RAISE YOUR VOICE SAINT LUCIA CONSTITUTION

 1.         Name    

             “Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia Inc’’

 Mission

Estimated reported cases of domestic violence, child sexual abuse and maltreatment, rape of women and children, and human rights violations have all increased over the last few years in St. Lucia. Although official figures are not available this is estimated by the number of reported cases lodged with the Police, Family Court, Magistrate Courts and various social agencies.

Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia Inc is an organization determined to empower women and children by educating and empowering them about their legal rights, providing support to the reporting of offences, rebuilding lives, and to make sure perpetrators are brought to justice. We all need to do more to prevent violence against women and children and to make our nation a safe place where children can grow and ultimately reach their highest potential.

Raise Your Voice approach to raising awareness is based on the Beijing Platform established by the United Nations in 1995 and focuses on ending violence against women and children

2.         Aims


To improve assist and empower women and children of their rights and opportunities to live better, safer and fuller lives. Raise your Voice Saint Lucia Inc  recognises women as the backbone of our society and aims at promoting income generating activities, trainings and skills acquisition, and advocacy of basic human rights and privileges; 
To achieve gender equality by educating our society through seminars, conferences, workshops and ;public education campaigns  involving civil society, health profession and other like minded organisations whose aim is the empowerment of women and children;
To create awareness of shortcoming in agencies mandated to enforce the rights of women and children;

3.         Objectives

Educate women, children and men on issues of women and children’s rights in an effort to reduce domestic violence, rape, and child abuse and maltreatment among women and children through public advocacy, human rights awareness campaigns, economic empowerment, and capacity building.

Advocate against violation of children and women’s right through education, public educations campaigns, lobbying of policy makers, legislators and parliamentarians;

Empowerment of women in leadership through training, mentoring and study tours to other like minded NGO’s;

Raise funds and receive contributions where appropriate to finance the work programme of Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia Inc.

Raise awareness and inspire understanding of problems related to gender based violence,  the impact of domestic violence on children’s emotional and psychological wellbeing and to empower women in actively participating in development and social change that would enable a more stable home environment for children;

4.         Membership


 (a)        Membership of Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia shall be open to persons particularly women who are interested in promoting empowerment of women and children and contribute to the stated aims and objectives of the organisation;

(b)        Every registered and financial member shall have one vote at general meetings;

(c)        The Executive Committee shall have the power to refuse membership to an applicant, where it is considered such membership would be detrimental to the aims and objectives of the organisation;

(d)       The Executive Committee shall have the power to termination of membership of a member if it is deemed that such member is detrimental to the aims and objectives of the organisation;

Any member of the organisation may resign their membership, by giving the secretary written notice to that effect.
The Executive Committee may, by resolution, terminate or suspend the membership of any member, if in its opinion their conduct is prejudicial to the interests and objects of the Organisation, PROVIDED THAT the individual member or representative of the member organisation (as the case may be) shall have the right to be heard by the Executive Committee before the final decision is made.  There shall be a right of appeal to an independent arbitrator appointed by mutual agreement.

5.         Executive

(a)        Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia Inc shall be administered by an Executive Committee of not less than six (6) members and not more than fourteen (14) members elected at the group’s Annual General Meeting, Executive Committee Members must be eighteen (18) years or older.

(b)        The officers of the Executive Committee shall be:

The President
The Vice President
The Treasurer
Three Directors (3)
The Secretary
The Assistant Secretary
The Public Relation Officer
Two (2) Floor Reps.

 (c)        The Executive Committee shall meet once per month or as necessary to conduct the business of the organisation;

(d)       At least six (6) Executive Committee members must be present to form a quorum for the Executive Committee to convene a meeting;

(e)       Voting at Executive Committee meetings shall be by show of hands on a majority basis.  If there is a tied vote then the chairperson shall have a second vote.

