Close to 200 women on Saba turned up on Saturday evening, March 6 to attend the International Women’s Day event at Tropic’s Café hosted by the Public Entity Saba and Commissioner of Gender Affairs Rolando Wilson.
MC Suzy Guido kicked off the well-attended event with a poem titled “Strength of a Woman,” followed by a strong message for the women who were present. She said that while it was fine to express big sentiments every year about the power of women on the occasion of international women’s day, it was more important for women to uphold each other every day.
“Why is it that after so much awareness and acknowledgment of a woman’s contribution to life, society, family, and work, we still continue to walk in silence amongst each other? Why do we not salute each other’s strength, resilience, and sacrifice at all times?”
Guido pointed out that too many times women were obstacles to women themselves. “We are never smart enough, never pretty or thin enough, never enough. By honoring yourself and treating yourself with respect only then can you set the stage for how others treat you. By supporting women, true women empowerment will not only be on March 8, but every single day.”
Commissioner Wilson looked back at the past year which was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. “It has not been an easy time. Mothers and women, in general, had to take the lead in their homes to keep the peace and sanity. Women came together to pray for strength, guidance, and patience. They gathered to find ways and means to assist each other and others in the community.”
This year’s theme of international women’s day, ‘Women and leadership, achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world,’ was very appropriate, said Wilson. He noted that all women were a leader in their own way by making things happen, by being a positive role model and by working together for a better tomorrow for all. “You are cherished, honored, valued, and appreciated for the many contributions you have made.”
Guest speaker Anne-Marie Blaise, care coordinator at the Sacred Heart School gave a powerful speech about leadership. “Celebrate your achievements, say positive words to yourself every day. You have been born for a purpose. Everything about you is a force to be reckoned with.” She said that strong women were made by the storms that they have walked through. She urged women to use that strength in a positive way.
Women, Blaise said, have an indestructible strength to get through and to get over. Speaking about effective leadership, she said that an effective leader tried to inspire others, aspired to equality. An effective leader was civil-minded, ethical, concerned for others, and showed respect for everyone regardless of gender, race or education.
Four women who made great contributions to Saba’s society received an award during the event. Lynn Costenaro was honored for her contribution to the dive sector and tourism in general. Successful entrepreneur Alida Heilbron received an award, as did Helen Gumbs for her contribution to social housing and Diane Wilson for her contribution to education. Not present to receive an award were: Carmen Caines (hospitality and service sector) and Joanna Hurtault (transportation).
The Public Entity and the organizing committee thanked the sponsors for making prizes available: Big Rock Engineering, Satel, Chez Bubba, Island Flavor, Unique Supermarket, Everyt’ings, Long Haul Bar and Restaurant, E&H Home Center, Ana’s Beauty Salon, Ericka’s Harmony Spa, Bizzy B and Brigadoon Restaurant.