The results of Monday’s by-election should not be one to celebrate for either the United National Congress (UNC) or People’s National Movement (PNM).
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Far from over
For citizens on all sides of the same sex issue, yesterday was a defining moment in the national debate on sexual orientation, rights and privacy.
It was clear from the exchanges between various groups gathered outside the Hall of Justice for the landmark ruling on sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offenses Act that the country remains deeply divided on this issue. However, even that tense standoff between members of the LGBTQI community, T&T Cause pastors and supporters and representatives of other religious groups was mild compared to reactions online.
As word spread of Justice Devindra Rampersad’s judgement deeming T&T’s buggery laws unconstitutional, reactions ran the gamut from jubilation to outrage. LGBTQI activist Jason Jones, who filed the lawsuit, was doing a live Facebook interview on the steps of the Hall of Justice when a passerby shouted a gay slur at him. Even more heated exchanges took place between people on opposite sides of the issue.
All these are indicators that T&T is still far from arriving at a consensus on this issue and in all likelihood, with legal challenges to the ruling expected all the way to the Privy Council, closure is still some years off.
In the interim, progress and civility demands respectful, level-headed discussions to bring clarity in all aspects of this very important subject.
Fix elite athlete issues
This is a good week for T&T athletes who have already bagged two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Australia and are still in the hunt for more. There has also been a change at the helm of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, with Shamfa Cudjoe taking up the ministerial portfolio from Darryl Smith.
What a perfect opportunity this is, amidst all the celebrations, to take a close look at the Elite Athlete Assistance Policy (EAAP) which has been the source of some controversy in recent months. At the very least, Minister Cudjoe and her team should give an ear to concerns raised by athletes about gaps in the programme.
As T&T aims for even greater successes in global sporting arenas, the travel, accommodation, medical and coaching needs of the men and women who consistently bring the nation to that pinnacle should be fully covered.
Jareem “Dream” Richards has brought glory to T&T with his golden performance in the Men’s 200 m finals at the Commonwealth Games. For the first time the country has scored two gold medals at a global sporting event. Well done!
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