Posts tagged ‘senate’

May 24, 2012

Amazing Debate on Same Sex Issues In the Senate of T&T Tonight.

A groundbreaking debate on a clause of the Children Bill during committee stage in the Senate this evening ( ongoing) involving a clause that includes buggery. Anand repeated that a national debate needs to be undertaken – the Independent Senators weren’t taking that.

Paraphrase :

On the suggestion that the AG made that changing the clause would result in decriminalizing same sex acts – a senator said – well maybe that is why we should remove it?

Female Senator – so if a young heterosexual couple have sex and the girl gets pregnant that is okay but if a same sex couple do they have to go to YTC or Womens Prison?

Sen. Balgobin: We cannot base new legislation based on backward laws – ” the time to turn the tide is now”

The Independent Senators ( and others- I was listening on the car radio) were so united on the issue they called for division ( vote) so their objections would be noted. The AG eventually asked that the Opposition meet and discuss their position on the issue and that the clause in question be deferred. This means another animated round of discussion is ahead.

Very proud of the Independent Senators right now.

Independent Senator Rolph Balgobin. ( after midnight in the Senate)

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May 17, 2012

LGBT Rights Continue To Remain in the Headlines in T&T

Contribution made by Senator Corinne Baptiste-McKnight in Senate in response to a Clause in the Children Bill that criminalized same sex intimacy among youth.   Give that woman an award! ( Via Nadine Agard)

I want to come immediately to what I know is going to be very controversial, but as I stand here, I feel I have a duty to everyone here, and to everyone outside there, to do it. We are living through an age where bullying is rampant in our school system. A lot of the bullying takes place, boy upon boy, a lot of it is taking place because one of them is thought or suspected of being gay. Now we cannot as adults come here, under the guise of representing a country, and behave as if we live in the only country in the world where there are no homosexuals, no gays, no lesbians, and no transvestites. My God, you only have to be in Curepe at too late an hour, and you do not know which is female from which is male because all of them are dressed in high heels, lipstick, and have a lot hair. What happen, are we not making laws for them too?
I want us to think because a lot of you have children, and your children arrive on earth and they are called male or female, what if one of your children is unhappy in his or her skin, uncomfortable in their given sexuality, and that child is not able to come to either parent, and unburden? What if that child has no adult in its life to whom the child can turn for comfort, even when the child is being persecuted at school for this? I would hate to think that the 31 of us in here are so homophobic, that we would shut our eyes to seeing an infant, a child, suffer through no fault of his or her own.
We have got to open our eyes and face the facts. [Crosstalk] What is that? Excuse me?  No, we have to talk in public about this because there are people out there who are hurting. There are children, there are parents who are waiting for approval to deal with their gay children, and we have to send them the message that it is all right to deal with their gay children, not have them closeting the children because they would be persecuted, and prosecuted. I really want to propose that this “(c)” be removed from every subclause in 20.
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.