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Jeshua Bardoo is a Vincentian barrister-at-law and solicitor.
Jeshua Bardoo is a Vincentian barrister-at-law and solicitor.
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By Jeshua Bardoo

On Feb. 16, 2024, Justice Esco Henry delivered her judgment in relation to the consolidated cases of Javin Johnson and Sean Mac Leish v Attorney General of SVG et al. These cases challenged sections 146, which deals with buggery, and section 148, which deals with gross indecency between persons of the same sex. These laws criminalise various aspects of private and public consensual same-sex activity or conduct.

Throughout her written decision, Justice Henry appeared to use plain interpretations of the law, had issues with the standing of the claimants, the evidence, and the pleadings of the claims. She also appears to have believed evidence and/or arguments from police, religious leaders, and the state over the claimants. In the end, Justice Henry dismissed both cases in their entirety, upheld the laws on grounds of public health and public morality, and ordered each of the claimants to pay the State EC $7,500.

This ruling sent shockwaves locally, regionally, and internationally. It is in stark contrast to other similar decisions ruled internationally and regionally that have declared such laws to be unconstitutional and/or in violation of human rights. It is a travesty of justice and has significantly weakened faith in the local justice system in SVG to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of minority and vulnerable groups in Vincentian society.

This ruling from Justice Henry means that anti-LGBTQ+ laws which are not usually enforced regarding LGBTQ+ persons who engage in private consensual same-sex acts, are valid. It is therefore possible that now or in the future, they may be enforced by the police or the state to arrest LGBTQ+ persons, many of whom engage in consensual private anal sex or other same-sex sexual acts with each other. After this ruling, to me it is very disturbing that such a judge has been elevated to the Court of Appeal in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.

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In light of this regressive and backwards ruling, I call upon the various leaders in SVG to protect fundamental rights and freedoms and the rights of minority groups. LGBTQ+ persons have fundamental rights and freedoms, they are a minority group within Vincentian society, and they deserve basic protection like everyone else instead of being subjected to various forms of abuse and criminalization.

I call upon the Unity Labour Party (ULP) who won the last general elections to work towards the removal of anti-LGBTQ+ laws in SVG. Amongst other things, you were elected to help protect the people of SVG, not just some, the majority, or a few, but everyone. This includes protecting LGBTQ+ people. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, you have spoken out against violence affecting LGBTQ+ people in SVG. It is time for you to go further and not just talk but act. Where possible, work towards removing or repealing the anti-LGBTQ+ laws to the extent that they apply to consensual same-sex sexual relations or acts between adults in private. Even as you have condemned the violence against LGBTQ+ people, work to buttress the legal frameworks in the country to better protect vulnerable populations, including LGBTQ+ people. Create policies and civil legislation that expressly protect persons on grounds such as sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics.

I also call upon Montgomery Daniel, Saboto Caesar, Frederick Stephenson, Camillo Gonsalves, St. Clair “Jimmy” Prince, Carlos James, Curtis King, Orando Brewster, Dominic Sutherland, Luke Browne, Carlos Williams, Mineva Glasgow, Edwin Snagg, and Deborah Charles, who ran for the ULP in the 2020 general elections, some of whom won in their respective constituency, to do the same as I have advised Dr. Ralph Gonsalves above.

Moreover, I call upon the New Democratic Party (NDP), the main opposition party in SVG, to work towards the removal of anti-LGBTQ+ laws in SVG. You, too, are supposed to work towards protecting the people of SVG, not just some, the majority or a few. This includes protecting LGBTQ+ people. Even though the NDP did win the 2020 general elections, they had the popular vote. Where possible, I encourage you to work to remove or repeal the anti-LGBTQ+ laws to the extent that they apply to consensual same-sex sexual relations or acts between adults in private. Also, work to enhance the legal frameworks in SVG to better protect vulnerable populations including LGBTQ+ people. Advocate for policies and civil legislation that expressly protect persons on grounds such as sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics.

I also call upon Terrance Ollivierre, St. Clair Leacock, Daniel Cummings, Nigel Stephenson, Fitzgerald Bramble, Benjamin Exeter, Lavern Gibson-Velox, Randolph Bernard Wyllie, Chieftain Neptune, Roland Matthews, Shevern John, Israel Bruce, Noel Dickson, and Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, who ran for the NDP in the last general elections, some of whom won in their respective constituency, to do the same as I have advised Dr. Godwin Friday above.

If in the future the NDP or another political party wins the general elections in SVG, I will hold them just as accountable as the ULP to act to address various human rights issues in SVG, including human rights issues that affect LGBTQ+ persons.

When many people from my generation and the younger generations coming up look back on this time and history, they will see how the people who were supposed to be leaders acted or omitted to act on various human rights issues. Like how we now frown upon various things and people who sought to deny black people and women their rights not too long ago, we will also look back and frown upon various things and people from during this time in relation to LGBTQ+ rights in SVG.

Laws that criminalise private consensual same-sex relations or conduct between adults unequivocally violate human and constitutional rights. Religion, tradition, culture, morals, values, or even what any politician or judge has to say, cannot and should not be used to justify them.

*Jeshua Bardoo is a Vincentian lawyer with an LLM in international human rights law. He is also the Founder and President of Equal Rights, Access and Opportunities SVG Inc. He can be contacted via email at [email protected]

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

14 replies on “ULP and NDP, remove anti-LGBTQ+ laws in SVG”

  1. Jeshua Bardo don’t hold your breath bro any political party that provided gay right would be sweapt in oblivion and would cease to be a party as we know it. Jeshula let’s look at Justice Henry ruling . She order the party who brought ghe motion to pay $7,500. It this unqualified.It was always the court position that the losing party always pay cost. So Jeshua what is unusual about this.

