By Machela Osagboro
Government will be seeking the assistance of the church to address a number of issues that have been affecting males with a view to strengthening family structures in Antigua and Barbuda.
During the post-Cabinet briefing on Thursday, Minister of Information, Melford Nicholas, said that a pastor from the Philippines, who met with the Cabinet on Wednesday, will be holding a two-day seminar starting tonight under the theme, “Becoming A Better Man”.
The sessions, which will be held at the Christian Assembly Ministries in Paynters, aim to equip men of all ages with the tools and strategies necessary to build stronger family units.
“It was agreed that the majority of households in Antigua and Barbuda are single-head-of-household families, led primarily by unmarried women. The ideal family is the nuclear family with two parents present in the household,” the notes from the Cabinet stated.
It added that the role of the church in reshaping families and strengthening social systems will play an integral role.
Nicholas said increased acts of violence being committed by men and some men’s excessive use of illegal substances speak to the need for a greater male presence in the home.
Nicholas opined that men have been dropping the ball and they should be establishing a bigger presence in their children’s lives in order to teach young men social etiquette and norms, and allay social deviance.
Meanwhile, Minister of Social Transformation, Samantha Marshall, told Observer that the seminar was long overdue, saying there were too many women in local society leading the family as well as the workplace.
“We’re asking our men to step up and not to feel marginalised, and to be progressive as our women are. We really want to see our men taking the lead again in the society,” the Minister said.
Marshall said it is the government’s view that the ideal family is the nuclear family and the high number of absentee fathers was translating to an abundance of single-mother households.
“This is something that has been happening for a very long time and what we really want to see is a nuclear family structure, because that is what helps to truly mold our young people.”
The “Becoming a Better Man” seminar will begin at 6.30pm tonight and continue on Saturday.