Women’s Affairs Committee awards outstanding dozen
Kaieteur News – March 13, 2008
Twelve women, including a prominent West Watooka farmer, were on Sunday evening the proud recipients, of the first ever “Women’s Affairs Committee Awards”, which were presented at a simple ceremony in their honour at the Watooka Club, in Linden.
Recipients of the awards were Gloria Britton in the field of education; Vilma Tyson, agriculture; Pastor Victorine Jervis, religious sector; Magdaline Semple, Youth development; Claudette Martin-Smartt, Health Sector; Judy Gravesande-Noel, Sport; Alice Samuels-Social Work; Hyacinth Sandiford, AIDS Education;Vivienne Munroe, hospitality sector; Leslyn Charles, legal sector; Yvonne Drakes, entertainment; and Mayfield Greene, the business sector.
Chairman of the Women’s Affairs Committee, Valerie Adams-Sharpe, said that the auspicious event, which sought to recognise and honour women for the invaluable contribution they make to society, was the result of a three-year vision, the realisation of which was hitherto hindered due to lack of necessary financing.
Nominees for the awards came from several organisations within the community, including the Women’s Affairs Committee, according to Mrs Adams-Sharpe.
Administrator of the organisation, Ms Hemwattie Lagan, who commended the initiative, referred to it as a landmark – the first of its kind within the community– and one well worth emulating.
Ms Lagan said that she was proud of the system of selection for the nominees, and encouraged officials of WAC, to work towards the future inclusion, of other communities within Region Ten.
She admonished the women, to negotiate with their menfolk, planning programmes that would involve them, instead of just being ruled by them. She added that women should be at the bargaining table in all sectors of development.
Referring to the theme of International Women’s Day, which was observed on Saturday, “Investing in Women and Girls”, Ms Lagan further admonished all to not let this year be a year of complacency, but one of consolidation of the progress made thus far.
“Say no to violence against women and girls, and stand up against the portrayal of women as sex objects, in advertising and so on,” she warned; while exhorting all to help in the molding of the youth who are daily besieged by the negative lyrics of popular music, and demeaning dances.
Touching on the fact that men sometimes feel discriminated against by organisations such as the Women’s Affairs Committee, Lagan pointed out that a name change is currently being considered.
Both the Regional Chairman, Mortimer Mingo, and Chairman of the Interim Management Committee, Orrin Gordon, praised the organization for its initiative to honour women.
They noted that women are the very first contact of a human being upon his entry into this world, and they are responsible mankind being here.
Mingo said that the materialisation of the event was long overdue, and pledged the Regional Democratic Council’s unequivocal support of the initiative, and expressed the hope that consideration would in future, extend to all women across Region Ten.
While congratulating all the nominees and recipients, Mingo had special praise for one of the recipients of the award, Vilma Tyson, who, he noted, is not a traditional woman, but a farmer, who puts food on our table, and as such, said a woman of her “stature” ought to be singled out for special recognition.
Project Manager of the Linden Economic Advancement Programme, Kathleen Whalen, who was touted as a “Lindener”, received a special award for her invaluable contribution to development within the Region, as well as Chairman of the Women’s Affairs Committee Valerie Adams-Sharpe.