1st Kingdom working Conference on Domestic Violence “No Mas, No More”

A delegation consisting of 12 persons, spanning from a wide range of organizations, represented Sint Maarten at the 1st Kingdom working Conference on Domestic Violence in Aruba from March 7-8 under the theme NoMasNoMore.

Representatives hailed from Governmental, Non- Governmental & Faith Base Organizations such as: Police, Court of Guardian, Social Development, Women’s Desk, Community Development, Family & Humanitarian Affairs, St. Maarten Medical Center, Mental Health, Prominent Women, Seventh Day Adventist Church Women and Youth Affairs.

The Conference was organized through the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport in the Netherlands and other partners on Curacao, Aruba, Sint Maarten and the BES islands.

The purpose was to bring delegates together from within the Kingdom who work in the area of domestic violence, to discuss, share best practices, knowledge and skills in order to come to concrete actions to be implanted in 2018 and reach agreements regarding cooperation within the Kingdom.

Attendees at the Conference were inspired, enriched and edified by presentations from renowned professionals in the field.

Dr. Glenda Simms who hails from Jamaica and who has a wide curricular exposure in the field of Women’s Work. She served as an expert on the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of all forms of Violence Against Women (CEDAW) – She presented on the Violence Against Women and Girls: The greatest Challenges to Women’s Empowerment and Gender equality in our Region”.

Ms Joy Arnell, Secretary General of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour in Sint Maarten, who also has a very impressive track record as it relates to Women’s Work on the island, presented and helped the audience to understand the correlation between disasters and domestic violence: “The effects of hurricane Irma & Maria on Domestic Violence”.

There were several other presenters, Prof Adele Jones from the University of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England and Margarita Guille a social activist of the Inter-American Shelter Network.

Besides, being enriched through presentations the gathering had the opportunity to work-out several topics of concern in workshop settings where concrete solutions were identified.

Coming out of this conference Sint Maarten will be working towards the development and finalization of a Domestic Violence Policy document, legislation development and the establishment of a task force consisting of all key stakeholders.

Violence as a whole and specifically Domestic Violence hinders progress and development of a people. Therefore, as a Country it is imperative that the necessary measures are taken to curb the incidence of Domestic Violence.