Chairman of the Constitution Reform Advisory Committee (CRAC) Dr. Francis Alexis, QC is suggesting that the gender equality part of the “Rights and Freedoms” Constitutional Bill be renamed the “Rolda Bridgeman Bill.”
In his presentation on Gender in the Bill during a Town Hall Meeting at the Grenada National Stadium last Saturday, Dr. Alexis articulated his feelings for the bill to be renamed after the retired senior policewoman.
He recalled that Bridgeman who was an Inspector of Police in the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) had taught several of the men in the Force at the Police Training School.
According to Dr. Alexis, Bridgeman did better than most of the men at exams that they wrote together but the force promoted “a lot of the hard-back men from the rank of Inspector to the rank of ASP (Assistant Superintendent of Police) but did not promote her”.
The respect Constitutional expert recalled being recruited by Bridgeman to represent her in a matter in the High Court in which she was again overlooked for promotion.
He said at the end of the court battle Bridgeman was promoted to the rank of ASP.
“That is what this Bill is saying, that there should be equal opportunity for promotion in the work force”, he remarked.
He said the bill should be renamed “the Rolda Bridgeman Bill to remind the people of this country that this Bill is about equality at the work place”.
In 2007, Bridgeman was among a number of middle-ranked police officers who took Commissioner of Police, Winston James and the Public Service Commission (PSC) to court over the failure to have them promoted after being successful at their exams.
Effective May 1, 2008 Bridgeman was promoted to ASP.
The CRAC Chairman indicated that at the work place women are achieving more than men in a number of professions including law, banking, and medicine.
He said this bill is a call for everyone in the country to leave no person behind on the basis of gender.
“When you go to vote on Referendum Day whatever your view on any one Bill do not let your approach to one Bill colour or prejudice your approach to other Bills. Judge each Bill on its merit,” he added.
The Alexis-led CRAC has been under fire from several quarters in the country especially the Religious Community that are vigorously opposed to the Rights and Freedoms bill on the grounds that it could open the door to same sex marriages in Grenada.
Speculation is rife that the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government is fearful that the controversial bill might result in Grenadians giving a “no vote” to all seven bills on the ballot paper for the November 24 referendum vote.
Well-placed NNP insiders told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that the ruling party has given “the command” to those radio programme hosts aligned to the ruling party “to step up the propaganda work” to ensure safe passage of the bills.