Nadisha Hunter, Gleaner Writer
St Michael, Barbados:
Popular dancehall entertainer Bounty Killer, who has recently been dragged before the courts after multiple altercations with female companions, is among a number of Caribbean artistes who have pledged their support to the eradication of violence against women in the region.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Olivia 'Babsy' Grange made the announcement during the Caribbean launch of the UNiTE campaign to end violence against women, held at the Hilton Barbados this week.
Grange said Bounty Killer, whose real name is Rodney Pryce, had sent a message to her while she was at the conference, stating that he wanted to turn a new page in his life and was willing to be part of any programme that addresses the issue of violence against women.
Messages of change
The United Nations Secretary General's campaign has been using Caribbean artistes to convey messages for a change from the form of abuse which continues to increase in the region.
Grange, who was chairing a panel on Caribbean artistes at the conference, said using artistes to convey the message for a transformed society was a positive move which would reap success.
"There is no doubt that if you want to increase public awareness and social mobilisation you have to use music," she said.
Dominican artiste Nelly Stharre expressed her delight for the opportunity to contribute to the change in society.
She said artistes can make a difference through music by conveying the right messages in music.
"A lot of time artistes don't understand the opportunity and responsibility we have to make a difference in society, more effective than our parents and teachers, even politicians," she said.
Hard work ahead
Stharre noted that it would take hard work and determination to tackle the problem which has been plaguing society for so long.
Adisa Jelani Andwele, an artiste who is a United Nations Develop-ment Fund spokesperson for peace and poverty eradication, and reggae artiste Masud Sadiki from St Kitts, are also working with the group.
The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) said artistes, due to their power of voice and personality, can make a tremendous contribution to the campaign by educating and sensitising everyone who needs to join in the fight to end gender-based violence.
In the meantime, UNIFEM has pledged to work along with the 'Sisters for Sisters' and the 'Brothers for Sisters' programme in Jamaica, as well as several artistes, to extend their cultural Caribbean Artistes UNiTE to the island.