Rights advocate writes open letter to Prime Minister Chastanet

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Rights advocate writes open letter to Prime Minister Chastanet
Felicia Browne.
Felicia Browne.

Gender rights advocate Felicia Browne, who has been very outspoken about a number of issues affecting citizens, particularly women and children, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.

Browne highlighted the issue relating to the recent homicide and rape of a 76-year-old woman in Marisule, which rocked the nation on Sunday, when news of her death was announced.

She also spoke about the constant lip service that is given to these issues, but nothing concrete is ever done to address them. She also stressed that gender-based violence affects everyone in society.

More importantly, she also stated that there is a “subtle feeling of fear,” among citizens that one of them, a friend, or a family member could become the next victim.

Browne is calling on Chastanet to look more deeply into the matter, and work with his cabinet colleagues to implement policies that will help to to address these and other issues affecting women.

Below is the full letter:

Mr. Prime Minister,

Good morning. A fellow St. Lucian, Ms. Rosa Rosemond died yesterday after being raped, robbed and murdered in her home. I did not know her personally but read very pleasant thoughts about her. At the age of 76 years, I would believe that she contributed in her life to our country and its people.

Sir, perhaps I may take a personal approach to this incident because as a woman it affects me deeply to know that we are no longer safe in our homes, that we are no longer safe in our communities, in our towns, villages and to a further extent our country.

Gender based violence affects every member of our society but sadly it affects us women more deeply, more physically, more psychologically and spiritually – it rips our core and seeks to destroy our very existence. You and I know that every time such incidents happen, we are deeply saddened and outraged yet we are slow to act.

We are slow to act within our laws, within our judicial systems, within our schools, our homes, our social services, our churches and our communities. But our women and girls are dying – they are dying tragically because someone believed (or is thinking) that their gender makes them easy targets for violent acts like rape and murder.

Sir , I would urge you to look into this matter, which today has disposed many women to be fearful and anxious. Some are angry, disgusted and outraged but in everyone of us there is a subtle feeling of fear, fear that at any time it could be one of us or our children or family members. My condolences to the family and loved ones of our beloved sister, mother, friend, grandmother, neighbor, a citizen of our country. Let us not forget her name.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Some of us have cousins neighbours and siblings whom we know are involved in crime and we shield them. Girlfriends whose boyfriends don't 'work' but have rides and get them all types of stuff. all male criminals have a female counterpart.

    Penalties for aiding crime should be applied too.

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  2. I am concerned about gender violence also, and I say where is the help for the MEN? We cannot continue viewing our society as a segmented construct with differing goals. The aspiration of our people are not divided by gender, man or woman. In fact, ninety percent more boys and men die every year from violence. While I agree that the writer is clearly bringing her feminine issues to the fore and has every right to do that, however, one relationship within a society affects the other.

    We must be careful at over-subscribing to rights to sectors of society as it can always create an imbalance. Ofcourse there will always be some instances of discrimination when it comes to gender but in the distribution of rights, opportunities and services must be spread equitably. Men are discriminated against just as women are especially when we examine the societal norms and regulations. One example is that women are free and encouraged to wear all sorts of clothing, piercings, jewelry, hairstyles while a man is disallowed to do the same and in some instances it may cost him his job. It was recently announced that St. Lucia has a higher percentage of women managers than men, a total turnaround in the economic and social landscape. Women are also protected more by the law especially when it come to equitable decisions by the Courts. In cases of divorce most judges overlook the advancement that women have made in terms of wealth and status and still award alimony to be paid by struggling ex-husbands.

    There will always be sick people in society and the proliferation of revealing clothing, pornography, fetishes and the lust for money perpetuated by the women themselves have not helped the situation. That's like giving sugar to the sweet-toothed. Examine some of the tight, short, body hugging revealing,clothing worn by women on the job. Whereas that type of clothing does not suggest that "i am available, so take me" but it does say "look how good my body looks." Wouldn't that be an added impetus to a sick mind? I don't think that any person man or woman leaves their homes or car open just because they think that every person is good and honest. However temptation is a sin that people succumb to in varying degrees and according to the situation they are in. Societies such as Muslim do subscribe to and recognizes that human beings have these temptations and hence cover up their women for they recognize them as being special and very powerful. You only have to read the good book that you use as the "gospel truth" to get the examples, for if we place the bible so high on our societal pedestal why should we depart from it just to satisfy our own worldly, sultry desires? Remember that King Solomon was the Wisest man and comparing that to our politicians that we have now, what picture does that paint? Solomon himself fell into that trap of the immaculate woman.

    Ofcourse a woman must be protected but men also have that right. Therefore I urge that we find a solution to advance our security and interest as a people and not that individual interest of "I," "ME," and "MYSELF" which the love of money and capitalism has taught us. Let us stop kidding ourselves that a man and women are the same too, as they both posses different qualities both physical and emotional, and only together can they be complete to handle all situations. We have abandoned such institutions such as the family, marriage (man and woman) yet we have not prepared ourselves for the fallout. This completeness and blue print has not been transferred to our kids. The modern day mother is absent from the house while on the hustle to feed herself, kids while advancing her social status. Meanwhile the man is out of a job and out of the house too, feeling that he is being replaced by women (appearing to be men) machines and dildos.

    I say all this bearing is mind that those who speak the truth always receive "thumbs down" and persecution. We don't have to go to far to understand what happened to Jesus, for after all, its the devil's world. Remember he offered the world to Jesus in his effort at temptation.

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  3. i will preface my comment by saying i am not a supporter of the UWP. in face, i am a supporter of the SLP. However, i have to say that to place this very heavy burden on the PM is a bit...unfair. These crimes have been happening for quite a while now. i remember when i was in my teens a young girl got raped and murdered in her home in Bonne Terre. Everyone SEEMED to know who the perpetrator was except the Police. i am now in my late thirties. so this isnt a TODAY thing. crime is obviously getting more and more out of hand but we cannot reasonably expect the PM de jour to miraculously put an end to the crime situation. We all as a community need to work together to do that. Report crimes. i referenced a crime earlier. still unsolved. why? the police need to do a more thorough job. training is needed. tools are needed. come on Saint Lucia. we can do better! God is also needed in this country. or else we are heading nowhere fast.

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    • Yes these crimes are happening for quite a while now, however it has become too frequent. That is the issue. And there need to be some form of action on authorities to help curb the number of murder cases that are left unsolved. E.g introduction of CCTV.maybe we cannot afford to have these cameras everywhere but they should be installed in some places where possible...training of police officers in forensics, we should make that a priority as number of these crimes could have been solved if only police were properly trained in collecting evidence..so many laws and policies can we implemented to help curb this crime wave...but alas we're an island who like to play politics and families are out there suffering because doing favours for our party supporters matter more...if it was any government official family who was brutally raped and murdered in that way the narrative would change...

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  4. You are right. Something MUST be done and MUST be done urgently. The criminals have become smarter and the archaic ways of dealing with them no longer works. We need a voice of the youth in our new crime fighting strategy. The young people know of the modern and creative strategies used by our modern day criminals and can help the government devise measures to "catch" those criminals. We have been crying out for several years but no one seems to be hearing.

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  5. They will not addres it cause some of them are as guilty when it comes to abusing women an going around with under age girls plus they dont have the gurts or balls to do something about it instead the play politics with it .what ashame with those in athourity.

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