By *Jeshua Bardoo

Today, we live in a world where many adults participate in consensual sexual activities with others in the confines of a marriage, relationship, or casual sex with different partners, etc. Whatever may be your beliefs and/or moral convictions about consensual sex between adults under any of the aforementioned circumstances, the reality of the world today is that many people are having sex, with who they want to have sex, and how they want to have sex.

Many people, including Vincentians, may be engaging in various forms of sexual intercourse in different positions and maybe even using different sex toys for their pleasure in the privacy of their own home/s. One of the main ways through which a man and a woman may have sex is through vaginal intercourse or sex. However, vaginal intercourse is not the only form of penetrative sexual intercourse that a man and/or woman may engage in. Some men and women may also engage in other forms of sexual intercourse such as anal or oral intercourse and may enjoy doing so with a person of the opposite sex.

Did you know that in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) under section 146 of the Criminal Code CAP 171, titled “Buggery”, anal sex may be considered an illegal offence, even though it is carried out by two consenting adults of the opposite sex in the privacy of their own home(s)? Let us examine some legal authorities regarding this matter.

Section 146 of SVG’s Criminal Code states that:

“Any person who—

(a)     commits buggery with any other person;

(b)     commits buggery with an animal; or

(c)     permits any person to commit buggery with him or her,

is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for ten years.”

First, I observe that section 146 does not explicitly distinguish between buggery committed in private and buggery committed in public.

Second, I observe that section 146 does not explicitly state whether buggery applies to an act(s) committed by an adult with another adult or whether buggery applies to an act(s) committed by an adult with a minor. It instead uses terms such as “person” and “him or her”.

Third, I observe that concerning section 146 (a) the element of consent regarding someone committing “buggery with any other person” is absent or not explicitly stated.

Fourth, I observe that according to section 146 (a), a person can commit “buggery with any other person”. Therefore, section 146 (a) appears to be gender-neutral.

Fifth, I observe that according to section 146 (b), buggery is not limited to relations between persons, but a person can “commit buggery with an animal”.

Sixth, I observe that based on section 146 (c), a person can permit another person to “commit buggery with him or her”.

Looked at together with section 146 (a), section 146 (c) appears to further support my reasoning under my second point, that when applied to persons the offence of “buggery” is gender-neutral. Based on section 146, it appears that any person who commits buggery is liable and any person who permits a person to “commit buggery with him or her” is also liable for the offence of buggery.

Seventh, based on section 146 (c), it appears that an element of consent may be involved regarding buggery in terms of a person permitting another person to “commit buggery with him or her”. This appears to make consensual buggery where a person permits another person to “commit buggery with him or her” a criminal offence in SVG.

Therefore, from my understanding, “buggery” under SVG’s Criminal Code does not appear to be restricted to only a male engaging in anal sex with another male. Nowhere under section 146 does it explicitly say this.

Moreover, when applied in relation to a person(s), I believe that section 146 may also apply to a male and/or a female, who may be heterosexual or even bisexual, engaging in buggery with another person of the opposite sex or permitting a person of the opposite sex to “commit buggery with him or her”.

However, in reading section 146 of SVG’s Criminal Code, you may be wondering what exactly is buggery?

SVG’s Criminal Code does not explicitly define what buggery is. Sometimes when we are unsure of what the law in SVG is, we may look at the English common law for guidance or interpretation.

Due to SVG’s colonial history, many of SVG’s laws were influenced and/or are based on past British laws. Joseph Gaskins Jr. in “‘Buggery’ and the Commonwealth Caribbean: a comparative examination of the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago” noted that, “Historically, the term ‘buggery’ is considered interchangeable with sodomy”. Over time buggery and/or sodomy under the English common law evolved to be understood as anal sex as supported by the 1718 case of R v. Wiseman and the 1817 case of Rex v. Samuel Jacobs which helped to clarify the law concerning buggery and/or sodomy.

