CHAIRMAN of the Equal Opportunity Tribunal Donna Prowell-Raphael is advocating a direct route for people to file complaints for the tribunal to determine..
In a virtual address for the formal opening of the tribunal’s new law term for 2020/2021 on Thursday, Prowell-Raphael said conciliation can continue at the Equal Opportunity Commission for those who prefer that route.
The present procedure requires all complaints to be lodged and investigated at the commission before being sent to the tribunal. She said this could be time-consuming and self-defeating.
“It may be beneficial to rectify this system to allow complainants seeking urgent relief such as injunctions to approach the tribunal directly without having to forego time and opportunity at the commission.
“The potential for protracted delays between the occurrence of the grievance and its resolution undermines public confidence in the system. Justice delayed may be justice denied.”
She also said this year was a watershed for the tribunal, which heard its first complaint a decade ago.
“As the national community echoes global concerns about racial discrimination and injustices we are jolted to look inwardly at the mechanisms that are available within this society to eradicate, bias, discrimination, and prejudice,” she added.
“This country is fortunate to have first world legislative tools such its republican Constitution and the Equal Opportunity Act to shield its citizens. Aggrieved persons must be aware of their rights make use of the law for protection fearlessly and confidently,” said Prowell-Raphael.
She also revealed the tribunal had established a committee to examine its role and functions and make suggestions to optimise its functionality. The recommendations will form the basis for the tribunal’s strategic development plan.