PM REMINDS CRITICS: NO ONE’S BEEN ARRESTED UNDER BUGGERY LAW!

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The government has not decided on any adjustments to Saint Lucia’s controversial buggery law. This was the word from Prime Minister Allen Chastanet on Tuesday, as he made his way to a sitting of parliament. “That’s a long-debated issue and I don’t think the country as a whole has decided what should be done about it. Obviously it will take more dialogue and wider discussions than we’ve had.” He said the jury was still out as to whether the law is at odds with established human rights. “This is something deserving of review,” he said, “but at this point my government has not decided anything.”  

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet (pictured): In highlighting that no tourist has ever been arrested for buggery, the prime minister says that each country is entitled to hold its own positions.

In recent months the future of the buggery law has been heavily debated, if only by a relatively small group of individuals. Outspoken Bishop Dr. Thomas Eristhee is adamant that the law should not be repealed just because “a group of persons want a license to do what is wrong”. He expressed fears that same-sex marriage would follow if the so-called buggery law was repealed. On the other hand, the board secretary of United and Strong, Jessica St. Rose, announced in August that the law will be challenged in court “very soon”.

In September the president of the Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association (SLHTA), Karolin Troubetzkoy, told reporters the buggery law sends the wrong signal to the world, that it is “outdated”.  She said, without evidence, that there were many travellers from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community overseas who would not visit Saint Lucia because of the law. 

On October 15 Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee told the STAR he had seen nothing to suggest the law was having negative impart on visitor numbers. On the contrary, he said, the industry continued to register growth. He agreed it would take a nationwide demand for the government to consider repealing the buggery law. Like Fedee, the prime minister played down suggestions that the law has demonstrably impacted the tourism sector one way or another. “It hasn’t in the past,” said Chastanet. “I would not be surprised to hear complaints from special interest groups but it cannot be said visitors have been harassed or arrested based on their sexual preferences alone.”  

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