Breaking the bias was the theme as CIBC FirstCaribbean, Antigua celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD), 2022.
Three female farmers were celebrated and awarded with $5,000 each by the bank at a short ceremony attended by the farmers and Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries & Barbuda Affairs, Hon. Samantha Marshall.
Country Head, Ladesa James-Williams, said that the bank based its decision this year on an explanation of the theme on the official IWD website – “Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #Break the bias. Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.”
She said that in today’s Covid world, food production and food security have become even more important and our female farmers are playing a leading role in ensuring that we increase our food production.
“So, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, CIBC FirstCaribbean is honoured and privileged to be able to present $5,000 each to three of our top female farmers, Katyann Burnette, a poultry farmer; Erica Phillip, a crop farmer and Slyveneta Charles, a beekeeper. We trust that these funds will assist them as they continue to work for the benefit of all of us. It is even more commendable that our poultry farmer Katyann is just 19 years old. Congratulations.”
In her remarks, Minister Marshall congratulated the bank for recognising the importance of food production and security and for recognising the role being played by female farmers.
“As we observe International Women’s Say, CIBC FirstCaribbean is true to the theme – “Break the bias”, by rewarding and recognising our hard-working and dedicated female farmers. Hopefully, this will serve to inspire others.”
Crop farmer, Erica Phillip thanked the bank and added that the funds will assist her to expand her farm. At the moment her crops include cassava, papaya, pumpkins, sorrel in season, lemons and she is hoping to expand to more fruit crops.
Beekeeper Slyveneta Charles also thanked the bank and noted that beekeeping is growing in leaps and bounds in Antigua.
“ We received funding from Integrated Health Outreach and the Beekeepers Association was able to host two workshops. The first one graduated 29 women and the current one, which is ongoing will graduate a further 31 potential beekeepers.”
Poultry farmer Katyann Burnette also thanked the bank for its wonderful gift and noted that at the moment she is only rearing layers but hoped to expand to broilers or meat birds.
Members of the CIBC FirstCaribbean will tour Erica Phillip’s crop farm at Orange Valley on Thursday to get hands-on experience of farming.