SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Tuesday November 19 marks the day when the nation shall pause and join men around the world as they celebrate International’s Men’s Day under the theme “Making a Difference for Men and Boys”.
International Men’s Day, though not on the Global and National policy agenda of observed days it is a day that has been celebrated some thirty years. It was inaugurated back in February 1992 by a Thomas Oaster (Wikipedia). On November 19th, 1999 a University of the West Indies Trinidad & Tobago History lecturer by the name of Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh resuscitated the movement.
The date November 19th was chosen in honor of his father’s birthday. The purpose of this celebration is to shed light on issues affecting men such as: male suicides, men’s health, promote gender equality, promote and improve gender relations, highlight male role models and celebrate the achievements of men and boys, in particular, as it relates to men’s contribution in the areas of child care, family and marriage.
Presently, International Men’s Day is celebrated and observed in approximately 80 countries including some of our Caribbean countries. In the region celebrations are done in Saint Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica and Haiti just to mention a few. Most recently, our next door neighbors Sint Eustatius observed International Men’s Day in 2018 with a gala event.
This year for the Department of Community Development, Family and Humanitarian Affairs, Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, primarily, the Family Unit, took up the mantel to bring awareness to the community about the existence of an International Men’s Day. The observance/awareness will take the form a Man-2-Man discussion. This discussion will be streamed live via the Governments Facebook page on Tuesday November 19th from 7:30 – 9:30 pm. The hope of this observation is to revive a discussion that started within our Community some years ago by some male pioneers. Most recently, Sint Maarten has been faced with the issue of male suicides be it alleged or confirmed, the rise in men being diagnosed with or succumbing to prostate cancer and much more. It is important that these types of discussions take place, not just the discussions for discussing sake but discussions that can lead to possible interventions and policy development.
On behalf of Community Development, Family and Humanitarian Affairs we wish all men and boys on Sint Maarten a Happy International Men’s Day. Be that man or boy who will make the difference within your home, school and community. Happy International Men’s Day!