In the Caribbean, 16 officers from the Royal Barbados Police Force took part in sensitivity training sessions aimed at helping them to improve their understanding LGBTI people and the local LGBTI community, the Nation News of Barbados reports.
Others at last week’s training sessions came from the local Community Education, Empowerment & Development group; the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Transgender people; Barbados Gays, Lesbians and All-Sexuals Against Discrimination (Barbados GLAD); Empowerment, Quality, Unity, Acceptance, Love, Strength (EQUALS); and the Movement Against Discrimination Action Committee.
Canada-based activists Tom Decker and Maurice Tomlinson of Jamaica were facilitators at the training sessions. They have previously conducted such sessions in Grenada, Suriname, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda.
Nation News reported that coordinator Marlene Hewitt said such training was necessary if Barbados was to keep its international commitments and she felt heartened by the response.
“It was great to get all these officers out to participate. Most of them were open to the training and I am confident awareness has been raised. The next step will be to hold a course for the top brass of the force and in three months, bring together focus groups to see how far we’ve come.
“We want everyone to see everyone else as human beings. You are free to think what you will but don’t let any bad thoughts become actions. Change cannot happen overnight but it is starting,” she said.
In conjunction with the training sessions, on March 18, Tomlinson joined four Barbadian activists in a stand in front of the Parliament, seeking recognition of the human rights of LGBTI people in Barbados. The demonstration was organized by Barbadian trans activist Alexa Hoffmann.
Under Barbadian law, people convicted of consensual same-sex intimacy can be punished with a life sentence.