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Thursday, 22 March 2012 00:00

Graduating Class Women in Politics Cohort IIIThere was much to celebrate on Wednesday, March 21, 2012, as 16 women from the Women in Politics WIP Program (WIP) were awarded certificates during their graduation ceremony, held at the Belize Best Western Biltmore Plaza.

This cohort marks the third to graduate from this program.  Cohort 3 started with 20 women participants; 6 successful completed the 13-week program. 

The graduation ceremony was very welcoming, informative and high-spirited as guest speakers took to the stage and songs were sung by St. Luke’s Methodist Choir.  One cohort 3 participant, Melanie Nicole Price, told the audience during her graduate reflection that she will be entering the political arena at the next General Elections.  Price also divulged that her aspiration for political office will lead her in pursuing the title of the first woman Prime Minister of Belize.

Price, during an interview with us, said that despite being born to Belizean parents overseas, she returned to Belize over a decade ago to make a difference in her society.  She explained that it was her mother who, from an early age, encouraged her to become a leader.

Price spoke on her experience as a participant in the WIP program, “I feel happy. I feel blessed. I feel I’ve achieved a goal that was 12 years in the making.  It is 12 years ago that my mom told me, ‘you need to go to Belize and contribute what you can; based on your education and life experience, and give back to your country.’”

“These programs, like WIP, are critical because, one, most of us are operating out of ignorance; we don’t have adequate information to even make qualified, capable decisions especially in relation to politics in Belize.”

“The Women in Politics is the number one program in the country to support people in figuring out what is of most importance in relation to being a political leader”.

The project manager of WIP, Ann-Marie Williams, commented on the importance of these programs in facilitating political aspirants with the proper knowledge about politics here in Belize.  Williams said, “This is one of its (WIP) mission to raise a critical mass of women for the highest level of political leadership in Belize”.

So far 98 women have been trained through this program; eight of the women have entered the political arena .  Williams continued, “It’s an opportunity for those, who truly express an interest standing for elections, to get a basic foundation and what we feel is requisite training for them to be prepared when they are ready to represent us as a nation”.

We also asked Williams how she is feeling seeing her students graduate from the program. She said, “It is one of mixed emotions, a lot of pride.  Pride in the fact that these women came and stayed the course and today they are here.
“It thrills me to see women live up to their full potential”.