Monday 15 July, 2019

Labour Minister: No policy yet for sexual harassment

Amidst recent allegations of sexual harassment against MP Darryl Smith, Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste Primus said there is as yet no national policy against sexual harassment. 

Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Baptiste-Primus said that there is no official sexual harassment policy in place, however, one is in the works. 

"While there is not yet an official policy in place, I am pleased to inform this House that the Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development, we are actively engaged in developing a national policy that is being guided by the CARICOM model law on Sexual Harassment, the Equal Opportunity Commission's guidelines on Sexual Harassment and the International Labour Organisation's standards and case law."

She said that draft policy is due to be completed within the next few months. 

House Speaker Bridgid Annisette George did not allow questions regarding sexual harassment allegations against Smith nor the issue of a settlement.

When asked regarding current issues of sexual harassment within the Ministry, Baptiste-Primus replied that she is guided by government policy.

"As Minister, I am guided by government policy regarding any activities surrounding governance," she said. 

Following media reports detailing sexual harassment under Smith's position as minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, in a surprise move on Monday, Smith was reassigned to the position of Junior Minister while Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley assumed the position of Minister of Housing and Urban Development.

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However, in an update on Tuesday, the Office of the Prime Minister announced that Smith's appointment had been revoked pending an investigation into the matter. 

Several other reassignments took place, with former Tourism Minister Shamfa Cudjoe being reassigned as Minister of Youth and Sport Affairs, and former Housing Minister Randall Mitchell re-assigned as Minister of Tourism.

Marlene McDonald was reassigned as Minister of Public Administration and Communications while Maxie Cuffie was reassigned as a Minister within that Ministry. 


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