St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Leaders note legal right to challenge buggery laws

Both Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and Leader of the Opposition Godwin Friday have noted the right of persons to challenge the laws that criminalise buggery in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The two leaders expressed their views separately this week after a court challenge by Vincentians Sean MacLeish, 53, and Javin Johnson, 22, challenging the constitutionality of the laws.

Speaking on radio on Sunday, Gonsalves said the essence of the legal challenge is that it is unconstitutional to outlaw anal sex among consenting adults in the privacy of their home.

He noted that the buggery laws capture acts between same sex or heterosexual couples.

“People should have their day in court and the matter be ventilated and the court must pronounce,” said Gonsalves, a lawyer, who is also Minister of Justice.

“Clearly, the gay and lesbian community have decided internationally and regionally and I am making this comment in an objective manner, I am not making any comment other than objective, I am not expressing a view. They have clearly decided to test the constitutionality of these laws.”

He noted that the courts in Belize and Trinidad and Tobago have ruled that it is unconstitutional to prevent consenting adults from engaging in these activities in private. Read more via iWN