Equality, the Environment and Climate Change issues.

Afterwards, President Sue was escorted on a guided tour of the historic Botanic Gardens by the Curator, Gordon Shallow. She took many photos and was awed by its distinctive beauty.

She also had a meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry with responsibility for Gender Affairs Nerissa Gittens – McMillan and two of her departmental heads – La Fleur Quammie (Coordinator of Gender Affairs) and Merissa Finch – Burke (Director of Social Development).

She was most impressed with the scope of their work in the Ministry and among NGOs in the State, and the programme spread; the move to adherence to the various applicable UN Conventions and the monitoring of SVG’s progress on fulfillment of the goals.

Whilst in the State, she was treated to Vincentian Hospitality – a Tea Party at Sister Zeitha where she met other members of the Club and friends; a Lunch with members at the private residence of Sir Cecil Cyrus and Lady Cyrus and a farewell cocktail party at Sister Christine’s residence where she met our leading program supporters Junior Bacchus (Helping Hands Centre) and Keith Joseph of the NOC (Sports for Life).

She expressed her thanks and appreciation to the Club for the great welcome at Argyle International Airport and President’s Welcome Lunch at Sunset Shores, and to Past President Lavinia Gunn for providing home hospitality for her and her husband.