Antigua and Barbuda: ABLP announces plans for Gender and Local affairs in manifesto 2023 

Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party announced various plans, programme, and strategies for Gender and Local affairs in the manifesto launched for January 18 general elections. 

Antigua and Barbuda: ABLP announces plans for Gender and Local affairs in manifesto 2023 
Antigua and Barbuda: ABLP announces plans for Gender and Local affairs in manifesto 2023 

Antigua and Barbuda: Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party announced various plans, programme, and strategies for Gender and Local affairs in the manifesto launched for January 18 general elections. 

Antigua and Barbuda is a model for the Caribbean in the legal Infrastructure for promoting the safety and security of the family, particularly women. Our country is the home of two important exemplary institutions in the Eastern Caribbean: The first-ever Family Division of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and the first Sexual Offences Model Court.

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Antigua and Barbuda now also has a Sexual Offences Registry. These three developments represent a leap forward in the protection of the rights of women and their children. They were made possible by the readiness of the ABLP Government and its legal department to promote and strengthen the values to which our modern society is committed.

SEXUAL OFFENCES MODEL COURT

The establishment of the Sexual Offences Model Court is exemplary because it improves the quality of justice. The Court ensures that sexual offence cases are dealt with expeditiously, mitigating the level of trauma experienced by the victim of a sexual offence. Equally, it provides the opportunity for any person accused of a sexual offence to prove innocence.

Since most sexual offences are directed at females. including children, the Court is an additional protection for the safety of women in our society.

THE FAMILY COURT

The Family Division of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court is designed to deal with problems arising out of family relations, including men who neglect their responsibilities to look after their children or to pay for their support. It also allows for domestic disputes to be managed in a manner beneficial to all parties involved.

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As identified by the Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, the set of progressive rules governed by the Family Division “will comprehensively provide for the practice and procedure in relation to matters such as divorce proceedings, applications for interim remedies, wardship, care and adoption of children, the care and protection of children, maintenance and domestic violence”.

Both these Courts are change agents, giving women and children particularly greater security. But men also benefit if they are also victims of domestic violence by wrongly accused. Altogether, the structure now exists for greater protection of women and children in our society. 

SEXUAL OFFENCES REGISTRY

The ABLP government established the Sexual Offences Registry Bill and encouraged a bipartisan effort of the National Assembly to do so. Members of the urged to support the adoption of the Registry, after public consultation that took place over several months in 2022. The Registry will publicly list convicted rapists and violators of sexual offence legislation. 

The objective is to reduce the incidents of sexual re-offending by monitoring convicted sex offenders and by sharing information with participating Jurisdictions within the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Also, our female population can consult the register should any suspicions arise about any individual. 

WOMEN’S RIGHTS – FURTHER STRENGTHENED BY INCREASE IN PERIOD OF PAID MATERNITY LEAVE

In further promotion of women’s rights and family welfare, the ABLP Government of Increased paid maternity leave from 6 weeks to 14 weeks in September 2022.

Maternity leave is essential, not only for the healthy development of our nation’s infants but also to ensure that the mother’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being is safeguarded and strengthened.

Over 50% of our nation’s workforce is women. Our government is committed to the social inclusion of our women in all aspects of our Next Level of development as a society and a nation.