N Touch
Tuesday 12 November 2019
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PM: It does not matter who you sleep with

THE STATE has a duty to protect all citizens, “regardless of whom they sleep with”, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said yesterday 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. Also during Prime Minister’s Questions, Rowley was asked if there was a right to privacy.

“All rights afforded to any citizen of Trinidad and Tobago under the Constitution will be protected and preserved,” the Prime Minister said in reply.

He also said, “There are very few things in the law that are absolute.” He said even in relation to entrenched provisions there are sometimes circumstances when these have to be limited.


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