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Trinidad and Tobago: Prime Minister says gay rights is ‘not legally possible’

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The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago has gone on record to say the country is nowhere near ready to establish a referendum dealing with the decriminalisation of homosexuality and gay rights as “it is not legally possible.”

Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the first female Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, made the remarks yesterday while at the T&T Investment Conference in Manhattan.

She said: “At this moment it is not legally possible. The draft gender policy came to the Cabinet, discussed at length and given the very divided voices of Trinidad and Tobago.

“It will not be prudent for Government to proceed in that direction… it’s too divided. There is no consensus on that issue.”

The draft gender policy was first announced to be brought forward by the Prime Minister in 2012, where she announced her support for gay rights in a letter to the British GMO, which read:

“I do not support discrimination in any form against any individual, regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation.”

However, when pressed whether decriminalisation was now still under consideration, she conceded it would be unwise for the government to head in that direction.

In a one-on-one conversation with Lakshmi Singh, an anchor for National Public Radio in Washington, Persad-Bissessar also described the issue of LGBT equality as “very touchy and sensitive.”

She said: “I think that is an issue that is not really for the Government to decide at this time in our country.

“It is an issue that the people must decide and therefore one that may require as a referendum to get the views of the people… personal views are not good enough.”

Last year, a gay rights activist and attorney-at-law in Jamaica has challenged the immigration laws of both the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and Belize, because of policies that prohibit gay people from entering.

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