PANCAP News-in the caribbean
Sex workers, GLBT community are vulnerable groups too
- Last Updated on Saturday, 02 June 2012 02:17
- Published on Saturday, 02 June 2012 02:17
- Hits: 519
One regional body is calling on CARICOM to rethink its definition of vulnerable groups so that it would include those such as sex workers, prisoners and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) community.
At stake is a slice of just over four million euros being provided by the EU under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) to the CARIFORUM countries (CARICOM and the Dominican Republic) for a civil society integration project.
Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) Executive Director Ian McKnight and co-chair Dr. John Waters, who are in Georgetown to spread the word and drum up support, spoke with reporters on Friday.
“What we are asking the press to partner with us on this time is about an emerging threat to civil society that might has the strong possibility of excluding who we call vulnerable population from a very large grant that will benefit the Caribbean region,” McKnight said.
According to him, should those particular groups be excluded it would be a backward step. The coalition addresses the issues facing sex workers, drug abusers, GLBT persons, youth in dangerous circumstances, orphans and vulnerable children, prisoners and migrants.
Dr. Waters explained that the consultants hired by CARICOM to develop a proposal for the use of the funds omitted those groups the CVC also considered vulnerable and the proposal was ultimately rejected by the EU.
“We feel that one of the reasons why this proposal was rejected was the way they analysed the problem and the definition used of vulnerable population.
It’s clear that because of the fact that the disenfranchised groups we work with … are socially marginalized sometimes its politically contentious for the broader society and government to embrace strengthening these groups and we feel that essentially what is happening is that they’re prepared to go with a different definition of vulnerable groups that doesn’t really address the groups that we are working with.
According to Dr. Waters, there is a “dire need” to integrate these groups into Caribbean society. McKnight added that they have they written a “very strong letter” to CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque since it his institution that will administer the funds. They also plan to write the relevant EU authorities on the exclusion of the groups they represent. CVC has also been meeting with members of the excluded groups across the Caribbean.
Guyana Sex Workers Coalition Executive Director Miriam Edwards, who was also at the briefing, said they were glad to be brought up to speed with what is happening and vowed to “fight for what’s right.”
“We are prepared to come together and fight, we must be a part of it … we’re not going to give up,” she declared.