Sis. Judy Williams – a national and regional civil society leader and icon, a champion of the marginalized and dispossessed – transitioned on Thursday, April 21st.
Judy was the Secretary-General of the Grenada Community Development Agency (GRENCODA) and also convenor of the Grouping of Civil Society Organisations.
Judy dedicated her life to improving the welfare of the disadvantaged and marginalised and to the development and empowerment of people. She founded GRENCODA in 1986.
Nationally, regionally and internationally, working with other organisations and networks, Judy championed the cause of social justice, inclusion and participation of citizens in local and national decision-making processes, sustainable livelihoods and sustainable development.
She advocated and lobbied for policies and programmes that were people-centred – addressing the issues of “real people” she would say.
Her efforts also contributed to the formation of a number of these organisations/networks. Among them were: – the Inter Agency Group of Development Organisations: the National Coalition of the Rights of the Child; Grenada National Organisation of Women; the Grouping of Civil Society Organisations; the Non States Actors Panel; Caribbean People’s Development Agency (CARIPEDA); Caribbean Network for Integrated Rural Development(CNIRD) and the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC).
Judy brought key non-state actors and civil society organisations together to develop the first Code of Political Conduct to Guide the Election Campaign for the January 1999 Elections. Political parties and independent candidates offering themselves for office were invited to publicly affix their signatures to the Code.
It was intended:-
- to provide some standards for political campaigning – “to lift the bar” as it were – shifting from attacks on and derogatory remarks about political adversaries, particularly women;
- to focus on issues affecting citizens/the nation and policies and programmes to address same;
- to create an atmosphere in which citizens could exercise their right and responsibility to vote; and
- to facilitate citizens’ engagement with the candidates through community fora where candidates would present themselves and their proposed policies/programmes and be interrogated by the citizens/electors.
The Code invited public participation in monitoring the candidates’ adherence to the Code. Since the initial Code, civil society participation in its development has broadened. Judy led the process right up to the elections in 2018.
The members and associates of the Grouping of Civil Society Organisations offer condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Judy and to the staff of GRENCODA and the Legal Aid and Counselling Clinic.
We give thanks for her life of selfless service to our nation. We salute her memory and her contribution. May she rest in peace!
Grouping of Civil Society Organisations