The 51% Coalition: Women in Partnership for Development and Empowerment – of which Panos Caribbean is a member — has called for sanctions against Member of Parliament Everald Warmington, following utterances he made during a debate in the Lower House on January 19.
“On two occasions, Mr. Warmington referred to fellow Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna as a ‘Jezebel’, a term that is highly offensive to women,” said a statement from the group.
According to 51%, Warmington’s behaviour is not only an insult to the minister and all Jamaican women, but also an indication of his disrespect for the Parliament and the people he serves.
“As an elected Member of Parliament, Mr. Warmington should be setting an example to children, and young men in particular, regarding respectful behaviour – and in particular towards women. It is noteworthy that Mr. Warmington has complained about Ms. Hanna’s attire in the past and has even moved a motion on correct dress for women in the House,” the group said.
“Furthermore Mr. Warmington has become infamous for his inappropriate behaviour, which includes the use of profanity to journalists and using demeaning terminologies such as “garbage” which he used to describe Finance Minister Peter Philips,” they added.
Describing Warmington’s behaviour as “vulgar”, 51% said it has served “to create a toxic atmosphere in the Lower House, where the people’s business is conducted”.
“On this occasion, his abusive response to colleagues, who protested his remarks compounded the problem. In addition this utterance from Mr. Warmington contravenes the intent of the Sexual Harassment Bill, which is to be discussed in Parliament,” they noted.
“An offhand withdrawal of his remarks is not sufficient. The Coalition demands that Mr. Warmington immediately and publicly apologises to Ms. Hanna and to all women representatives present; and to colleagues in the Lower House in general, for bringing the House into disrepute,” they added.
“Furthermore, the Coalition is awaiting an apology to the Jamaican people. It also expects that Opposition Leader Andrew Holness and his colleagues will distance themselves immediately from Mr. Warmington’s reprehensible behaviour and will make clear statements indicating their strong rejection of such language. In light of this persistent behaviour we ask that all applicable Parliamentary Sanctions be enforced on Mr. Warmington,” the group maintained.
In addition to Panos Caribbean, Coalition members include social commentator Judith Wedderburn; independent blogger and social media activity Emma Lewis; gender and development worker Joan Grant Cummings; gender advocate Joan French; Sharon McKenzie; WE-Change; Young Women’s Leadership Initiative; Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre; Jamaica Household Workers’ Union; Women Business Owners; and Women’s Media Watch.
CARICOM’S well prepared and experienced team of negotiators, together with a focused, unified campaign, helped the Caribbean Community get its red line climate change issues represented in the final Agreement at the recently Climate Change conference held in Paris, France.
CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has hailed the strong regional collaboration, given the critical importance of climate change to the islands’ survival.
“We saw our community operating at its best on the international front in Paris,” Ambassador LaRocque stated emphatically as he reflected on the 30 November to 11 December conference that led to the approval of an historic Climate Change Agreement by 195 countries.
“The coordination was superb. I want to say hats off to our negotiators, led by Minister Jimmy [James] Fletcher, Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development in Saint Lucia and of course the role played by all our Ministers and our Heads of Government. I was there feeling very proud. We were of a single mind. We were one body with several parts working together in unison to achieve a set of goals that we had set. We left Paris with our objectives being addressed in the Agreement,” the Secretary-General added.
Minister Fletcher agreed that the coordinated approach strengthened the CARICOM campaign.
“One of the things that made a big difference this time around has been the CARICOM coordination and the presence of the CARICOM Secretary-General. The SG’s presence here, encouraging us, allowing us to caucus, keeping the CARICOM team tight, has made a difference in how focused we’ve been and in ensuring that it’s the CARICOM position, and not just Member States’, that came across,” he said.
The view was also supported by Haiti’s lead Advisor and negotiator, Mr. Renald Luberice.
“I was very impressed to see the political involvement of CARICOM in support of CARICOM country delegations. This is the first time I’m seeing CARICOM being involved in this manner and it sent a very good signal,” Mr. Luberice said on the sidelines of the Conference.
CARICOM Heads of Government had set up a Task Force just over two years ago, under Minister Fletcher’s chairmanship and including representatives from Member States, to handle a series of important international engagements, including COP21. This Task Force of expert negotiators has since been constantly engaged in intensive negotiating sessions, including five meetings this year in France.
As many as seven CARICOM Heads of Government, including the Chairman, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart of Barbados and the Lead Head of Government on Sustainable Development, Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony of Saint Lucia, made their presence felt at the start of the conference, setting the political objectives and giving directions to the Ministers and technical negotiators.
They helped to mobilise third-party support for CARICOM positions through direct engagements, including a series of high-level bilateral meetings. Prime Ministers Stuart and Anthony led the Region’s engagements with the United States President and the UN Secretary-General.
