Kingston, 13 December 2022 – “Today we create history,” said the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, as the House of Representatives approved her motion for the establishment of a Caucus of Women Parliamentarians from both chambers and all parties.
Members of Parliament gave their approval on Tuesday (today) at the end of the debate on the motion which called for the amendment of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives to allow the Caucus to be established as a Sessional Select Committee to sit jointly with a similarly comprised committee from the Senate.
Closing the debate, Minister Grange said “Today we celebrate our bridging the political divide as we establish this Bicameral Caucus, demonstrating to our women all over Jamaica that women can come together, eliminating all man- made or woman-made obstacles, and work together to achieve a common cause.”
The Minister has been emphasising the value of the Caucus which she said would not only provide a space for all women in parliament to discuss issues of women’s rights and gender equality but would enable women to “undertake actions to positively impact the inclusiveness of the legislature, legislative process and our country as a whole.”
Minister Grange said it was important for it to be a women’s caucus.
“There was discussion on this being a women’s caucus as opposed to a gender caucus. We agreed that while the issues of men are of concern, it is critical for us to first zone in on some unresolved matters concerning women in Jamaica’s legislative agenda. As Gender Minister, I assure you that we are zoning in on the needs of our men and they will be fully integrated into our gender agenda.”
The approval of the motion by Members of Parliament is a major step towards establishing the Caucus, however a few steps remain. The Standing Orders
Committee of the House of Representatives will now consider the proposal and report back to the House. There will also have to be a similar approval process in the Senate which has to give the nod for its members to sit jointly with Members of Parliament.
Anticipating the approval of the Senate, Minister Grange said she was “excited by the prospect of shared responsibility and the collaborative search for solutions that underpin the Bicameral Caucus.”