The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

I saw the video recently on the website of the Organization of American States, made about 2 months ago, where Camillo Gonsalves, St, Vincent and the Grenadines’ (SVG) Minister of Economic Planning and Sustainable Development, expressed solidarity, on behalf of SVG, with the victims of the Orlando mass homicide. Minister Gonsalves expressed “support in ridding the world of hate and the tools of hate”.

This is like someone putting a plaster on an open, gaping wound that they helped to create. The government of SVG continues to criminalise homosexuality, which plays a major role in the marginalisation and demonization of LGBTIs in SVG. It is state sponsored homophobia, which helps to socially construct and cement LGBTIs without equality, and deny them the full rights of citizenship, that aids in promoting bigotry. What public policies, legislation and educational programmes has the government of SVG implemented to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation?

So, no, the government of SVG is not in agreement or united with the victims of the attack in Orlando. I find this official statement of condolence dichotomous because the policies and inaction of the government help to create monsters who rage violence on LGBTI’s. In May 2011, Camillo, then Permanent Representative to the UN, told the Human Rights Council that there was no mood in society in SVG to decriminalise homosexuality and that the laws criminalising homosexuality were widely accepted by society.

In 2015, the UN Human Rights Council issued a report, “Discrimination and Violence against Individuals Based on their Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” and they found that “hate-motivated violence against LGBT people is widespread, brutal, and often perpetrated with impunity”. Also, “In many countries, the law is used to punish individuals on the basis of sexual orientation”. The UN report concluded that states are legally bound by international law to protect, respect and fulfil the human rights of all people, including LGBTIs. They also recommended the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the implementation of anti-discriminatory laws to protect LGBTI’s from discrimination and negative stereotypes, to include public education campaigns.

Until the government of SVG makes these changes in their public policy, their condolences are incongruent and are exacerbated, as the government is part of the problem.

Sean Macleish

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

One reply on “On hatred of LGBTIs, SVG’s gov’t is part of the problem”

  1. Blame people like Anesia Baptiste as well for using the Bible like a truncheon to beat people whose sexual orientation differs from her own.

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