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PANCAP and Government of Barbados host Parliamentarians ConsultationParliamentarians agreed to establish Joint Parliamentary Committee to identify priorities for action

May 29, 2019

Wednesday, 29 May 2019 (PANCAP Coordinating Unit, CARICOM Secretariat): The Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), with funding from the CARIFORUM 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Programme of Support for Wider Caribbean Cooperation, collaborated with the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Barbados and the Barbados National HIV/AIDS Commission to convene a consultation with parliamentarians in Barbados.  Dr Jacqueline Wiltshire, Deputy Permanent Secretary (ag), Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs chaired the meeting.

In delivering the Keynote address Hon Cynthia Forde, Minster of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs emphasized that leadership, as well as personal and political courage, were required to deal with the determinants that drive HIV. She reminded the meeting of the political leadership provided by the administration of former Prime Minister Owen Arthur who made HIV a priority by placing it within the Office of the Prime Minister.

Minister Forde challenged all parliamentarians to be involved in a system of governance that is grounded in the social protection of all groups. She stated that her Ministry and the National HIV/AIDS Commission take their mandate seriously and are working assiduously to transform the social landscape for all citizens and to ensure their right to fully participate in all spheres and contribute to social development and evidence-based policy.  The Minister emphasised that no one must be left behind and in this regard, her Ministry has taken its responsibility seriously. “Both government and parliamentarians have never made HIV a political issue but instead have funded a multi-sectoral response including services that are offered free of cost to all,” stated Minister Forde. She also observed that parliamentarians and faith leaders do not fathom the extent of their impact on citizens as they are in a privileged position to work collectively to eliminate the scourge of HIV. She called on all parliamentarians to recommit to an AIDS-free Barbados and Caribbean.

Ambassador Daniela Tramacere, Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean Countries, the OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM reminded the meeting that stigma and discrimination are still hampering efforts to reduce new HIV infections, increase the number of persons accessing anti-retroviral treatment and ensure that those who have contracted HIV can live full and productive lives. “The EU has invested approximately Euros 530,000 in PANCAP over two years from October 2017 to August 2019. We believe that our investment can also have a multiplier effect. Through sessions such as this, the message can be amplified to communities across the nation and the region,” stated the Ambassador. The EU Representative shared that through increased engagement and coordination, faith-based collaboration with health officials and political leaders can play a pivotal role in reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS. “Indeed, HIV/AIDS is not an individual issue but one that touches every part of society and our economy. This is our collective problem, and we need to come together to develop a collective solution,” stated Ambassador Tramacere.

Mr Dereck Springer, Director of PANCAP, provided an overview of PANCAP’s engagements with parliamentarians under its Justice for All programme that seeks to affirm human rights and reduce stigma and discrimination. The Director noted that both the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the CARIFORUM 10th European Development Fund are contributing to PANCAP’s work with parliamentarians geared towards creating a more enabling environment for people living with HIV and key population groups. He reminded the meeting of the crucial role that parliamentarians must play in response to HIV and acknowledged that parliamentarians come from families and society and regularly engage with their constituencies thus enabling them to understand the challenges faced by people living with and affected by HIV. He also highlighted the legislative, representational and oversight roles of parliamentarians.

Dr Anton Best, Senior Medical Officer, Ministry of Health, Barbados delivered a presentation that included an overview of the epidemiology of HIV in Barbados as well as the implementation of Treat All and Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

Dr Frank Anthony, PANCAP Consultant, provided a historical perspective of HIV, the advances being made in relation to the science, presented on the key actions required by parliamentarians in relation to their legislative, representational and oversight roles, and facilitated a discussion on key policy and legislative issues that require changes and which are within the control of parliamentarians.

During the plenary discussion led by Dr Frank Anthony, parliamentarians agreed to establish a Joint Parliamentary Committee to identify priorities for action.

The consultation was also attended by representatives of faith-based organisations, civil society organisations, and UN agencies representatives.

– ENDS –

Contact:

Timothy Austin
Communications Specialist
PANCAP Coordinating Unit
CARICOM Secretariat
Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana
Email:      taustin.consultant@caricom.org
Tel:           (592) 222-0001-75, Ext. 3409
Website:  www.pancap.org

What is PANCAP?

PANCAP is a Caribbean regional partnership of governments, regional civil society organisations, regional institutions and organisations, bilateral and multilateral agencies and contributing donor partners which was established on 14 February 2001. PANCAP provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, coordinates the response through the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS to maximise efficient use of resources and increase impact, mobilises resources and build the capacity of partners.

  • 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Programme of Support for Wider Caribbean Cooperation

Under the 10th (EDF) Programme of Support for Wider Caribbean Cooperation, PANCAP will strengthen coordination on human rights issues in keeping with the Justice For all Roadmap through the HIV and AIDS Thematic Task Force in CARIFORUM.

  • CARIFORUM

CARIFORUM refers to the Grouping of Caribbean States which are signatories of the Georgetown Agreement establishing the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). The ACP grouping is composed of 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific states.

CARIFORUM is the recipient of and manages the implementation of Caribbean Regional Indicative Programmes financed by the EDF and Caribbean regional programmes financed by individual Member States of the European Union. It also provides technical assistance to agencies/institutions implementing projects under these programmes.

  • European Union

The Member States of the European Union have decided to link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development while maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms. The European Union is committed to sharing its achievements and its values with countries and peoples beyond its borders’.

Background to the PANCAP Justice for All (JFA) Roadmap

The PANCAP Justice for All (JFA) Programme was established in September 2013 as a regional response to the UN High-Level Political Declaration (June 2011) designed to reduce AIDS-related stigma and discrimination. The objectives of the JFA Roadmap are:

  • Enhancing family life and focusing on those in need
  • Increasing access to treatment and affordable medicines
  • Reducing gender inequality including violence against women, girls and adolescents
  • Promoting prevention with special reference to sexual and reproductive health and rights including age-appropriate sexual education
  • Implementing legislative reforms for modifying AIDS-related stigma and discrimination