In particular, in the case of R v. Wiseman, there was an “Indictment for sodomy in ano of a girl” and the court “Held it was sodomy both at common and civil law”. Under the English common law, R v. Wiseman, therefore, helped to clarify that sodomy can take place between a male and a female.

During my research, I found the judgment of the 2004 St. Vincent and the Grenadines Court of Appeal case of Marlon Antoine v. The Queen.

In Marlon Antoine v. The Queen, the appellant Antoine, whom the court at the time noted was 18 years old, was convicted after a trial before a judge and jury of the offence of buggery against a 7-year-old girl.

He was sentenced to five years imprisonment.

However, he appealed his conviction and sentence. In the end, the court noted that “In all the circumstances, and given the extent to which inadmissible evidence was admitted and relied on in the summing up in this case, we feel we have no alternative but to allow the appeal, to quash the conviction and to set aside the sentence. However, we are also of the view that in this case there should be a retrial, and we so order”.

Apart from the Court of Appeal’s decision to allow the appeal, quash the conviction, set aside the sentence and order a retrial, it is important to note that Antoine was initially convicted of buggery with a 7-year-old girl. Based on what I read regarding that case, it appears that in SVG, buggery in relation to persons can be committed by a male person on a female person and in SVG an act of buggery in line with the English common law authorities I mentioned earlier, maybe interpreted as comprising of anal sex. The aforementioned authorities may, therefore, help interpret the meaning of buggery under section 146 of SVG’s Criminal Code.

How many adults reading this article have engaged in consensual anal sex before? Do you think that in the 21st Century there should be laws governing what sex acts, such as anal sex, consenting adults, men, and women, choose to engage in with each other in Vincentian society? Should men and women who may be engaged in consensual anal sex in the privacy of their own home(s) live in fear that if the “buggery” law is enforced against them in SVG, they may be subjected to prosecution and/or be liable to imprisonment for 10 years? Are the “buggery” law and its punishment necessary in Vincentian society? In my respectful opinion, regarding the last three questions, my answer is no. Thank you for your time.

* Jeshua Bardoo is a 2012 Vincentian National Exhibition Scholar and a 2019/20 Chevening Scholar studying an LLM International Human Rights Law at Brunel University London. He can be contacted at [email protected].

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].

12 replies on “The law on anal sex in SVG”

  1. Orlando Alexander says:

    After reading this it makes me wonder.
    What will if profit you to sacrifice your time to do such digging into something that you were never born into? If you as a young person desire to have sexual encounters and intercourse with anyone, anything of your choice feel free to do it in the confines of your own home. This is not for you to dictate that a whole country subdue to your hideous ideology.

    No matter what section of the law you want to pull out, let the law stay as it is. Under the statements that you displayed in your writing or as you exclaimed, there is not a section that states that the law is or will be interchangeable to soothe you or anyone else.

    You live your life the way you desire and let all else have the liberty to do the same. No one is forcing you to be straight as you came through a straight sexual encounter. I personally would love for you to take into consideration that what ever field of study you undergone, no one at any point of your life forced you to do so at the location. You chose that path and can guarantee you if someone ask you to do something against your norm, culture and folkways you will rebel.

    If two man or woman being in a relationship or sexual encounters was by any means a norm or would have been legally written in all constitutions and laws of the country. So because that is not the case, don’t lobby to change the laws because you made a choice to live a certain way.

    If you reside in a country where it is legal, stay in that country. As far as i know, there are no countries in the world that legalise homosexuality made it compulsory for the citizens.

    You are mo different from another who has made bad choices in life or who stand by principles and the law. Please do not try to encourage or lobby for lawlessness in our island and country sweet little St Vincent and the Grenadines.

    Take this in mind. If I am permitted to say this we all know that Kenlyn, Castian and Pinkin chose the same path you are on right now and none of the above mentioned is experiencing any form of hatred or discrimination in the country. None of the above mentioned has trying to infringe or influence the laws of the country by their personal choice buy they live their normal everyday lives and still function a normal life.

