On Thursday, February 14, 2019, the U.S. Embassy hosted the launch of Marie Sharp's brand new "Pure Love" pineapple habanero pepper sauce that aspires to combat gender-based violence. The proceeds of the sale of "Pure Love" will go to Haven House - a non-profit domestic violence shelter--directly benefiting victims of gender-based violence and empowering them to take control and positively transform their lives.
The event, themed "Combating Gender-Based Violence through Partnership," featured remarks by the U.S. Chargé d'Affaires, a.i. Keith Gilges, Governor General of Belize, His Excellency Sir Colville Young, Special Envoy for Women and Children Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, Mrs. Marie Sharp, and President of the Board of Directors of Haven House Dr. Sharmayne Saunders.
Chargé Gilges stated, "Women's empowerment and ending gender-based violence are cornerstones of U.S. foreign policy and our Embasy's priorities here in Belize. Ending gender-based violence is critical to building resilient, democractic communities, supporting open and accountable governance, ending extreme poverty, and fostering vibrant economies and citizen security." Gilges emphasized the importance of strong partnerships: "There is strength in unity. We must come together if we are serious about defeating the scourge of gender-based violence."
At the launch, Mrs, Kim Simplis Barrow took the opportunity to voice that, “This hot sauce is much more than just a bottle with a mixture we love. This bottle represents an entirely new approach with a completely dynamic angle. I HOPE it will fuel us to understand the magnitude of gender based violence and how much of an impact it has on the ENTIRE society. This sauce signifies a communal support to survivors, to those still being directly affected, and to those whose lives were taken. While its size is small, the visible and steady reminder of the message it carries will enter the homes and establishments of many Belizeans and I am confident that it will make a tremendous impact.”
The partnership behind "Pure Love" goes beyond the U.S. Embassy, Marie Sharp's Fine Foods Ltd., and Haven House. Ms. Caity Tillett, a gifted Belizean student, designed the winning label for the new product. Ms. Alida Sharp and Mr. Mervin Budram, musical artists from Belmopan, amplified the anti-violence message through their original musical compositions.