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 TechNewsTT.com)
Keith Rowley, prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago (Photo courtesy of TechNewsTT.com)

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. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

2 Comments

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  1. As someone who was raised inTrinidad by a Trinidadian mother I will always claim that side of my heritage. Yet I will also continue to denounce the hypocrisy of its backward laws. People asked me if I will move back to Trinidad. My answer is when Trinidad moves forward in time and I can be myself.

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