This will be done through the Every Caribbean Woman Every Caribbean Child (ECWECC) initiative, which, according to a press release issued by the CARICOM Secretariat on February 21, 2017, CARICOM Heads have agreed to support this year.
The release stated that ECWECC revolves around opportunities to improve the lives of women, children and adolescents by focusing on four priority issues: teenage pregnancy; violence against women and children (including trafficking in persons); cervical cancer and mother to child transmission of HIV in the Caribbean.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, was singled out for his efforts in promoting the cause of ECWECC.
In the CARICOM press release, it was stated that in July 2016, Prime Minister Harris,who has lead responsibility for Human Resources, Health and HIV, brought the priorities of the ECWECC to the attention of CARICOM Heads at the 37th Regular Meeting in Georgetown, Guyana. The initiative was subsequently endorsed at that meeting.
Assembling for their 28th Inter-sessional Meeting on February 16-17, 2017, in Guyana, the Heads received a report on the initiative from Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Hon. Gaston Browne. Prime Minister Browne had earlier attended the Forum of CARICOM First Ladies and Spouses on the ECWECC initiative, hosted by Guyana’s First Lady, Ms. Sandra Granger, at the Marriott Hotel on 16 February, 2017.
At that Forum, the prime minister cited the less than flattering state of play in the region as it related to the referenced issues, and called for urgent “remedial action” and an accelerated response.
“We leaders of the region must accelerate our response to meaningfully tackle these problems that severely threaten to undermine our human development and contribution of our most precious human resources —our women, girls and children— to the development of this region”, he said; adding that “the economic costs of inattention to the priorities of ECWECC initiative [will] be staggering”.