Philipsburg, Sint Maarten – On Wednesday, February 24th, a Candelight vigil was held in the honor of the late Rhonda Thomas, a school teacher of the Methodist Agogic Center who was brutally murdered on February 14, 2021, in a domestic violence case. Prime Minister Silveria E. Jacobs, Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson and Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport drs. RodolpheSamuel were amongst the attendees at the event held at the Carib Lumber Ball Park to show their support for ending violence against women and girls.
Prime Minister Jacobs shared a few words with attendees calling them to action. She said, “Stand together against violence – Break the Silence. Tell your story, and tell her story so that we can learn the pitfalls and avoid them.”
“Train our children to respect each other, there is no Love in violence. Mothers come together to teach our daughters to love themselves too much to tolerate violence. Train our boys to love and respect women. We must break the cycles of violence in our families and community. Let her death not be in vain – try to find the lesson and grow,” she continued.
While standing with the late Ms. Thomas’ daughter, the Minister Richardson said, “I wish to not focus on the malicious act during this candlelight vigil, but instead wish to beautifully celebrate and honor the life and light of Ms. Rhonda Thomas. I continuously stress the importance of tackling domestic violence on the island and together with the Honorable Minister of VSA, Mr. Panneflek,we have set the enactment of the Domestic Violence (DV) Policy to a high level of importance. May God give us all the strength we need as we journey through the emotions of this great loss.”
“Teaching is beautiful; it is the work of Heart. We stand in solidarity with you against violence to women and violence to all,” stated Minister Samuel as he addressed the attendees of the event.
The Ministers expressed condolences to her daughters, family, students, and friends of the late Ms. Thomas, and reaffirmed Government’s commitment to the eradication of violence, especially against women and girls on St. Maarten.