Launch of Sexual Harassment and Disability Policies (Speaking Notes)
SPEAKING NOTES - DESMOND MALCOLM, GENERAL MANAGER URBAN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
Senator the HON. Sandrea Falconer, Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for information and our guest speaker
Chairman Senator K.D Knight UDC chairman
All our other guests in their respective offices
Good morning everyone and welcome to this historic occasion as the urban development corporation (UDC) is pleased to launch two very important policies, sexual harassment & disability. This represents our commitment to ensuring that our staff at the UDC will have the enabling environment to maximize their productivity.
We recognize that we are pioneers of these two policies within the government sector but we are no strangers to ground breaking cutting edge ideas and concepts; having launched many “firsts” in our 47 years of Making Development Happen.
The launch of these policies comes at a time when human rights are a core focus in the global space. The protection of these rights is crucial as a harmonious working environment is mandatory in order to create business innovation and value added services. You have perhaps heard the phrase “a happy wife makes a happy life” and in the same breath, I believe “a happy working environment makes a happy worker”.
You may have seen recently the news of the many successes of the UDC in divesting various properties; this would not have been possible without the excellent team work from the motivated UDC staff. Indeed as our corporate philosphy states, we are a corporation of people serving people.
On this historic occasion, as we launch these policies, we recognize that sexual harassment not only pertains to our women but also includes our men and can have disastrous effect on someone’s self-esteem and mental health. We also recognise in fact that this is not simply a breach of rights and corruption of ethics but a criminal matter. As such we must become vigilant and serious in wiping out any act of harassment as a responsible corporation.
Our global and local today workplace is very diverse and technologically oriented and as such the limitations of our past have now been reversed and we are able to do much more with less. Decades ago, physically challenged persons had limited options for employment but now the market is wide open as software applications can enable voice to speech technology to be used in word processing. By law also, ramp access is now mandatory for most public buildings and job protection is secured even after disabilities caused by accidents. The UDC is no stranger to allowing physically challenged persons equal rights of employment as we currently employ one such person in a senior technical capacity within our corporation.
If we as leaders can demonstrate a corporate commitment to safeguarding the rights of our staff, I believe we will see an increase in their confidence in our leadership structure and as such there will be greater buy in and implementation of these policies.
We wish to acknowledge the work of the bureau of gender affairs and also the Jamaica disability foundation and other special interest groups whose influence can be felt in this policy today in some way, shape or form. I believe in the continuum of improvement and as such staff members can feel free to review the policies and to make suggestions for improvement and enforcement as time goes on.
Remember to speak to your human resource department for further information on these policies as we move forward with the business of making development happen.
Thank you everyone for being here and sharing in this historic occasion with us.