Posts tagged ‘Caribbean’

April 28, 2014

Amilcar Sanatan of the IGDS at UWi.

I really enjoyed this interview on gender and development.

February 8, 2014

If I was Prime Minister: Ending Sexism and Homophobia: Gabrielle Hosein at TEDxPortofSpain

December 6, 2013

Richie Maitland of the Coalition Advocating for the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (T&T)

Aired December 5, 2013 on ieTV. Wide ranging discussion on sexual orientation and immigration and national policy in the Caribbean.

November 13, 2013

Wesley Gibbings – General Secretary Association of Caribbean Media Workers Pt 1

Aired November 13, 2013 on ieTV. Wesley speaks about threats to journalism and journalists in the Caribbean and the role of journalists versus the role of government.

November 13, 2013

Caroline Mair – International Environmental Lawyer

Aired on ieTV November 11/11/13. Ms Mair talks about climate change in the Caribbean and the current state of international environmental law.

June 24, 2013

Annmarie Libert-DeFour – Coordinator HIV-AIDS – T& T Ministry of Health

January 17, 2012

Strange And Disturbing Laws In Trinidad & Tobago

As many of you might know I live and work in Trinidad & Tobago which is a strange mishmash of  Victorian laws and modernity.  Ignoring the Sexual Offenses Act which might be problematic for me  were I not given only 3 months in the country on my last entry :

13. (1) Aperson who commits buggery is guilty of an offence
and is liable on conviction to imprisonment—
(a) if committed by an adult on a minor, for life;
(b) if committed by an adult on another adult, for
twenty-five years;
(c) if committed by a minor, for five years.
(2) In this section “buggery” means sexual intercourse
per anum by a male person with a male person or by a male person
with a female person


(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to an act of serious
indecency committed in private between—
(a) a husband and his wife; or
(b) a male person and a female person each of whom
is sixteen years of age or more, both of whom
consent to the commission of the act.
(3) An act of “serious indecency” is an act, other than
sexual intercourse (whether natural or unnatural), by a person
involving the use of the genital organ for the purpose of arousing
or gratifying sexual desire.

Nope, no sexism, homophobia or overt  discrimination there. Actually, given my life of late it probably wouldn’t affect me but still.

What else is said you ask? Let me check… Oh wait there are laws that were introduced to placate religious groups. Like India …Oh wait…India is secular…what has T&T done?

There is a Muslim  marriage act. That allows…wait..what? A 12 year old girl to be married?  Seriously?

Yup:

8. The age at which a person, being a member of the Muslim
community, is capable of contracting marriage shall be sixteen in
the case of males and twelve in the case of females
However, in the case of an intended marriage between persons
either of whom is under eighteen years of age (not being a widower
or widow), the consent to the marriage, of the father if living or if
the father is dead of the guardian or guardians lawfully appointed
or of one of them, and in case there is no such guardian then of the
mother of the person so under age, and if the mother is dead then
of such other person as may be appointed for the purpose by the
President,shall be certified in writing by the marriage officer before
whom the marriage is contracted upon the certificate ofthe marriage
to be issued in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

The law is here.

Hindus fought for another offensive marriage age. Not quite as awful but still impressively pervy and sexist .

11. (1) The age at which a person, being a member of the
Hindu faith or religion, is capable of contracting marriage shall be
eighteen years in the case of males and fourteen years in the case
of females.
(2) Without prejudice to the provisions of subsection (1),
a marriage shall not be solemnised by a Marriage Officer if the
intended husband (not being a widower), is under eighteen years
of age or the intended wife (not being a widow) is under sixteen
years of age unless the consent to the marriage of the party who is
under age by virtue of thissubsection has been given in accordance
with the following provisions of this section, and the consent is
hereby required for the marriage of such party under age.
(3) The required consent may be given by the father of
the party under age, and if the father is dead by the guardian or
guardians appointed or one of them, and in case there is no such
guardian then by the mother of the party so under age, and if the
mother is dead then by such other person as may be appointed for
the purpose by the President.
(4) In case the father, mother, or a guardian whose consent
to a marriage is required under subsection (3) is absent from
Trinidad and Tobago or is unable or refuses to give the consent or
is not of sound mind, the party in whose case consent is required
may apply to the President to appoint a person, being a member of
the Hindu community, to investigate the circumstances of the
intended marriage and if after the investigation it appears to the
person so appointed that there are no reasonable objections to the
intended marriage such person shall so formally declare in writing
and the declaration shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed
equivalent to the consent as aforesaid.

