Patterson Praised As Pioneer For Peace
NASSAU, The Bahamas — Minister of National Security, Dr. Bernard J. Nottage Wednesday commended human rights advocate Dr. Sandra Dean-Patterson and The Bahamas Crisis Centre for “30 years of advocacy and steadfast service” to victims of domestic violence within The Bahamas.
“I take this opportunity to recognise Dr. Sandra Dean-Patterson for the pioneering work she has done in bringing domestic and sexual violence issues to the fore (and) at a time when such subjects were viewed as taboo and largely as private matters taking place within the confines of the home, and not to be discussed publicly,” Dr. Nottage said.
“Dr. Patterson’s perseverance, indomitable spirit and fortitude in keeping the Crisis Centre operational and relevant to the needs of the community these many years is commendable.”
The National Security Minister’s comments came while delivering the Opening Remarks at the start of the Working Sessions for The Bahamas Crisis Centre’s Regional Peace Conference which is being held “in recognition of 30 years of advocacy and service to victims of violence.”
Prime Minister Perry Gladstone Christie delivered the keynote address during the Conference’s Official Opening Ceremony held Tuesday, September 18. The Conference is being held under the theme: “Peace at Home, Peace in Our Community, Creating Partnerships and Solutions to Transform Our Homes and Communities.”
“We have witnessed the Centre’s transition from a fledgling Non-Governmental Organisation known as the Women’s Crisis Centre and focusing on women who were suffering abuse, into The Bahamas Crisis Centre in recognition of the realisation that men also need help from abusive situations,” Dr. Nottage said.
“Today, The Bahamas Crisis Centre stands as a shining example of what care, compassion and the desire to assist others in their time of need is all about.”
Dr. Nottage also commended the Centre’s volunteers and donors – both past and present – for “the unselfish services and financial contributions they make as they give of their resources to assist vulnerable persons in our communities.”
The National Security Minister said the Conference’s focus on Peace in the home and the community was relevant in the fight against domestic violence which he said accounts for 25 per cent of all murders committed within the Caribbean.
“Peace begins at home. This is an idea that many of us hold dear. But for many women, children, elders and families in our community this is not the case,” Dr. Nottage said.
“For too many, home is not a place of safety, security and sanctuary. It is a place where family members or intimate partners use violence and coercion to maintain power and control. That is why this Conference is so relevant with its focus on its theme. At the heart of this Conference is the effort to help stop family violence in our homes and communities,” Dr. Nottage added.
Dr. Nottage said violence and abuse take root in the many types of inequality in society.
“Most at-risk are women, children, youth, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. People in our community are also vulnerable to violence and abuse because of their ethnicity, health, sexual orientation, or economic status. Violence and abuse can be verbal, physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or financial,” Dr. Nottage said.
“This subject is still very much taboo, but it must be the goal of all Bahamians to bring this issue into the open and bring the community together in a collective commitment to end family violence,” Dr. Nottage added.
By Matt Maura
Bahamas Information Services
Caption: Director of The Bahamas Crisis Centre, Dr. Sandra Dean-Patterson, presents Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard J. Nottage with a T-Shirt commemorating the hosting of the 2012 The Bahamas Crisis Centre Regional Peace Conference currently underway in New Providence. Dr. Nottage commended Dr. Dean-Patterson for her “pioneering work” in assisting victim’s of domestic violence within The Bahamas. (BIS Photo/Kristaan Ingraham)abuse, community, society, violence