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Women’s activists blank SVG seminar

Women’s activists blank SVG seminar

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Three Caribbean activists boycotted the seminar hosted by Projects Promotions earlier this week in protest of how the rape allegation against Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves is being handled.{{more}}

Dr Peggy Antrobus, who resides in Barbados, a legendary advocate for women’s development, confirmed to SEARCHLIGHT that, along with Judy Williams of St Lucia, and Andaiye of Guyana, she decided not to attend the seminar on “The Caribbean Futures: A People’s Post Colonial Enterprise”, held at the Methodist Church Hall, February 11 and 12.

“The main point we are making is that there needs to be due process. We are not jumping to any conclusion about innocence or guilt,” Dr Antrobus said.

A founding member of the Caribbean Association of Feminist Action and Research (CAFRA) and Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), Dr Antrobus said that she and her colleagues didn’t want their presence to be misunderstood in any way, but rather to make their dissatisfaction clearly seen.

According to the letter dated February 7, 2008, and addressed to Cecil Ryan and Oscar Allen, signed by the three women: “We are concerned that our presence in St Vincent at this time may be misinterpreted as undermining the importance of the resolution of this allegation in accordance with transparency, due process and fairness.”

Adding their voices in objection to the way they perceive the situation regarding the allegations against Dr Gonsalves is being handled is the St Lucia National Organization of Women (NOW). According to a press release dated February 6, signed by Public Relations Officer Flavia Cherry, NOW called on citizens in St Vincent and the Grenadines to stand up “against what may well be perceived as an aversion of justice, if this case is not allowed to follow due process.”

Advocate for Safe Parenthood: Improving Reproductive Equity (ASPIRE), another St Lucia based organization, in a release dated February 08, and singed by its Chairman Brandon Antonie, called for the rule of law to prevail in cases where allegations are made against an individual based on the principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

“Also – no man is above the law,” the release states.

“We condemn the current status of this case, which leaves much room for speculation and ill feelings among law abiding citizens…and is more likely to result in lack of confidence in those who are authorized to act on behalf of victims,” the release ends.

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