By BBN Staff: The National AIDS Commission (NAC), in collaboration with the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children (SEWC), is hosting countrywide consultations to engage the public on the new “Equal Opportunities” Bill, a proposed law that seeks to end discriminatory employment practices.
The consultations, being done through the support of the Caribbean Partnership Against HIV & AIDS (PANCAP) and the Human Dignity Trust (HDT), seeks to inform the public about the content of the Bill and gain feedback about issues that need to be addressed within it.
Enrique Romero, executive director of the NAC, explained that the Bill is modeled after the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM)’s anti-discrimination legislation model; however, it goes beyond the scope of discrimination against HIV/AIDS and accounts for discrimination against race, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, health status or other grounds against discrimination.
“We didn’t want to keep it as an ‘Anti-Discrimination’ Bill, because when people hear that they think it’s something negative, so we changed it to an Equal Opportunities Bill to have a more positive connotation,” Romero said. “Countries all over the region are looking at Belize right now because we are the first to make legislation using the CARICOM model.”
Romero added that the development of the Bill is the culmination of work that began in the 2000s with the first Legal Assessment done by a consultant. He stressed that making legislative changes that helps with the national HIV response is a part of the NAC’s mandate.
Each consultation will begin at 6:30 p.m. on the following dates: Saturday, January 11, San Pedro’s Lion Club, San Pedro Town; Sunday, January 12, Cayo Welcome Center, San Ignacio Town; Monday, January, 13, Belmopan Civic Center, Belmopan City; Tuesday, January 14, Ecumenical High School Auditorium, Dangriga Town; Wednesday, January 15, Punta Gorda Sports Complex, Punta Gorda; Thursday, January 16, SJC High School Auditorium, Belize City; Friday, January 17, Muffles High School Auditorium, Orange Walk Town; and Saturday, January 18, Corozal Civic Center, Corozal Town.