Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar of Trinidad and Tobago has said decriminalising homosexuality and gay rights are not possible in the country because public opinion is too divided.
The first female prime minister made the comments on Thursday at the Trinidad and Tobago Investment Conference in New York.
She said, ‘At this moment it is not legally possible. The draft gender policy came to the Cabinet, discussed at length and given the very divided voices of Trinidad and Tobago.
'It will not be prudent for Government to proceed in that direction… it’s too divided. There is no consensus on that issue.'
In 2012 Persad-Bissessar promised to put an end to gay hate in the country’s proposed national gender policy. She said it had never seen the light of day because of opposition strong opposition, especially from the Catholic church.
Persad-Bissessar said decriminalizing gay sex was ‘a very touchy and sensitive’ issue in the Caribbean country and not for the government to decide.
She said, ‘I think that is an issue that is not really for the Government to decide at this time in our country. It is an issue that the people must decide and therefore one that may require as a referendum to get the views of the people… personal views are not good enough.’
LGBTI groups dennounced her comments.
Colin Robinson, executive director of the Coalition Advocation Inclusion of Sexual Orientation, said, ’Mrs Persad-Bissessar was blunt about her reasons for not protecting some of her citizens: political cowardice.’
'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.'