    Justice Henry ruled that the petitioner had no legal standing. They are not citizens of the nation. They file a case being outside of the jurisdiction. It’s akin to throwing missiles at us from afar.

    Jesua Bardo the day you challenge the rest of is is the day all hell will brake loose in vincy. The nation don’t care what you do in the sanctuary of your home but to see you at Indian Bay Beach is not going to cut it. The gay community needs no protection, they are usually well off financially. Let shout down with Sodom, down with Gomorrah and down with Jeshua Bardo.

  2. Jeshua did Justice Henry ruling send shock waves locally? This further from the truth. Are you speaking about the gay community? The Vincentian population welcomes thw ruling Jeshua asked H. Nigel Thomas his opinion on the topic.

  3. I wonder if this lawyer believes it’s ok if someone gives consent to someone to kill themselves if that is ok

  4. Jeshua Bardo I am appealing to your conscience here. Lets have a dialogue, should the government change the laws to give your community all that you ask for. Would it not equate to a society where the minority rule the majority? Where in rhe world there is minority rule? I will likebto hear from you as to the fairness of the law should the government change the laws to accommodate your wishes. Would it not resulting mayhem. Justice Henry ‘s ruling preserved the status quo. Is this not a true statement?

  5. Jesua Bardo you gave us all the reasons why the laws should be changed to accommodate gay rights. However, the converse was not given. What are some of the ills of society that are expected from the liberalization of gay rights? The following are some of them:

    (1) The fall the general population as gays cannot procreate. Societal effects as the population needs to increase at a percentage to ensure population growth and renewal. Births v Death Government will have to monitor these variables more strictly.
    (2)Force religious authorities to violate their beliefs and conscience to accommodate religious ceremonies to include gay rights as recently happened in Texas USA. Recently a priest was charged and penalized for refusing to perform a gay ceremony.
    (3)Impact in Societal norms and morality. One would have to explain to the undeveloped mind why Eve and not Steve. St Vincent as a Christian society.
    (3)The collective good or bad will have to be e embrarced or rejected. The conduct of gay practices could trigger an increase in societal violence and mayhem.
    (4) From a medical perspective, certain gay practices results in a higher rate of HIV. It was medically proven that certain sexual conduct associated with gay practices results in a higher rate of HIV spread. Men who have sex with men was listed in the medical journals as having such an impact.

    Jeshua I can go on and n but will stop there

  6. Jeshua what does your mother has to say about her son Jeshua position as a gay man? Equally what does Daddy has to say when an offspring cannot happen in the natural way. Would they resorted to pure contempt by looking how is coming to dinner Jeshua and Joshua as opposed to Jeshua and Junes. They probably thinking was there money well spent to educate that son who now holds am LLM in Law. We all know that they have had this discussion. Would they happy to introduce Jshua and Joshua to their pastor as husbands of each other?

  7. Donald De Riggs says:

    Nuff respect to all the previous comments. It shows that there are still morally upright Vincentians who are not afraid to accost all persons who practice deviant sexual behaviours and attractions to the same sex. It is unnatural, unhygienic, odious, and utterly repulsive. It goes to show that academic achievement is certainly not wisdom.
    Here we are dealing with a small group of mental and sexual perverts who derive “pleasure” from entering at an EXIT, because many queer women also take w**d from behind saying it better than their worn out Infront.
    Then they are so bold as to ask straight ppl to give up their children for ‘adoption’, so that they can adopt and adapt to their nasty lifestyle. Fire on all b*ll*rs and zàmay queens !!!
    Keep this country free from vice. Let them go b*ll and zàmay elsewhere, there are enough countries where they are welcome to practice their dirty and stinking lifestyle.

    But there is still hope eh, change your ways because the reality is, what you are doing is just based on a feeling, a wrong feeling. So feeling you are a frog doesn’t make you a frog or amphibious! Feeling you are a boy or a girl when you are biologically the opposite doesn’t make you a girl/boy, even if you cut of your breast (radical mastectomy) or cut off your penis and testicles, or taking hormone ‘mal’ treatment.

    There are increasing numbers of persons on YouTube and TikTok who are now regretting that they dismembered their bodies, just because of a feeling that was influenced by other deviant humans including some in the lists mentioned. That is the influence of the devil. The overwhelming majority of gays do not believe in God Almighty, but still hypocritically want a religious leader to marry them… disingenuous!

    Seek Almighty God and his forgiveness before you have to say “if ah bin kno !”. But ‘if ah bin kno’ is always said TOO LATE !!!

  8. No Gay in we Island, Keep Gays away from your Children, Gay have no rights, they can’t reproduce so how can man and man and woman and woman thing be Right? Gays don’t like people, they don’t want life to carry on they’re wicked and needs to be slaughtered one by one because they want humans to cease existing. Anti-Gay always and for ever

  9. Elaine Jones says:

    I’m an American living in St Vincent and can tell you that President Biden is only pushing gay rights in Predominantly Black Nations and black communities to stop the birth rate and increase fatal diseases. I beg St Vincent to join Ghana and other Nations not to legalize LGBTQ rights and destroy your country even if your leaders fall to Western demands.

  10. Bun battyman says:

    Don’t blight our […] generation with your nastyminded thinking. WE DONT PLAY WITH SHIT!!! IF YOU LIKE SHIT AND COCK YOU ALONE DEAL WITH THAT.

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