The CARICOM campaign, with its popular mantra “1.5 to Stay Alive” successfully promoted the ‘temperature rise’ and a short-list of other critical issues to the Region. The long-term temperature goal was pushed as an existential issue for the Region, and CARICOM negotiators were able to influence a number of countries in hard negotiations, to have language included in the final text, which takes account of the 1.5 degrees option.
“Going into Paris we had an uphill battle against those whose ambition rested on 2 degrees and for us that was just not acceptable, that was a red line for us. We were seeking 1.5 degrees or below. We came out of there with language which has set the long term goal of 1.5 with periods of taking stock every five years of where we are, in terms of countries contribution to mitigation, and to use every stock-take period to ensure we ratchet up the ambition to the point where we reach 1.5,” the Secretary-General noted.
“For quite some time we’ve been talking about the impact of climate change on our Community; that it’s an existential issue for us; that it’s not something that is coming, it is something that we are experiencing now. We’ve had some really odd and extreme weather events in several of our Member States – Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, The Bahamas. So we have begun to feel the impact of climate change. We have also seen coral bleaching which is a significant issue for us as it has an impact on the marine food chain and will eventually have an impact on our fisheries sector. So for us this Agreement is significant,” he added.
The CARICOM negotiators also addressed the special circumstances for the financing of the implementation activities in Small Island and low-lying Developing States, SIDS, and the text includes a baseline contribution of 100 Billion USD annually. The negotiators regarded the discussions on Loss and Damage arising from slow onset climate impacts as being among the most difficult in the negotiations.
In the end, the Region was able to get what it wanted – separate treatment of Loss and Damage (apart from Adaptation) in the Agreement and the permanent housing of the international mechanism to address Loss and Damage. The Region’s position on REDD Plus (forest conservation) is also reflected in the language of the text. This is of particular significance to Guyana and Suriname, as well as other Member States with forested areas.
The Caribbean Community now faces the challenge to use the Agreement as the basis for future climate action.
“There is lots to be done,” Ambassador LaRocque has noted.
“We need to ratchet up our capacity both at the regional level and the national level. We are saying there are resources that can be available to us and we need to be able to access those resources,” he added.
The Secretary-General said the Region will have to take steps towards both adaptation and mitigation.
“A critical part of mitigation for us is renewable energy, and there is a lot of investment required in this area. We recently put in place a renewable energy centre that should be operational in the new year and will also be a hands-on technical facility for Member States to allow them to realise the tremendous potential we have in geo thermal, hydro and other areas.”
“On the adaptation side, a lot needs to be done to adapt our entire countries to the effect of climate change. We must also be able to have the capacity to prepare for those, whether it’s the case of preparing projects or engineering. It’s a whole slew or areas. The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), set up since 2005 to coordinate the Region’s response to Climate Change, will have a critical role in coordinating that effort among our Member States.”
FOR the first time ever, the Caribbean has a designated space at the international climate talks — one designed to facilitate deliberation on emergent issues while providing a taste of the region and its offerings to the world.
It has been made possible through the collaborative efforts of Caribbean partners, notably the Caribbean Development Bank, the Regional Council of Martinique, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, Panos Caribbean, the Saint Lucia Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science, and Technology, and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.
“The Pavilion provides a space for coordination, the sharing of experiences, consultation with like-minded partners, and for developing a greater awareness of the Caribbean’s experience with climate change,” noted Sharon Lindo, policy advisor with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre.
“It is the avenue for the countries that are washed by the Caribbean Sea to engage with the world,” she added.
The Pavilion — a home for Caribbean negotiators for the next two weeks — forms a part of the region’s ‘1.5 to Stay Alive’ campaign.
The campaign is intended to bolster the region’s negotiating positions at the talks, which constitute the 21st meeting of Conference of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, being held in Paris.
Caribbean negotiators are intent on a 1.5 degrees Celsius target as a cap in global temperature increases below pre-industrial levels. They want, too, provisions for loss and damage associated with climate change as well as, among other things, new, adequate and predictable financing for adaptation.
Meanwhile, after only one day, the Caribbean Pavilion has seen considerable action, with more expected in the coming days.
“A side event on energy has been held here while several delegations and organizations of the Caribbean have used the space for bilateral meetings and coordination. They have also used it for the sharing of a wealth of information through actual documentation and visuals,” Lindo noted.
“The coming days will see an expanding of the same. Towards the end of the second week, it is expected to offer delegations a space to come together and resolve critical issues,” she added.
Since its launch in Saint Lucia in October, the ‘1.5 To Stay Alive’ campaign has gained momentum, with the implementation of a variety of activities.
Those activities have included the launch of its Facebook page, website (www.1point5.info) and Twitter account (@1point5OK) that have attracted hundreds of followers and the ‘1.5 Selfie Video’ Challenge (http://www.1point5.info/actscentral).
