Rights Bill placed under the microscope

Another effort was made over the past weekend to enlighten Grenadians on the controversial “Rights and Freedom” Bill which is causing a stir on the island due to concerns that it promotes same-sex relations.

The Grenada Bar Association (GBA) has teamed up with the Grenada National Organisation of Women (GNOW) and other members of Civil Society Organisations on Saturday in a Town Hall Meeting at the Grenada National Stadium where a number of presentations relating to the Bill were given.

Referred to as Bill No.6, the “Rights and Freedoms” bill seeks to expand the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals to guarantee equality and equal treatment for all persons irrespective of their colour, creed, disability, ethnicity, language, place of birth, place of origin, political opinions, race, religion, sex or social class, and guarantee gender equity and equal opportunities to both male and female, among others.

The religious community in particular has expressed fears that the bill in its present form can result in gays and lesbians using it to promote same sex marriages.According to GBA President, Anande Trotman-Joseph, wife of legal advisor to Parliament, Dr. Lawrence Joseph, the postponement of the referendum from October 27 to November 24 has given them time to engage in further education of the public on the bill.

Trotman-Joseph said when the change in the date for the Constitutional Referendum was announced GBA was honest with itself and accepted that there were many more persons “to be touched” by the public education efforts.

She noted that the lawyers’ group was part of the reform exercise with members of the Constitution Reform Advisory Committee (CRAC), and had heard some of the questions coming from the electorate concerning the Rights Bill.

“We want to put in context, we want to clarify it (Bill No.6), we want to interrogate it in a very rationale way,” she said.

Trotman-Joseph encouraged members of the audience to truly vote with their consciences when they participate in the process on referendum day.

The audience had the opportunity to receive three different perspectives of the controversial Bill from Presbyterian Minister, Rev. Osbert James, Attorney-at-Law Claudette Joseph, and Chairman of CRAC, Dr. Francis Alexis.

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