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Georgetown, Guyana was the chosen location for the Forum convened by First Ladies and Spouses of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on 16 February 2017. Held under the theme “Every Caribbean Woman, Every Caribbean Child”, the Forum targeted a joint consensus on key priorities and strategies for implementing a programme of work to enhance the health and well-being of Caribbean women and children. Participating government officials from across the Caribbean region included the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Ministers of Foreign Affairs from Jamaica and Suriname, Minister of Social Protection from Guyana, First Ladies from Guyana, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti as well as the Senior Vice President of Gilead.   

As part of their public outreach activities, the First Ladies visited Sophia Health Centre in Guyana and engaged with teenage mothers and staff at the institution. The visit was organised by the First Lady of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Ms. Sandra Granger and the Minister of Public Health, Ms. Volda Lawrence. The First Ladies of the Caribbean expressed their commitment to this coordinated regional partnership aimed at forging improvements in gender equality and empowering the lives of our Caribbean women and children.


The following concrete decisions were made at the Forum:

  • Establishing a Caribbean First Ladies/Spouses Network to champion the ECWECC Initiative and other activities in keeping with 2030 Sustainable Development Goals #5 empowering women, girls and adolescents. 


  • Charging the Consultation Agencies, as a follow up to the Forum, to produce a report on the critical steps, goals timelines and funding required to complete the ECWECC Commitment for presentation to development partners including to corporate donors of the Clinton Global Initiative in March/April, 2017.


  • Requesting the Honourable Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda to urge his Colleague CARICOM Heads of Government to support this Initiative which focuses on the reduction of teenage pregnancy, cervical cancer, violence against women and children, and the elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV in the Caribbean.

Mr Marvin Gunter, SRO/HIV AIDS Officer at the UNFPA Caribbean Office in Jamaica, was in attendance at the Forum and shared his views on the event. “What impacted me was the personal interest and dedication these First Ladies had regarding the need to find resolutions to these problematic issues in their countries. They declared that their role was not limited to accompanying their husbands to meetings but that they are powerful forces capable of influencing change in many areas of national life. They re-affirmed the power of 1 woman in making a difference and pledged to challenge some of these controversial cultural norms that undermine the health of women and girls”, said Mr. Gunter.