The Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), has welcomed a ruling by the Trinidad and Tobago High Court, that is being celebrated by gay rights activists in Saint Lucia and around the Caribbean.
Judge Devindra Rampersad ruled last week that Trinidad and Tobago’s buggery laws contravene the constitutional rights and freedoms of gays, by criminalising sexual relations between persons of the same sex,
PANCAP said in a statement that the ruling acknowledges that every individual, regardless of their race, colour, gender, age or sexual orientation has the right to human dignity.
“This ruling is aligned with PANCAP’s Justice for All programme, which calls for the establishment of procedures to accelerate the process for the repeal of laws decriminalising sexual acts in private between consenting adults and replace with or retain the provision criminalising sexual acts between any person in public, with the use of force, and acts of indecency committed against any person of less than 16 years of age,” the statement said.
The Trinidad and Tobago High Court ruling was in favour of Trinidad-born gay rights activist Jason Jones.
Jones filed a constitutional motion challenging Sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act, which makes buggery and serious indecency illegal even between two consenting adults.
PANCAP said the organisation reflects on one of the recommendations of the Regional Consultation of Faith Leaders in February 2017 in Port-of-Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago which acknowledged areas of litigation that may challenge religious values and the responses required to harmonise principles and practices around human rights, human sexuality and human dignity.
“In handing down his decision, Justice Rampersad said that the ruling however is “not an assessment or denial of the religious beliefs of anyone …However, this conclusion is a recognition that the beliefs of some, is not the belief of all,” PANCAP noted.
The organisation said it encourages continued dialogue between the Faith Community and the LGBTI community on areas of agreement and commonality.