    Let me encourage you to dedicate your time In doing research on how we can better uplift our country and make a major contribution and difference. While you are doing that i plea with you to denounce that spirit in you that is creating a driving force on manipulation and pride.

    If you are proud of being gay, live that way. There are many of us that love the life we live and are proud to live this way. If you make a choice in life you MUST make up your mind to live with the choice. Do not let the youths of today and tomorrow having to suffer for the choice you make in your personal life.

    In saying so much i must encourage you to be the best at what YOU do and stay in your own lane. There is a penalty for Jay walking and trespassing on people legal rights.

  2. Fidus Achates says:

    Seems like someone is trying to champion the cause and rights of homosexuality in SVG.LET THE LAW STAND FOR WHAT IT IS NOT FOR WHAT YOU WANT OTHERS TO PERCEIVE IT TO BE.

  3. Vincy to me bone says:

    The author of this in my view is trying to come up with a way to get himself legally engaged in something that is a crime because he is maybe thinking of or is already involved in such an, and wants to return with his you know.

  4. Research is a very go thing to do and it is indeed profoundly admirable that a young Vincentian has taken it upon himself while doing his Legal studies to conduct research in what may later be his field of work, the Law. However, good learning for anyone would involve their doing additional research in various disciplines too.

    It is noteworthy that, prosperous human societies endure, through the upholding of good morals, while those adapting poor moral standards, declines as their adherence to those good moral standards declines.

    For this fellow Jeshua Bardoo “The law on anal sex in SVG” is out of step with a modern society and perhaps he is correct. However given this, https://www.mljtrust.org/search/?q=romans+1%3A18 we as Vincentians have some decisions to make about ourselves one of which is just how modern ought us to be faced with the noted consequences.

  5. No to Buggery says:

    Mr Bardoo don’t think you can imposed your ideology on the rest of us You are now a marked man by posting you picture. Do you have any intention of returning to Vincy?

  6. Mr. Bardo there are individuals in Vinc who are good at pelting mangoes with much precision. When i was a kid , I could have pick out a ripe man from a bunch of green ones . Some Vincyent dont care a hoot about human rights. It is likely that some young men may want to rain these missiles on youn thinking its mango season. If I were you and had intention to return home,I would remain anonymous. Remember the police can only do so much and some of them may to turn a blind eye on issues of abuse of a victim who is a practicing buller.

  7. Kebrena Richard says:

    God laws says homosexual act is wrong
    The law of the land here in S.V.G says Anal sex is wrong we stand by both laws .

  8. Hashtag Prince says:

    What l don’t understand about BULLERS is that they love to cry about their gay rights when you tell them about their nastiness. But yet they want to impose their sexual culture upon the normal system of co-habitation. They rally to the point of “BULLying”, seeking to make it lawful and etched as a societal norm. They cross all boundaries and infringe on other rights and norms of others to push their agenda on a community, a nation, the world.

    BULLING IS A PERVERSE ACT.
    WOMAN WAS CREATED TO COMPLIMENT MAN, TO CREATE HARMONY IN FAMILY AND TO AID IN PROCREATION.
    BULLING IS A DEMONIC PERVERSION TO DEFY THE LAW AND PLAN OF GOD.
    THE SET IS : ONE MAN – ONE WOMAN. ONE MALE – ONE FEMALE.
    THERE IS NO PLACE FOR RE-SET HERE!

    Take your “bullistic” endeavors elsewhere.

  9. Hastag Prince the act is so purile and nasty that one they don’t tell you is what they play up in is shit. There is a reason why the Good Lord give an opening to shit out of and no other reason. I know my Vince people , court or no court ruling we will never accept billing as a normal.way of life. The Bardo , the Nigels and those who involved in.the down low ( American word for closet Buller who is bisexual) will never be allowed to impose their ideology on the rest of us.

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