The Saint Lucia based human rights group, United and Strong, which advocates on behalf of gays, lesbians, bi-sexual and transgender individuals, has spoken out against discrimination against gays in the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, (RSLPF).
The issue of discrimination against gays in the force was first raised recently by the President of the Police Welfare Association, Camron Laure, at a recent news conference.
The Secretary of United and Strong, Jessica St Rose told the Times that being gay or lesbian should not prevent anyone from joining the RSLPF or any other organization for that matter.
“Discrimination should not be happening in any organization because that has nothing to do with you being employed,” St Rose asserted.
Hard on the heels of the President of the Police Welfare Association disclosing that there was discrimination against gays in the force, former National Security Minister, Guy Mayers, had described the comments as “interesting”, while noting that buggery is a criminal offence.
Mayers had indicated to the Times that as such, Police officers were engaging in criminal behavior.
Nevertheless the Secretary of United and Strong has taken exception to the former Minister’s comments.
“They are not engaging in an illegal activity. You have the right to love whom you want to love and why should someone be judged on that? How is being in the Police force and being gay committing an offence? You did not catch the person having a sexual encounter with someone of the same sex. I can understand that since the law exists in that regard, although I think that the law should not exist. But you cannot discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. That is wrong,” St Rose declared.
At the same time she felt the discussion of the issue was good for the community since discrimination against persons is an ongoing problem.
” It happens every day and look now it is in the work environment, so that discussion is good so that United and Strong can do more work with employers when it comes to discrimination against employees, especially in the Police force,” St Rose noted.
She observed that United and Strong has been doing a lot of sensitization with Police Officers in terms of how members of the community are treated by officers.
St Rose told the Times that now that there are reports of discrimination against gays in the Police force, United and Strong may have to look into the matter.