Despite his claims, Trinidad leader clings to anti-LGBT laws

The prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago claims that the government must protect its LGBT citizens, but he won’t work to repeal the Trinidadian laws that make same-sex intimacy a crime.  Newsday of Trinidad and Tobago reports:

PM: It does not matter who you sleep with

Keith Rowley, prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago (Photo courtesy of
Keith Rowley, prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago (Photo courtesy of

The state has a duty to protect all citizens, “regardless of whom they sleep with”, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said [June 17] in Parliament when questioned on whether the Government would move to protect the LGBT community.

At the same time Rowley said, during Prime Minister’s Questions, that there are no plans to amend homophobic buggery laws and declined to address a question on the public call of the Equal Opportunites Commission (EOC) to protect gays from discrimination.

Chaguanas West MP Ganga Singh asked, “Could the Prime Minister state the policy and/or operational measures that are in place to protect persons who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) in Trinidad and Tobago?”

Rowley replied, “I want to make it abundantly clear that every citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, regardless of who he or she may be, will have the protection of the written Constitution….All State agencies have a duty to protect every citizen of Trinidad and Tobago regardless of whom they sleep with.”

The comments came days after the worst mass shooting in modern US history at a gay club at Orlando.

However, when asked by Singh if there would be legal reform on the buggery law, Rowley said that did not appear in the legislative agenda tabled by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi. On the call by EOC chairman Lynette Seebaran-Suite to include gays in the protections under the Equal Opportunity Act, Rowley declined to answer.

“I would not take your word for it that she said that,” Rowley told Princes Town MP Barry Padarath.

For more information, read the full article in Newsday of Trinidad and Tobago.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.


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