Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is being accused of calling attention to her government's homophobia and, by so doing, bringing shame on T&T.Executive director of the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (Caiso) Colin Robinson stated this yesterday.
"The Prime Minister embarrassed herself on the international stage by saying that her Government practices human rights by referendum. If it's popular to hate one social group, or pass laws against what they can do with their own bodies or who they can love, the Government will just go along. Just like lefthanders, slaves, Hindus, Muslims, Black people, children born out of wedlock, Rastas, Shouter Baptists–the young gay and lesbian people of this nation will have to endure unjust laws until public opinion changes," he said.
On Tuesday, at a forum in New York to encourage investment in T&T, US-based radio hostess Lakshmi Singh pressed Persad-Bissessar and inquired about T&T's business climate and laws that criminalise homosexuality.
Robinson said he believed it was an opportunity for Persad-Bissessar to do two things: to stand up for equality and the protection of the law for all citizens; and to send a welcoming message to a range of investors concerned about T&T's business climate.
"If the Prime Minister is serious about the distinction between decriminalisation and discrimination, as she said in New York, and about her opposition to the latter, she will put that into law.
She can easily redeem the legacy she leaves for the young people of this nation who are struggling with their sexual orientation and gender identity, to whom she sent a powerful message of disrespect and disregard that their country doesn't value them fully as human beings."
Robinson said Persad-Bissessar still had the opportunity before leaving office to put that commitment into law by amending the Equal Opportunity Act to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation.