PLP Vice Chair Holly Barratt Says Where Is The Office Of The Spouse

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Statement from Holly Pearce, National Vice Chairman of PLP

A Legacy of Women in Power: inactivity of the Office of the Spouse during the spread of Covid-19 in our beautiful Bahamaland

For Immediate Release

24th April 2020

Throughout history women have fought against oppression, injustice, marginalization and for the rights of all irrespective of Gender, Race, Class, or Cast. Women in power have successfully met the challenges posed by their male counter-parts in a yeoman’s work to ensure that all considerations and empathy be given to resolve issues of great magnitude and also to those that might be perceived as miniscule and insignificant.

This great ideological belief holds and remains ever true in the workings of our great Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), where we have seen the perseverance, dedication, and skill of the suffragettes who pioneered the way for gender equality and now to modern date GIANTS whose advocacy for equality and refusal to have a single person exploited or victimised because of political preference will be renowned.

In December 2017, the Nation saw the establishment of an “Office of the Spouse” to “focus on the health and wellness of women, girls and adolescents” Women across the length and breadth of The Bahamas looked on in awe as she stated, “I believe that as women, we should have a voice to speak to the issues that we face in the country”. In March 2018, Cabinet approved the establishment of the Office with an annual budget and staff and I felt that my gender had gained another great advocate to place at the fore, that the legacy of great women of power would continue. It was indeed a great day.

On 21st March 2020, the spread of Covid-19 seemingly caused the world to stop and crippled The Bahamas’ economy, while instantly thrusting the Country into despair. The Women of our nation sought reassurance; they sought inspiration; they sought a light in darkness. The strain and pressure on limited resources brought about the buckling of the Ministry of Social Service and other agencies geared to supplement those in need. On 24th April 2020, the Nation witnessed a true leader step forward to wipe every tear from worrisome Bahamian eyes; the Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party rolled up his sleeves and got to work! However, he was not alone, his wife also stepped forward. Hand in hand they both toiled to organise shipments, pack boxes and distributed them across The Bahamas. Without an Office she did this, without recognition she toiled! As a good Soldier.

To date, the Office of the Spouse has not released a statement in support of the efforts of those on the frontline; to date, the Office of the Spouse has not committed any portion of the annual budget to assist, subsidize, or relieve the burden on the Ministry of Social Services. Women across the nation wonder where is that voice that advocated so greatly in 2017? Where is that rising Female Champion that encouraged women to “Speak to the issues that we face in our country”? What assistance is the Office of the Spouse offering to the children of so many single mothers who struggle?

As a mother of three (3), I like most mothers across the country face the uncertainty of unemployment, the way foreword and the possible serious implications that this ordeal will have on my children. I, therefore, implore you to find inspiration in the legacy of women in power before you, to positively effect, advocate, and insure the future well being of women, girls and adolescents in The Bahamas.