MESA wants harsh penalties attached to sexual harassment bill
Concerned that men could be victimized under proposed Sexual Harassment Bill, the head of the Men’s Education Support Association (MESA) is demanding that the authorities impose harsh fines to deter women from making false claims against them.
MESA President Ralph Boyce told Barbados TODAY this should be clearly stated in any new law.
He said the legislation should also clearly indicate that once a complaint is made against an individual an investigation must be done even if the accuser withdraws the charge.
“We have instances where women tear off their own clothes . . . we’ve had cases of schoolgirls doing that, so it is a common thing in Barbados,” Boyce said.
“We’re saying that given our situation, unless you have that simple stipulation that where the lady (accuser) says she won’t continue, the tribunal should look at the circumstances and if the woman has been deliberately malicious . . . [give them] some big, heavy fines.
“The women are not going to like that and they’re going to tell us [this is going] to stop the women from coming forward.”
However, the MESA president, who stressed the importance of such a legislation, insisted this would help deter women from deliberately making false claims.
“We need to have the Sexual Harassment Bill like yesterday, but we have to be careful and cautious and we’re asking that the comments we make be taken into consideration, if not, and I’m not threatening, we’re going to persist in making sure that the public understands what we are saying,” he asserted.
Boyce was clearly displeased about the length of time taken to draft this and other pieces of legislation.
Noting he was already 75 years old, the MESA president said he could not afford to wait another 25 years for the proposed legislation to become law.
“We’ve been saying to which ever Government, there are things you can do. For example, giving out contracts for people to do drafting. I’ve heard people saying nobody can draft for us. Just pay a person who is a draftsman, either here in Barbados or in another country, and also the University of the West Indies (UWI),” he suggested.
Boyce noted that Antigua, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago already had sexual harassment legislation in force and, as a result, Barbados did not have to “reinvent the wheel”.