Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has restated his call for a conversation on same-sex relationships in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

His comments came on Monday at a press conference in which he condemned the beating of two cross-dressing men in Calliaqua on the weekend over suspicions that they are gay.

Gonsalves, however, said that while he was calling for a conversation, he is not advocating that the nation’s laws, which criminalises same-sex activity, be changed.

“Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating that. But if we are to build further a humane society, that is to say, a society based on humane values, that the church is the appropriate institution to begin that conversation,” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Legal Affairs, and national security.

The prime minister said that he knows persons would question his unwillingness to start the conversation.

“Well, I don’t have to start every conversation,” he said, repeating the position he took several years ago, even as he began a conversation on the decriminalisation of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

“But the truth is this, that there are reports of persons, including a significant number of young persons who are engaged in a lifestyle which would not be approved of, traditionally, and I am talking in terms of gay or lesbian activity,” the prime minister said.

He said politicians should not lead the conversation on the subject.

“As soon as politicians get involved, it is that Ralph is against gays, Ralph is for gays; Ralph is against lesbians, Ralph is for lesbians.

“You’d get that, but a social and moral issue like this, and some may say a freedom issue, a libertarian issue, should be discussed, should be led by the churches.”

In this screenshot taken from video circulated on social media, one of the suspected gays tries to escape as a man pursues him with a club in Calliaqua on the weekend.

He said the immediate past Anglican bishop in Barbados had said in Jamaica that he supports the decriminalisation of homosexual conduct and that the ban against homosexual behaviour is not biblically sanctioned.

“That’s a high churchman in the Anglican church,” Gonsalves said, adding that he was surprised by the cleric’s pronouncements.

“We know that in Anglican communities around the world and other communities, in Britain and the United States, churchmen, they are even going so far as having partners of the same sex, but some are even marrying persons and may be even married themselves to persons of the same sex.”

The prime minister said some Vincentians would say that what people do in their bedrooms is their business and the law should be changed in that regard, but it is bridge too far to allow same-sex marriages.

“So, there are all kinds of contending viewpoints. So, I am suggesting that this issue be placed in a wider context for a discussion by the church or other NGOs, to take it out of the realm of politics.”

Gonsalves said that in all his 37 years as a legal practitioner, he does not know of anyone in SVG who has been prosecuted for homosexual conduct.

He, however, said that over 30 years ago, an older man was brought to court for having allegedly groomed “a younger chap”.

“But nobody has been prosecuted, certainly not for consensual acts in private.

The prime minister said that he was also not making the case for decriminalisation of “homosexuality”.

“I am making the case for an intelligent conversation and that those who feel very strongly that it should still have a criminal ban on it, can so state and their reasons.

“Those who feel that it is wrong but you shouldn’t criminalise it, and there are some who feel it isn’t wrong at all. Let everybody have their say, but not by the government or any political party leading the discussion.”

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)

Gonsalves said that SVG is a small society.

“Am I wrong, colleagues from the press who are here, to say that there is a sense that a number of persons more than certainly, I believe, when I was a young man, are engaged in this particular lifestyle?

“And I am not advocating it but as a leader, as a political leader, I acknowledge all the dimensions and say there should be a discussion. Because if there is no discussion and you just simply have a homophobic prejudice, it leads to assaults on people whom you should not be assaulting simply because they’re dressing up strange and funny.”

He said he knows the reportage would say that he touched on the topic but tiptoes around the issue “because he is afraid and so on.

“But you can say whatever you want, but I think I have made, I believe, a reasonable case for an open, mature conversation.”

The prime minister said he knows there are several evangelicals who say same-sex relations are morally wrong and must be railed against but would also say one should not go into someone’s bedroom.

“And there are others who would say, ‘Look, this is a Sodom and Gomorrah issue, nothing but damnation would come and you have to bring down the full force of the law on it.

“Well, we inherited these laws and we have not, I think, had a mature, sensible and sensitive conversation on the subject.

“I don’t know what is the view of you guys in the media. Maybe you all should start the conversation. Are you afraid to write a story on it? … Because depending on how you write it, you may be subject to prejudice one way or the other,” he said to laughter from the press corps, a member of which said he had already written on the topic.

The prime minister added: “Which is the reason why we must have a mature conversation. The whole world is talking about it. Why are we not talking about it? It doesn’t mean we have to go where the world is going. We may find our own particular answer to this question.”

He said the Pope had addressed the question.

“And I notice, as a Catholic, that he has tiptoed to a particular point as though he is going the way of some other churchmen and then he gets a blast from a section of the church and he pulls back.”

Gonsalves expressed hope “that in this small society that the young men who go about dressing up as girls and so on, they should perhaps begin to encourage a conversation rather than themselves trying to shock people’s sensitivities and sensibilities. Maybe that would be a more productive thing to do.”

The prime minister said he was travelling along Back Street, Kingstown and he saw “three persons cavorting and at first I thought these are three strange young ladies, but, on a closer view, they were not and my impression was that it may be wiser for them to carry the argument in another way.

