Trinidad president urges calm after gay-rights victory

“It is not in dispute that the criminalisation of same-sex, consensual sexual relations infringes important constitutional rights,” Trinidad’s law association declared in a statement explaining last week’s High Court decision that overturned Trinidad’s law against gay sex.

The government has said it will appeal the decision. The Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago explained what’s next:

“The legal issues to be determined on appeal are whether a law which admittedly violates constitutional rights is nevertheless saved from being struck down by a constitutional provision which protects old colonial laws, and whether the legislature by a special three-fifths majority can override what they know to be a constitutional violation.”

Trinidad’s president, Paula-Mae Weekes, referred to that statement in an appeal to Trinidadians to refrain from responding to the court decision with “victimisation, bigotry and violence.”

Trinidad President Paula-Mae Weekes (Photo courtesy of The West Indian)
Trinidad President Paula-Mae Weekes (Photo courtesy of The West Indian)

The Trinidad Express reported:

President’s advice on buggery law: ‘Inform yourself before talking’

Before making public utterances on the High Court’s recent ruling on this country’s buggery laws, inform yourself fully since uninformed statements may cause damage to the national psyche, incite victimisation, bigotry and violence, says President Paula-Mae Weekes.

The President said since the ruling of Justice Devindra Rampersad last week, she had been following on both traditional and social media “the escalating tensions surrounding Sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act.”

“I implore citizens, especially those in a position to influence others, to inform themselves fully on the law and the facts before making public utterances,” she said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

The President said she felt it was necessary to take the opportunity to remind commentators of the request she made in her inauguration address that those with a platform from which to disseminate their views, or those of others, report responsibly and comment civilly on the facts.

In the statement, the President outlined what was stated in the two contested sections, before moving on to explain what exactly was deemed as being illegal.

“In layman’s terms, it is against the law under Section 13 to have anal intercourse whether man with man or man with woman, even where the parties are consenting adults acting in private. It is also unlawful by virtue of Section 16 for there to be the exciting or satisfying of sexual desire by engaging in acts short of sexual intercourse but which involve the use of genital organs, example, oral sex between consenting adult males as well as between consenting adult females.

“It is these specific prohibitions that engaged the attention of the Court. The arguments in the case did not touch and concern non-consensual sexual acts or sexual acts involving adults with children,” explained the President.

Related articles:

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]

Leave a Reply

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May (Photo courtesy of The Independent)

U.K.: ‘Deep regret’ for laws against gay sex

Falsehoods in Kenyan newspaper trigger anti-gay abuses