(f)        The Executive Committee shall set up sub-committees and working groups as necessary;

6.         Finance

(a)        Money obtained by the organisation shall be used only for its projects, administration including rental and equipment to meet its mandate;

(b)        The organisation’s bank account shall be in the name of Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia Inc;

(c)        Cheques shall be signed by any two (2) nominated signatories;

(d)       The Executive Committee will each year draw up a detailed budget and a sub budget for monthly expenses, every credit or debit will be recorded in a database maintained by the Treasurer;

(e)        The Treasurer must submit a comprehensive financial statement each year and a financial report on expenses for each months at Executive Meetings;

7.         Committee Meetings

Sub-Committees shall meet once every month or as necessary to conduct the business of the organisation;
During Project implementation or any other urgent situation Committees shall meet as often as is necessary;
The committee shall be accountable to the Executive Committee;
All meetings must be recorded and available to any interested party.
All committee members shall be given at least seven (7) days’ notice of a meeting unless it is deemed an emergency meeting.

8.         General Meetings

(a)        The executive committee shall host at least one general meeting per year, to give account of its activities and stewardship;                  

(b)        The President shall chair these meetings; in the absence of the President the Vice President shall chair the meeting;

(c)        At least fourteen (14) days’ notice of such a meeting must be given and advertised in at least three (3) public places.

(d)       All meetings, including AGMs, must be recorded and available to any interested party.

(e)        The quorum for a General Meeting is eighteen (18).

9.         Annual General Meeting

Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia Inc shall hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) every two years;
Where possible members shall be notified personally via email or social media, otherwise notice will be deemed served by advertising the meetings in at least three public places and giving at least fourteen (14) days’ notice;

(c)        The business of the AGM shall include:

Tabling the President’s report on all activities over the previous year.
Receiving a report and presentation of financial activities for the previous year from the Treasurer;
Ratifying the Executive Committee and/or Electing a new Executive Committee;
Considering any other matter as may be appropriate at such a meeting.

(d)       The quorum for Annual General Meeting shall be at least eight (18) persons of which no more than six (6) shall be committee members.

10.       Alteration of the Constitution

Proposals for amendments to this constitution or dissolution must be delivered to the secretary in writing;
The secretary in conjunction with all other designated officers shall decide on the date of a forum meeting to discuss such proposals, giving at least four weeks (28 days) clear notice;

Any changes to this constitution must be agreed by at least two thirds of those financial members present and voting at any general meeting.

11.       Dissolution

            The group may be wound up at any time if agreed by two thirds of those members present and voting at any general meeting.  Any assets shall be returned to their providers, if they require it, or shall be passed to another group with similar aims.

 12.       Adoption of the Constitution

This constitution was adopted by the members present at the AGM held on:

February 20th, 2014

4. LEGAL STATUS

The organization is a body corporate with its own legal identity which is separate from its individual members.
The organization shall continue to exist even if the members change.
The organization may own property, enter into contracts, and sue or be sued in its own name.

5. NON-PROFIT DISTRIBUTING CHARACTER

The income and property of the Organisation shall be used solely for the promotion of its stated objectives. The members and the office-bearers shall have no rights to the property or other assets of the Organisation. No portion of the income or property of the Organisation shall be paid or distributed directly or indirectly to any person (otherwise than in the ordinary course of undertaking any public benefit activity) or to any member of the Organisation or Executive Committee, except as:

Reasonable compensation for services actually rendered to the Organisation;
Reimbursement of actual costs or expenses reasonably incurred on behalf of the Organisation;

Upon the dissolution of the Organisation, after all debts and commitments have been paid, any remaining assets shall not be paid to or distributed amongst members, but shall be transferred by donation to some other non-profit organisation which the Executive Committee (and failing which any division of the High Court) considers appropriate and which has objectives the same or similar to the objectives of the Organisation;

3.         The Organisation intends to apply to the Comptroller of Inland Revenue for Saint Lucia for exemption from appropriate taxes and duties, in compliance with the provisions of the Income Tax Act.

Annual Narrative Report and Financial Statements

The Executive Committee shall ensure that the Organisation prepares an annual narrative report describing the Organisation’s activities and an Annual Financial Statement for each financial year. The Annual Financial Statements shall conform to generally accepted accounting principles and shall include a statement of income and expenditure and a balance sheet of assets and liabilities.
Within two (2) months after drawing up the Annual Financial Statements, the Executive Committee shall ensure that:

The Organization arranges for an accounting officer to certify that the annual financial statements are consistent with the financial records of the Organization and that its accounting policies are appropriate and have been appropriately applied in the preparation of its financial statements.

A copy of the Annual Financial Statements and annual narrative report shall be made available to all members as soon as possible after the close of the 11.

INDEMNITY

Subject to the provisions of any relevant statute, members of the Executive Committee and other office bearers shall be indemnified by the Organisation for all acts done by them in good faith on its behalf. It shall be the duty of the Organisation to pay all costs and expenses which any such person incurs or becomes liable for as a result of any contract entered into, or act done by him or her, in his or her said capacity, in the discharge, in good faith, of his or her duties on behalf of the Organisation.
Subject to the provisions of any relevant statute, no member of the Executive Committee and or other office bearer of the Organisation shall be liable for the acts, receipts, neglects or defaults of any other member or office bearer, or for any loss, damage or expense suffered by the Organisation, which occurs in the execution of the duties of his or her office, unless it arises as a result of his or her dishonesty, or failure to exercise the degree of care, diligence and skill required by law.

12. DISPUTES

In the event of a serious disagreement between the members of the Executive Committee and/or the Organisation regarding the interpretation of this constitution then any two (2) Executive Committee members or any five (5) members of the Organisation shall be entitled to declare a dispute. Such declaration shall be in writing, state the issue in dispute, and is addressed to the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee shall consider such declaration within two (2) weeks of receiving it. Should the Executive Committee not be able to resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of the person(s) declaring it, the dispute shall be referred either to a mediator or arbitrator.
Should the dispute be referred to a mediator, the person(s) declaring the dispute and the Executive Committee must agree on a suitable mediator and to the costs of such mediation. A mediator may recommend an appropriate resolution of the dispute.
In the absence of agreement regarding a mediator or should mediation not resolve the dispute, the dispute shall be referred to arbitration. The arbitrator shall be such suitably qualified person/s as the person(s) declaring the dispute and the Executive Committee may mutually agree. Alternatively, each of the parties shall be entitled to nominate one arbitrator, who shall act jointly with a third person to be nominated jointly by the respective nominees of the parties; on the basis that a majority decision of the appointed arbitrators shall be final and binding.
The arbitration shall be held on an informal basis, and the arbitrator shall have the power to determine the procedure to be adopted subject to principles of natural justice.
The arbitrator may base her/his award not only upon the applicable law but also upon the principles of equity and fairness.
The person(s) declaring the dispute and the Executive Committee, beforehand, may agree to share the costs of the arbitration. In the absence of such agreement the arbitrator shall decide which parties shall be liable for the costs.
The decision of the arbitrator shall be final and binding upon all parties and capable of being made an Order of Court on application by any of them.

GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE POWERS

To employ staff and hire professional and other services.
To institute or defend any legal or arbitration proceedings and to settle any claims made by or against the Organisation;
To open and operate accounts with registered banks and credit unions.
To make and vary investments and re-invest the proceeds of such investments on condition that any investments made by the Organisation shall be with reputable Financial Institutions;
To accept donations made to the Organisation and retain them in the form in which they are received, or sell them and re-invest the proceeds;
With regard to movable and immovable property and tangible and intangible assets of whatsoever nature:

to purchase or acquire property and assets;
to maintain, manage, develop, exchange, lease, sell, or in any way deal with the property and assets of the Organisation;
to donate and transfer the property and assets of the Organisation to organisations with the same or similar objectives and the same exemptions from taxes and duties to those of the Organisation.

To borrow and to use the property or assets of the Organisation as security for borrowing;
To guarantee the performance of contracts or obligations of any person on condition that any such person is primarily engaged in activities which further the objectives of the Organisation.
To execute any act or deed in any deeds registry or public office.
To work in collaboration with other organisations and to amalgamate with any organisation with the same or similar objectives and the same exemptions from taxes and duties to those of the Organisation.
To exercise all the Executive and executive powers that are normally vested in the Board of Directors of a Company.To exercise all the powers and authority of the Organisation not only in Saint Lucia but in any other part of the world.ragraph here.

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