This is a time for open minds

HERE we go again. A long-promised move by the States to tackle discrimination, happening now or to potentially happen in the future, is on the verge of crashing at the final hurdle.

The States agreed that it would legislate in summer 2020, but the process, from way before that debate, has been mired in controversy.

With amendments stacking up, some influential deputies appear to be prepared to argue whether the island still needs to take these measures. But at least one putting an amendment forward says he will argue that ‘everyone wants discrimination legislation, it just has to be proportionate’.

Proportionality has long dogged this discrimination debate. Mistakes have been made along the way, but the Committee for Employment & Social Security has moved to remedy these and reached a place of broad agreement with industry representative groups.

Some of these amendments appear relatively uncontroversial. And a full and thorough debate on the proposals before final approval need not be a bad thing. But that might only be achieved if deputies go into debate with open minds.

The fear is that the chance for political compromise over this legislation has been and gone. And Guernsey runs the risk of sustaining reputational damage if we look unwilling, or even merely reluctant, to meet anti-discrimination standards long in place in many other jurisdictions worldwide.

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