Anti-gay laws undermine CARICOM’s slavery reparations demands

Execution Blacks Gays Lesbians Slavery

Homosexuals executed in Iran, Blacks lynched in USA

Human Rights are Human Rights: whether denied upon skin colour or sexual orientation

by Sean Macleish
Caribbean Alliance for Equality

Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves, the current chair of CARICOM (Caribbean Community Secretariat) along with other Caribbean leaders who are continuing to cultivate and place a high discount rate on the lives of their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens are helping to mortgage the region’s future with atrophy, by retarding the growth of their nations in exchange for power by majority rule. Social inclusion, equality and open diversity foster environments where everyone can bring their best to the table and feel valued without incurring the costs associated with repression.

In 2014, 12 of the 15 CARICOM member states still criminalize homosexuality.

Suriname is one of the remaining member states that has legalized homosexuality since 1869. Social economics has many costs and the archaic philosophy of legalized oppression is counterproductive to investing in a nation’s greatest asset; it’s people. In February, referring to the costs of homophobia, President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim stated, “Institutionalized discrimination is bad for people and societies. Widespread discrimination is also bad for economies. There is clear evidence that when societies enact laws that prevent productive people from fully participating in the workforce, economies suffer.”  Anti-gay laws undermine CARICOM’s reparations demands

It is long overdue that CARICOM’s legal system guarantees equality before the law and a bill of rights that includes protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Curiously, CARICOM’s current agenda is seeking reparations for slavery while its own anti-gay laws undermine the legitimacy of this endeavour. Reparation and subjugation are a conundrum when human rights are being currently denied, while seeking amends for past human rights violations. Attempting to emancipate and ameliorate while citizens are being actively disenfranchised is spurious.

It would not be ethical or moral for those countries who have long since decriminalized homosexuality to contribute money and resources to CARICOM nations that currently demean and devalue their LGBT citizens. This should be a factor and a caveat in considering reparations as it is antithetical to the philosophy of promoting equality consciousness. It is unfortunate that these discriminatory laws in CARICOM states exemplify a lack of maturity and responsible leadership.

CARICOM neglects to understand that human rights, which includes sexual orientation/expression, are to be protected, not levied with punishments which results in moral, personal and economic losses for the region. It is questionable if CARICOM is ready for the equitable distribution of reparations or aid. Instead of speaking out against homophobia there are some state leaders in the region who use homophobia for their own political gain.

The World Bank, United States, United Kingdom and the European Union are already considering homophobia in deciding how they provide and dispense aid. Regrettably, CARICOM is still operating under the paradigm that the world is flat with its refusal to reverse its human rights abuses on their LGBT citizens. We are all mutually dependent and homophobia attenuates economies with the immeasurable cost of the devaluation of purposeful relationships that we should be nurturing with each other to increase our Gross National Happiness.

Sean Macleish
Director
Caribbean Alliance for Equality

9 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Human Rights, Slavery

9 responses to “Anti-gay laws undermine CARICOM’s slavery reparations demands

  1. robert ross

    Two things…

    1. I don’t see how the claim for reparations is undermined by anti- buggery legislation.

    2. I fail to see how anti-buggery legislation is an ‘economic’ issue.

    One of the problems is that the Church, and in particular the Anglican Church, is wholly opposed to the repeal of the legislation and has criticized former colonial powers for, as they say, trying to blackmail Caribbean states who regard the legislation as derived from the ‘word of God’.

    Another is that the LGBT community here in the Caribbean has been silent so that governments have not been forced to confront the issue squarely. I wish they would whatever the risks. It would give those of us who support them that leverage which we need to make this a live issue.

  2. robert ross

    Let me add to what I said above on further reflection – yes, It IS quite possible that the former colonial power might well use the gay rights argument to rubbish the idea of reparations. Since I don’t think for a moment that Caribbean countries would capitulate – too much pride for that and the Anglican Bishops have already accused Britain of blackmail – it would be ‘hole in one’.

  3. A christian

    I agree with the Church, it is God’s word we stand by, & I agree with Caribbean leaders. Those who want to de- criminalize homo sexuality should get an island by themselves & live there. No wonder our world is going from one disaster to another. God does not hate the sinner, but hates the sin, just as He hates lying, cheating, murder, fornication, unfaithfulness, etc. We have enough problems without adding more to it.

  4. Thoughts about the bible, sin and adultery

    Dear a christian,

    All sin is sin equally according to my bible anyway.

    Should we therefore criminalize adultery? Should former Prime Minister Owen Arthur then be criminally charged with adultery? Because, as your bible tells you, no matter that he is divorced from his first wife, he is living in sin with his second and still committing adultery according to the bible.

    Should Owen Arthur and his current wife be criminally charged?

  5. St George's Dragon

    @ A Christian
    If you had been born in India you would probably be a Hindu; in Saudi Arabia, you would be a Muslim.
    In either case you would have a whole different set of beliefs.
    It’s an accident of fate that you are a Christian.
    What is there to say that Christianity is God’s word?

  6. robert ross

    St G
    Don’t be absurd…the Bible says so…..err

  7. Canadian Tourist

    @Christian,

    Your argument was the basis of that which was used to legitimize slavery. Well done.

  8. robert ross

    To Thoughts

    The Courts have regularly affirmed ‘We are not a court of morals’. Mind once upon a time adultery was a criminal offence and despite the concept of the catch-all ‘irretrievable breakdown’ it remains the best peg to hang the marriage.

  9. African Muslim Slavery