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Anti-age, HIV discrimination laws coming
Equal opportunity legislation will be upgraded soon to protect people against age discrimination and discrimination of those with HIV, according to Narendra Lalbeharry, legal head of the Equal Opportunity Commission. Upgraded laws will include a “whistleblower” provision, allowing a person to report any matter concerning the public interest on behalf of another who may be affected by it but may be too scared to report it. These and other provisions to amend the Equal Opportunity Law were sent to Cabinet recently and were approved for Parliament’s agenda when Parliament resumes next month, Lalbeharry said.
Provisions will require a simple majority—Government votes alone—for passage. Persons/companies which fail to answer queries or produce material in response to complaints and matters before the commission can be referred to the Magistrates’ Court based on the Summary Convictions Act, Lalbeharry said. He said the commission, which began work last year, was upgrading legislation to keep in line with international standards. Lalbeharry noted age discrimination had been recognised and acknowledged in most countries as evidenced by their respective legislative enactments.
He said the commission had received five complaints of age discrimination since starting work. “But even if we only received one complaint, we still see the issue as important,” Lalbeharry added. Attorney General Anand Ramlogan is expected to pilot the legislation in Parliament. Ramlogan recently noted many countries were revising the retirement age upwards since people were living longer. A UN statistical report projects T&T’s population under 15 would decrease to less than 20 per cent by 2025 and T&T’s 30 to 50 age group will form the substantial part of the population. This is due mainly to declining birth and fertility rates, it was noted.
T&T’s increasing ageing population is projected to reach 260,000 by 2020, according to the Social Development Ministry. The figure was 130,000 up to 2006. The commission has noted global laws against age discrimination, Lalbeharry added.
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