International Women’s Day Message from Mrs.Sarah Wescot Williams

As we embark upon yet another International Women’s Day, we are forced to reflect upon the many innumerable contributions of women not only within our community but also across the wider globe. 

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While reflecting upon these contributions, we realize that women have played and continue to play a tremendous role in our society. It is for this reason among countless others that we recognize the need to applaud their efforts. So vast have been their contributions, that it has been deemed relevant to annually reserve a day in their honour.

The renowned creation story in itself points to the importance of women. It teaches that since the inception of time it became necessary for the creation of women. This is perhaps owing to their ability to successfully assume the numerous tasks ahead which would eventually result in "Equal rights, equal opportunities and progress for all."

In recounting the contributions of women perhaps we should journey into history, where we are sure to notice women of distinction whose contributions have aided in what we term equality in our modern society. We are sure to see Harriet Tubman (Moses of her people) who during the American Civil war served as scout and spy. She ultimately mobilized many slaves to escape the horrors of Slavery using the underground Rail Road.

We will also see Mary McLeod Bethune, the founder of the national Council of Women. She, being a firm believer in education as a path to racial equality, focused on vocational education and social activism and became a worldwide public figure. In 1936 she was appointed by President Roosevelt as the director of the Division of Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration. She also served as a consultant to the United Nations, was honored in Haiti and Liberia and was a vice president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She was undoubtedly one of the most famous black women leaders of her day.

Later we become observers of the courage and strength displayed by Rosa Parks, a civil rights icon who barefacedly rebelled against the laws of the racism era by refusing to surrender her seat to a white man in a public transportation. This later led to led to an organized boycott of the city-owned bus company for 382 days. The action ultimately caused the Supreme Court to strike down the Montgomery ordinance under which Mrs. Parks had been fined, and outlawed racial segregation on public transportation.

Mother Theresa is also seen displaying a laudable level of compassion that motivated her to execute many charitable acts. She also founded her own order, "The Missionaries of Charity", whose primary task was to love and care for those persons, nobody was prepared to look after.

Coming closer to our time, we can not help but recognize the tremendous impact ( in the region and the world at large) of talk show how host Oprah Winfrey through her popular television programs and many donations to charitable efforts. Looking within our own Caribbean region, we see several trailblazing female Prime Ministers, with the Netherlands Antilles at the forefront, and Jamaica’s first, Portia Simpson Miller, just to mention a few.

While we can never truly recount or list the contributions of all of our women, it would certainly be thoughtless if no mentioned was made of those women who continue to contribute to our beloved island of St. Maarten, leaders in their own right, with the ability to influence generations. We recognize Ruby Bute, renowned poet and artist, Josiane Fleming, President of the University of St. Martin, Claire Elshot, President of the Teachers’ Union, Island Secretary, Joane Meit-Dovale, Act. Lt. Governor, Mrs. Millicent de Weever, Jadira Veen of Pride Foundation , Angela Richards of Childfest , Dr.Judith Arnell of Ujima, Mireille Peterson-Regales, Director of Sundial School, Regina Labega, Director of Tourism, Sector Directors, Claudette Forsythe and Jorien Wuite, Gracita Arrindell of the Peridot Foundation, and the list goes on.

I would however especially like to applaud the hard work and contributions of our women, who are the corner stones of our society, but will perhaps never receive public recognition. Our female lawyers, politicians, doctors, teachers, nurses, police/immigration officers, church leaders, accountants, pharmacists, government workers, fire fighters, ancillary workers, house wives and especially those women who have had to assume the roles of both mother and father in the upbringing of their children.

Happy International women’s Day on behalf of the Democratic Party. God’s continued blessings.


Sarah Wescot Williams

Leader of the Democratic Party