Minister of Health and Social Development Hon Carvin Malone (AL) who represented the territory at the meetings made a presentation to the conference on the Territory’s implementation of the Santiago Commitment that calls on governments to support and protect women during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking via the virtual conference, Hon Malone said, “I would like to pay tribute to the many women who are at the heart of the health services and social services in the British Virgin Islands without whom we could not have mounted a robust health and social response to COVID-19. Women are disproportionately represented in the health and social sectors.”
The Health Minister further said that throughout the pandemic, the Government has been doing everything in our power to ensure that women have personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to safely do their jobs.
“We are also ensuring that as we roll out our vaccination programme that they get the needed vaccination, so they are protected from illness. They remain on the frontline of containing the virus. Their lives are continuously at risk in doing everything from testing to monitoring to policy development, coordination and implementation. As Minister responsible for health and gender, I am truly grateful.”
In addition, Hon Maline Minister highlighted the negative impact of COVID-19 on women, particularly in the tourism sector, and the response by the Government and other partners to assist the vulnerable through economic stimulus.
“We have continued to work with local NGOs such as the Family Support Network to ensure that struggling families are fed. Women are disproportionately benefitting from the assistance being provided by the Government in collaboration with Civil Society, the private sector and international partners,” Hon Malone said.
He further stated that the government will continue its campaign of targeted messaging and other social services to discourage the abuse of women and children, and for the police to intervene as required.
The Virgin Islands is a Vice-Chair of UN ECLAC’s Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Social Development, as well as a Vice-Chair of the regional body’s Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC).