Fri | Dec 4, 2020

Committee wants to wrap sex harassment review by March

Published:Saturday | October 31, 2020 | 12:05 AM

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck is hoping that the Joint Select Committee on the Sexual Harassment Act 2020 can complete deliberations by March 2021 to speed up the passing of legislation that will give protection to hundreds of victims suffering in silence.

“I don’t want this to be a committee that goes on forever and ever,” he said during the committee’s meeting in Parliament on Thursday.

His comment came after the committee’s chairman, Olivia Grange, suggested that they meet at least one more time for the year.

The committee commenced meeting on November 28, 2019, and has conducted six meetings from then to July 2, 2020. During that time, it heard 11 oral presentations and received several submissions.

The 13-member committee comprises 10 women.

“For far too long, many victims have been left without recourse, forced to cower in shame and retreat to the halls of silence,” said Grange, who is the minister of gender.

“Vulnerable victims have unhappily recounted experiences with sexual harassment, particularly at the workplace or in learning institutions, in hospitals, in nursing homes, and correctional centres, just to name a few,” she added.

Grange agreed with Chuck that the committee should meet weekly from November 12 until the second week in December.

Among the list of organisations expected to make presentations to the committee are the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, the Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission, and the Independent Jamaica Council on Human Rights.

However, Senator Kavan Gayle was concerned that the Jamaica Employers’ Federation was not listed. Grange said a request was made, but that the federation was yet to respond.

nadine.wilson@gleanerjm.com