The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Conjunction with AFETT

 

The Draft National Sexual Harassment Policy

 

AFETT partnered with the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce to host an event on the Draft National Policy on Sexual Harassment.
 
See address made by AFETT's President, Yolande Agard-Simmons, on the day:
 

Address by Yolande Agard-Simmons, President of AFETT at the Breakfast Meeting jointly hosted by AFETT & T & T Chamber of Industry and Commerce, titled ‘Join the Conversation on the Draft Sexual Harassment Policy’ at the T & T Chamber Offices, Westmoorings on Wednesday 5th September, 2018.

 

  • Ms. Lara Quentrall-Thomas, President, Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industry and Member – Employment & Labour Relations Committee, T & T Chamber of Industry and Commerce

  • Ms. Catherine Ramnarine, Attorney-at-Law and Partner at M. Hamel-Smith and Company

  • Mr. Kevin Baldeosingh, Author /Humanist

  • Ms. Christina Bahadoor-Hosein, Vice-Chairman, Employment & Labour Relations Committee, T & T Chamber of Industry and Commerce

  • Ms. Sabina Gomez, Industrial Relations Specialist, Ministry of Labour, Small & Micro Enterprise Development

  • Specially invited guests

  • Members of the media

  • Ladies and gentlemen

 

A pleasant good morning to you all!

 

At the very core of our Association’s agenda is the promotion and advocacy of Women’s Rights, Human Rights, Social Change, and Gender Equality and Parity. This is why it is our firm belief that we would be remiss if we did not join the national discussion on draft sexual harassment policy. And more so, it is our privilege to partner with the Chamber on this Meeting to host all of you this morning.

We, at AFETT, are of the view that sexual harassment in the workplace is everyone’s business. Simply because it has attending societal, environmental, economic, health and safety consequences.

 

Having reviewed the Draft Policy, we find that while the document is well crafted and provides great insight into engaging employers to create a harmonious, dynamic and equitable industrial relations climate, we believe that there is some room for further development to ensure the effective prevention of sexual harassment and increased productivity.

 

Most specifically, we have found that Sexual Harassment is an issue that has direct psychological and emotional effects on witnesses and they, themselves, can be victims of acts of sexual harassment not directly perpetrated upon themselves. As such, a Policy that considers these effects and creates avenues for addressing the effects of sexual harassment on witnesses to the act would ensure the holistic protection of all persons affected by the issue.

 

Furthermore, with the presumption of innocence of all persons accused of perpetrating acts of sexual harassment, we believe that perhaps the policy can include measures to avoid abuse of the policy so as to prevent innocent persons from being persecuted unwarrantedly.

 

That said, there should be avenues for penalties for persons making false allegations and for those persons who use the Policy maliciously. This is especially as we believe that there is such an issue as reverse Sexual Harassment where persons can use allegations of such an act as instruments of manipulation.

Those are just our initial thoughts and it is certainly with open minds that we anticipate the robust discussions that will undoubtedly be had during this morning’s Session.

 

We commit to continue to work with the key stakeholders in the development and finalization of the National Policy on Sexual Harassment of Trinidad and Tobago.

 

I thank you.

 

Yolande Agard-Simmons

AFETT President 2018/209

PO Box 1919, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, Trinidad, W.I.
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