SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), is an island country lying within the Lesser Antilles, in the eastern Caribbean Sea. It consists of the island of Saint Vincent and the northern Grenadine Islands, which stretch southward toward Grenada. The island of Saint Vincent lies about 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Saint Lucia and 100 miles (160 km) west of Barbados. It is 18 miles (30 km) long and has a maximum width of 11 miles (18 km). The larger islands of the Grenadines associated with Saint Vincent are Bequia, Canouan, Mayreau, Mustique, Prune (Palm) Island, Petit Saint Vincent Island, and Union Island. The Tobago Cays, just to the east of Mayreau, have been designated a wildlife reserve. Click SVG to learn more.
LAWS IN SVG
SVG has a number of domestic laws that promote equality and protect against discrimination.
The Constitution is the supreme law of SVG. Amongst other things, it protects the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals in SVG.
It provides explicitly for:
A. Protection of right to life.
B. Protection of right to personal liberty.
C. Protection from slavery and forced labor.
D. Protection from inhumane treatment.
E. Protection from deprivation of property.
F. Protection from arbitrary search or entry.
G. Provisions to secure protection of law.
H. Protection of freedom of conscience.
I. Protection of freedom of expression.
J. Protection of freedom of assembly and association; and
K. Protection of freedom of movement.
Moreover, section 13 of the Constitution of SVG provides explicit protection from discrimination on a few expressed grounds such as sex, race, place of origin, political opinions, color or creed.
Various forms of illegal and discriminatory acts may be covered under some of the provisions in SVG's Criminal Code.
SVG's Protection of Employment Act does not offer explicit protection from discrimination to prospective employees, only persons who are already employed. Section 16 of the Act explicitly prohibits an employer from terminating the services of an employee on these few expressed listed grounds: race, colour, sex, marital status, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, nationality, or social origin.
SVG's Equal Pay Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex regarding the payment of wages and/or salaries. It explicitly guarantees equal pay for equal work between persons of the male and female sex.
SVG's Status of children and Legitimation Act abolishes the distinction between children born in and out of marriage. All children are to be treated equally, whether or not their parents were married at the time of their birth.
SVG's Administration of Estates Act allows children born in and outside of wedlock to inherit property from deceased parents.
Married Women's Property Act
SVG's Married Women's Property Act provides for a married woman to be capable of acquiring, holding, and disposing by will or otherwise of any real or personal property as her separate property. In the past, these rights were only afforded to men.
Law of Minors Act
SVG's Law of Minors Act gives the mother and father of a child the same rights and authority in relation to the custody or upbringing of a minor, and in relation to the administration of any property belonging to or held in trust for a minor or the application of income of any such property.
Consumer Protection Act
SVG's Consumer Protection Act prohibits suppliers from discriminating against consumers. Suppliers shall not promote goods or services in such a manner that is degrading to the dignity of any person or implies or expresses a preference for any particular group of prospective consumers distinguishable from the general population on the basis of a prohibited ground of unfair discrimination set out in the Constitution.
Fair Competition Act
SVG's Fair Competition Act prohibits a person who is engaged in the business of producing or supplying goods to not directly or indirectly, to refuse to supply goods to or otherwise discriminate against any other person engaged in business or refuse to supply goods to or otherwise discriminate against any other person engaged in business because of the low pricing policy of that other person.
Domestic Violence Act
SVG's Domestic Violence Act, amongst other things, defines domestic violence as including harassment and stalking, thus protecting persons defined as being in a domestic relationship from these acts.
SVG's Cybercrime Act, amongst other things, protects persons from harassment and cyberbullying online.
1. No Independent National Institution to promote and protect Human Rights
Whilst it continues to sign treaties and attend international meetings, SVG has created no independent national human rights institution to promote and protect human rights at the domestic level in line with the Paris Principles Related to the Status of National Institutions. A public attempt was made in the failed 2009 constitutional referendum but since then no other public attempts appear to have been made to bring into existence such an important institution.
2. Lack of Constitutional Reform
Section 13 of SVG's Constitution provides very few expressed grounds upon which discrimination is prohibited. The Constitution needs to be reformed and amongst other things, expand upon the expressed listed grounds prohibiting discrimination.
3. Lack of Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination and other Important Legislation
There is no comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, no sexual harassment legislation, or refugee and asylum legislation in SVG. Many persons are therefore left vulnerable to various forms of discrimination and harassment in SVG.
4. Lack of Legal Reform
There are many discriminatory and unconstitutional laws still on the books in SVG. Many of them were inherited due to SVG's colonial legacy. The State is very reactive, not proactive when it comes to legal reform. There is therefore a great need for proactive and progressive legal reform concerning various laws and the legal system in general in SVG in order to better protect the most vulnerable and discriminated groups of people in society.
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