Call for an equality minister to help minority groups

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AN Equality Minister should be appointed to help prevent issues affecting minority groups from being ‘kicked around the departments like a football’, the chief executive of diversity and inclusion charity Liberate has said.

Speaking during Pride weekend, Vic Tanner Davy said that having a dedicated minister would ensure a more co-ordinated approach to tackling problems and bringing forward new legislation.

Following last year’s election, responsibility for equality, diversity and inclusion was split between three States Members: Home Affairs Minister Helen Miles, Assistant Home Affairs Minister Louise Doublet and her fellow Assistant Home Affairs Minister, Deputy Hilary Jeune.

But Mr Tanner Davy said the ‘fragmented’ approach and the fact that the assistant ministers had other political responsibilities had caused delays in introducing new legislation.

‘The hate-crime legislation was first discussed in 2016 – it is still not close to being law – and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) has still not been extended to Jersey,’ he said.

Deputy Sam Mézec, leader of Reform Jersey, said that the situation was made even more confusing by the fact that the Housing Minister has responsibility for another related area – ‘communities’.

He added that if the position of Equality Minister was created, it should not merely be ‘symbolic’ and ‘another title used to send out press releases overstating how wonderful everything is’.

In a statement, Deputies Jeune and Doublet said that Deputy Miles’s 2024 Ministerial Plan would include a commitment to developing a hate crime law.

They added: ‘There is much good work being done across government, and this will now be joined together under our ministerial oversight to ensure a joined-up approach.’

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