“Some may say, ‘No! Ralph would not have spoken about it and [journalist] Dayle [DaSilva] would not have asked about it if we didn’t go about and shocking people’s sensitivities and sensibilities. I don’t know,” the prime minister said, speculating on the thinking of the cross-dressing men.

5 replies on “PM restates calls for conversation on same-sex relationships in SVG”

  1. Ricardo Francis says:

    This lifestyle should never be allowed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

    The Constitution of our beloved nation speaks to our supreme believe in GOD.

    Are their LOBBYISTS actively lobbying Caribbean governments with respect to this issue?

    Are their Caribbean Leaders who are involved in this lifestyle?

    I am not afraid to state my position on the issue.: Never! Never! Never!

    I respect and appreciate my brothers and sisters as part of the human race, but it does not mean that I have to agree with this moral bankrupted and sinful lifestyle and more specifically, in our case, it is also illegal.

    I am not afraid and shall continue not to be afraid. They have been trying to demobilize, destabilize and demoralize me for a long time. I stand firm for my believes and values. Never! Never! Never! I Say Never!

    Ricardo Francis, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Waiting and in the Making

  2. Almighty God condemns homosexuality – whether men with men or women with women. Romans 1:27 states: ” And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. ” Romans 1:26 condemns women with women intimate relationship. Homosexuality is unnatural. Romans 1:32 says that persons who practice such are worthy of death. This does NOT mean we should kill homosexuals. Murder is a sin. Leave it to God to judge and deal with homosexuals. Romans 14:12. Of course, like other sinners, any homosexual can change and live a righteous life in God’s sight as 1 Corinthians 6:11 shows.

  3. Then how are you going to deal with the fall out from homosexual relationship. The law,cannot deal with heterosexual crimes such as rapes,much less homosexual crimes.

  4. You Vincentians are going over board with this homosexual madness. The Bible commands us not to follow the ways of the heathens. Leave homosexuality and lesbianism to Europe and North America. We are not to follow their ways. I am waiting to see what Christian Bishop or other men of religion are going to agree with this lifestyle. Whoever speaks in agreement with this disgusting way of life is against God. We want to uphold the laws of the Bible, not the laws of the Europeans.

  5. The ONLY conversation, that the “CHURCH” need to have with those who practice the abomination of homosexuality is to say; “Young men your creator did not make you to burglarize another man’s anus for pleasure. It is quite a vile and wicked thing to do and you NEED to REPENT. Failure to REPENT and turn from such unclean practices will cause you to lose your soul. You may be struggling with this perversion but JESUS CHRIST has the power to set you free from this wicked desire.”

    This is the ONLY conversation that the CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST will have with the homosexual and all sinners. You need to repent. God have already spoken on this matter very clearly and there is no confusion. God said he made the WOMAN for the MAN. Any other thing is unnatural and not acceptable by God and his Church. The homosexual man may say that it is natural for him to want to penetrate another man’s anus for pleasure, but consider this; if I were to have a bucket filled with human feces and sat in the front of my home with a stick stirring the bucket of human waste and this is known by my neighbors, wouldn’t the society consider me to be a very nasty and unclean person, how different is this from another man wanting to play in another man’s waste exit. The homosexual desire is caused by an unclean and perverted spirit that have overtaken these young men. Only submission to the unadulterated word of God and the saving grace and power of Jesus Christ can set these people free from this wicked spirit. Some of these young men may say they feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body. That feeling is induced by the spirit of Satan, which his is a lying spirit but you must resist and do not believe this lie. God did take a rib out of Adam in the beginning and made the woman so there is no more woman left in man after that.

    I do not support any beating of these men or women as you cannot beat the devil out of someone, it takes a willingness and desire for the person who is bound by these perverted desires to be obedient to God’s word and hate their sinful ways. This life style MUST NEVER be accepted by the society as a norm. They must keep this in their closet, why do they want to come out of their closet to impose this perversion on society?? Is it that St. Vincent want God to wakeup La Soufriere burn this wicked place up. Do not forget SODOM and GOMARRO these things are written for our learning. Young man the prime minister owes you no apology. YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR ABOMINATION, IN YOUR CLOSET and REPENT and then you can come out into the light and walk in the light. The Homosexual, demands to be treated with respect when they don’t treat their own self with respect. To practice this life style is to dishonor your own body. The scripture calls this the abusing of your body. Respect yourself first and you will be respected stop putting your pluming in filth and then ask society to accept it as norm. GOD FORBID IT!!

    1 Corinthians 6 vs 9-10- “KNOW YE NOT THAT THE UNRIGHTEOUS SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD? BE NOT DECEIVED: NEITHER FORNICATORS, NOR IDOLATERS, NOR ADULTERERS, NOR EFFEMINATE, NOR ABUSERS OF THEMSELVES WITH MANKIND, NOR THIEVES, NOR COVETOUS, NOR DRUNKARDS, NOR REVILERS, NOR EXTORTIONERS, SHALL INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

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