Yes, T&T can’t deal with LGBT rights but it is so on the ball for child marriage rights.

January 16, 2012

Curacao flash mob

I was finishing the  Curacao chapter for Fodor’s Caribbean 2013 when I came across this.  Not brilliant, likely commercial,  but it is still one of my favorite islands.

March 23, 2011

UN Joint Statement of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

 

From African Activist

Via African Activist ( rapidly becoming my favorite site) ,

“Eighty-five nations endorsed the UN Joint Statement on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identitypresented by Colombia to the UN Human Rights Council, an inter-governmental body within the United Nations made up of 47 states. The statement was signed by the Central African Republic, Rwanda, and South Africa.”

As usual, in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic was progressive. Surprisingly, Cuba also voted in support. The English Caribbean ( including T&T which continues to betray its alleged commitment to human rights)  was notably absent except for Dominica. I can only surmise that the normally homophobic Dominica either had a coup or someone pushed the wrong button.

February 19, 2011

Interesting result from a disturbing question.

Latest poll results @7pm T&T time

There has been a lot of media discussion in Trinidad & Tobago over the last week on the matter of LGBT rights and even ( rather amazingly)  same-sex marriage. This is a result of  a debate in the senate on an unrelated matter (the Statutory Authorities Amendment Bill)  that took a surprising turn when some  senators brought up the subject saying the discussion could lead to same-sex marriage. Since the debate was specifically about people who are NOT married that was patently ridiculous but Government Senator and Minister of  Planning, Mary King took the matter and ran with it indicating that LGBT matters should be discussed in the future. Local LGBT groups, most notably CAISO, have leveraged the discussion through the media and  are getting a great deal of local and regional mileage.

Having interviewed both Minister King and Colin Robinson of CAISO in the last week I can report that the matter is definitely building up some momentum. The question is what will this momentum lead to?   The current government hinted on the campaign trail that the matter of  equality could be dealt with by a referendum – a suggestion so patently silly it is surprising anyone was misguided enough to bring it up. When human rights are involved it usually requires a government willing to ignore a fear of political fallout and do the moral thing.  No one in their right mind would suggest that a referendum be held to give Catholics or left handed people equal rights.

In any case, the Trinidad Express has noted the debate and is conducting a referendum of their own by posting a poll asking “Do you support calls for the government to grant equal rights to members of the gay community?”  This being the developing world  and part of the highly homophobic English Caribbean one would have expected a bloodbath. While members and friends of the LGBT community might certainly leverage the internet to add to the ‘yes’ votes – the same opportunity is available to those who think that all people should not have equality. Being a loud and  generally boisterous group it would have been likely that the anti-equality forces, buoyed by sheer numbers would have dominated the poll. Strangely, this has not been the case. The current result has been holding at 56% ‘yes’ to 46% ‘no .

There may be mitigating factors given that more educated people may be more likely to take the poll, or that large numbers of anti-equality folks may not have internet access or do not bother to read the online papers. There is also another possibility – maybe a large portion of the population actually really does feel that all citizens are entitled to protection under the law. Yes, it is depressing that so many people have voted ‘no’, but in the context of this part of the world it is still encouraging that they are in the minority.

Will anything come of the current discussion in terms of  changing the current legislation? The government would need balls to make such changes  and in this country no government so far has had anything even close  to that.

For background on Trinidad & Tobago’s current laws that omit protection based on sexual orientation have a gander at Lisa Allen-Agostini’s excellent blog post “About those gay rights” here.

Keep an eye on the poll here.