Ministry of Social Transformation, Human Services, Family Affairs,
Youth and Sports
In honour of the Memory of
June 13, 2007
We have lost an individual whose life was about working quietly, but successfully always standing firm in what she believed. And Marcia Philbert-Jules believed strongly that all women and children had a right to live free of fear and free of violence.
Always committed to social issues, her
association with the national machinery for the advancement of women began in
the early 1990’s as a member of the International Committee on Women - a
grouping of representatives of all sector agencies, who came together to discuss
the status of women, develop strategies to improve gender relations and ensure
that gender issues were included in all national policies and plans.
As a Permanent Secretary, her contributions to the country’s development were admirable. She was the quiet force behind several social development projects such as the establishment of the Women’s Support Centre – a shelter for women who are victims of domestic violence and their children. The Centre’s main objective is to eliminate domestic violence within families, through the provision of a safe, comfortable and supportive environment for women who are victims of domestic abuse and their children. The Centre also provides counseling, information on available resources and alternatives to empower women to make informed personal choices and decisions to live violent free lives.
Marcia believed strongly in the attainment of social justice, and gender equality and equity, and she always insisted that we should also address the situation of socially vulnerable men. She was instrumental in the conceptualization and the preparatory programme for a Men’s Resource Centre project, which will be realized in the near future.
Our memories of her include the determination, the energy and the positive attitude, which she carried with her into every project and, which was even more evident when she was working for the empowerment of women, particularly women victims of gender-based violence.
Her enthusiasm about the things she believed in had a ripple effect on all of us, especially when we became daunted by the sheer magnitude of some of the projects we undertook. Using her skills as a trained economist, and her vast knowledge of project preparation and implementation, she was always the one to direct and focus our efforts until we were able to meet our objectives. She was an optimist who made things happen effectively and efficiently, most times quietly without the trappings of public acclaim.
Marcia Philbert Jules will be remembered as a strong Caribbean woman who devoted her life to the service of the people of this country. She served with dedication, commitment and integrity.
How ironic that an individual who dedicated so much of professional as well as her personal efforts to setting up response mechanisms to gender-based violence would have her life taken away by such as heinous crime. Her tragic and brutal death sadly reminds us that despite our many accomplishments in the attainment of education and advancements in our careers, that as women we continue to disproportionately suffer from violence at every level of our development, from the infants and children who are continuously violated, to the women who have to endure daily, the indignity of sexual and physical abuse in this society.
Marcia believed firmly that we could become a society where there is zero tolerance towards violence against women and children. We are committed to honouring her memory by strengthening, and continuing our efforts to eliminate the scourge of gender-based violence in this country.
As a nation we must continue to support the efforts of individuals and agencies that provide assistance and services for victims of gender-based violence. We must continue to train judicial and law enforcement officials to effectively implement and enforce laws that deter acts of violence against women and children. We must continue to engage men and boys in anti-violence campaigns, so that they can be part of the solutions and not regarded as the problem. And we must continue to speak out strongly against this seemingly uncontrollable level of violent crime that we are experiencing in St Lucia.
Marcia’s untimely demise has shocked and saddened us all. On behalf of the Ministry of Social Transformation, Human Services, Family Affairs, Youth & Sports and Gender Relation, we wish to express our condolences to her family, her co-workers, friends and loved ones. May the Lord who heals the broken-hearted, strengthen and comfort you at this time of grief and loss.
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