In addition, there have been a number of creative outputs from artists, including Jonathan Gladding, out of Saint Lucia, who has done a painting that bears the name of the campaign; and the production of a ‘1.5 To Stay Alive’ campaign theme song.
The song — available at https://soundcloud.com/panos-caribbean — was the work of Kendel Hippolyte and Ronald Boo Hinkson, with the voices of Banky Banx, BelO, Kendel Hippolyte, E.sy Kennenga, Jessy Leonce, Ace Loctar, Shayne Ross, David Rudder, Aaron Silk, Taj Weekes, and Deridee Williams.
A group of Voices for Climate Change Education artistes got together recently to create a spectacle inside Kingston’s Half Way Tree — all in aid of the ‘1.5 To Stay Alive’ campaign.
The campaign, which has a variety of elements, including the mobilization of artists across the region, is intended to bolster the Caribbean position at the international climate talks, which got underway today (Nov 30).
The participating artistes included:
• Heather Harding, stage name ‘Boom Dawn’
• Stephan Bygrave, stage name ‘Colah’
• McHuel Prince, stage name ‘Black Dice’
• Oneil Scott, stage name ‘Nazzle’
• Movack Hemmings; and
• Minori Russell
Russell kicked things off yelling ‘1.5 to stay alive!’ while impersonating a mentally ill woman. Her act was followed by those of the other artistes who them selves yelled ‘1.5 to Stay Alive’ before delivering a number of key climate messages.
Those messages— all context-specific — included:
• ‘Fix the bus engine weh a pollute’;
• ‘Lock off the light and turn off the pipe when not in use’;
• ‘Stop light the Riverton dump’; and, critically,
• ‘Nuh weh no betta than yard’.
The ‘mob’ concluded with the performance of the theme song ‘ Global Warning’, which was authored by singer/songwriter Lovindeer, who is himself a member of the Voices for Climate Change Education group. The song was among six done as part of a mini-album released in 2010.
Their actions — coordinated by a team from Panos Caribbean, which is handling communications for the campaign — drew the eyes of several people inside Half Way Tree even staged as it was on the evening of Friday, November 20.
“I believe in this project and climate change is near and dear to my heart so when this opportunity came up, I feel grateful to be a part of it, to show the world that we as artists really care about this cause,” said Colah.
Meanwhile, since its October launch, the ‘1.5 To Stay Alive’ campaign has gained momentum, with the implementation of a range of activities — from the launch of its Facebook page (www.1point5.info) and Twitter account (@1point5OK) that have attracted hundreds of followers to the ‘1.5 Selfie Video’ challenge (http://www.1point5.info/actscentral).
These are also a range of creative outputs from artists, including Jonathan Guy-Gladding, out of Saint Lucia, who has done a painting titled ‘1.5 To Stay Alive’.
CARIBBEAN acts have released a theme song that calls on the world to recognise and respect the legitimate claims of small islands in the face of climate change.
The song — available at https://soundcloud.com/panos-caribbean – was released on the back of the official opening of the international negotiations on climate change in Paris on Monday. It is to accompany and support the efforts of Caribbean delegates in what could be difficult negotiations over the next two weeks.
With lyrics written by poet Kendel Hippolyte and music composed and produced by Ronald Boo Hinkson, the song stresses the need for greater climate justice and for a shared commitment to combat climate change.
This project has brought together several of the Caribbean’s greatest and most conscientious artists and artistes, as part of a regional campaign spearheaded by Panos Caribbean in collaboration with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and other regional partners.
Artistes on the song include Banky Banx from Anguilla, BelO from Haiti, E.sy Kennenga from Martinique, Jessy Leonce, Ace Loctar and Shayne Ross from Saint Lucia, David Rudder from Trinidad, Aaron Silk from Jamaica, and Taj Weekes and Deridee Williams from Saint Lucia.
“How the song all came together is still astounding,” says Kendel Hippolyte. “Each person gave time, gave talent, gave art, gave heart. For Caribbean civilisation — because that’s what we’re fighting to save and pass on.”
Over the past few weeks, under the motto “1.5 to Stay Alive”, artists, artistes, media workers, civil society organisations and government officials have worked together to raise awareness of the importance of the negotiations now taking place in Paris and of their major implications for the Caribbean.
One of the messages conveyed in this campaign, which was launched by Saint Lucia’s Minister of Sustainable Development Dr James Fletcher in October, is the need for the Paris conference to deliver a legally binding agreement, a transparent and verifiable agreement that limits carbon emissions and ensures that global temperatures do not rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The campaign also seeks to highlight the fact that it is the poorest countries, communities and people who are the most vulnerable to climate change, and that the fight against climate change is also the fight against poverty and for social justice.