Independent Senator Sir Henry Fraser has argued that no right thinking person would oppose the passage of the Employment Sexual Harassment (Prevention) Bill, 2017.
While throwing his support behind the measure, Sir Henry recalled that when he was a teenager it was widely alleged across Barbados that there was a certain storeowner in Bridgetown whose employees always had to provide sexual favours to be employed.
“Nobody did anything about it. It was an accepted fact of life in Barbados because there was no such legislation and perhaps there was no social conscience, no way of influencing people who were corrupt and engaging in inappropriate behaviour,” the independent legislator said while lamenting that as a society “we have swept things under the carpet; we have allowed corruption to be sustained, we have heard things that were alleged to be taking place and there has been very little done to curb it”.
However, he made reference to a recent survey done by Dr Don Marshall and his team at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Research (SALISES) which he said had clearly shown that “respect of women for men and men for women was an aspect of Barbadian culture that has been largely lost.
“Respect of young people for their elders, respect generally for the elderly who created the life that we enjoy. This matter of respect is something that came across very strongly in the SALISES policy forum survey. It is something that we have lost and we need to embrace once again,” Sir Henry said.
He suggested that schools in Barbados needed to get back to the basics, while noting that Jamaican schools had at one point introduced a programme called Civics with a view to creating good citizens.
“I think there is insufficient of that approach in our schools in terms of human behaviour, relationships between people, the issues of conflict resolution. Most of these things teachers are inept at because it is not part of their training. They are trained in an academic subject, but they are not trained in the development of the human personality and of the child,” Sir Henry said, adding that “many of our children lack the appropriate environment of the school where they will learn ethical behaviour and respect for each other”.
Sir Henry further contended that children must be taught respect for the opposite gender and about conflict resolution.