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GDA welcomes planned discrimination laws

GDA welcomes planned discrimination laws

Thursday 25 June 2020

GDA welcomes planned discrimination laws

Politicians responsible for bringing in anti-discrimination legislation have met with members of the Guernsey Disability Alliance to discuss the new laws, which they hope will be adopted by the States next month.

The meeting was originally due to be held on 24 March, but was postponed as the island was quickly heading for lockdown as there were signs of community seeding of Covid-19.

It was held yesterday, three months later - with just three weeks to go before the States debate the legislation. 

The meeting was live streamed online, with captions being edited afterwards to enable better understanding for everyone watching. 

Rob Platts MBE from the Guernsey Disability Alliance said it was essential to ensure everyone was able to watch the presentation from Employment and Social Security President, Deputy Michelle Le Clerc, and Deputy Emilie McSwiggan who has been closely involved with the planning of the new laws.

"Some people who've been involved from the start are starting to flag, because it's been such a long time," he said. "My predecessor first brought up the subject many many years ago but more formally, it's probably been 12-years since we took the ideas to the States so it's taken that long, and there have been so many iterations of it - so it's been difficult, but it's great to see much more engagement now. It's come rather later perhaps, but it's good to see it."

The proposals which will go before the States for approval in July were first published last summer, with some industries criticising them saying they wanted longer to consult with employers before the proposals were put to the vote.


Pictured: Deputies Michelle Le Clerc and Emilie McSwiggan have been closely involved with drafting the proposed anti-discrimination laws. 

ESS scaled back the proposals following the feedback from businesses and republished them in March - with the new proposals focusing on three main areas: race, disability, and carer discrimination.

Deputy Michelle Le Clerc warned during yesterday's presentation that there's no guarantee the proposals will be passed and there is still more work to do before the States debate them during the meeting starting on July 15.

Mr Platts is disappointed the proposals had to be scaled back but is pleased they are finally going to be put to the vote.

"I'd argue that our sex discrimination ordinance should have been looked at long ago, but it's good that it's now going to be looked at as well, but overall I think the GDA will basically be able to support most of it, there are one or two technical things which we hope maybe will be picked up and changed, maybe even before it's agreed, but we can live with it, but to be honest it isn't fully compliant in our opinion with the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, so hopefully in the future it will be fully compliant."

rob platts

Pictured: Rob Platts MBE is Chair of the Guernsey Disability Alliance.

Mr Platts said even if the proposals are passed next month, Guernsey will still be behind other jurisdictions.

"Even in its current form the discrimination legislation will be an improvement on many including I have to say the UK, and I have to say - although I never like criticising our sister island - it will be much better in many respects, but not all, than Jersey. There are some really good bits in the Jersey law, but particularly with the way disability is dealt with, we will be much better. A world view is a difficult one to take, but we still have a way to go, in my view, than some other places."

The States debate is due to start on July 15 - the ESS proposals can be read HERE. 


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