CASTRIES, St. Lucia, CMC – St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony says the island is being pressured into accepting same-sex marriages in a bid to further develop its tourism industry.
Addressing the 16th biennial convention of the Union of Saint Lucian Overseas Associations, Anthony said there were policies that were being imposed on the island and that St Lucia was expected to either sign and accept, or face the consequences.
Anthony told his audience that there were some “delicate” issues that face St Lucia and its tourism industry, and that the island needs the help, assistance and guidance of its overseas based nationals.
“May I just very quickly put one of these issues on the table. What ought to be St Lucia’s position on same sex marriages given the simple fact that all of you reside in the capitals of the world that now champion same sex marriages? What will you tell St Lucians on this issue?” Anthony asked.
Several Caribbean countries have shied away from debating the issue of same sex marriage. But last August, St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas told radio listeners in his country that the introduction of legislation allowing same sex marriage is for national debate, especially among stakeholders and not just legislators.
“I believe the church will want to have its say upon this particular matter. I believe the various groups that are pursuing the human rights of people in a vigorous way in the fundamentals of what people can do or what people cannot do and also looking at what governments can do to lend support to the debate,” Dr Douglas said in response to a caller during the weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister.”
But last month, Dr. Douglas defended the “Justice for All” programme of the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP), saying it was not designed to encourage a re-order of the Caribbean society in a negative way.
A joint statement issued by 140 Caribbean organisations, which say they represent thousands of CARICOM nationals, made reference to an April 11, 2014 CARICOM press release which indicated that the regional leaders will be presenting for endorsement, several actionable recommendations on eliminating HIV-related stigma and discrimination.
The recommendations were made following a regional HIV consultation earlier this year.
In the statement, the regional groups including churches, the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS), the Caribbean Centre for Family and Human Rights, Lawyers for Jesus and Advocate Caribbean, said the recommendations include repealing laws criminalising consensual sexual acts between adults and making sexual orientation a protected category for non-discrimination.
But Dr. Douglas, who has lead responsibility for health matters within the quasi-CARICOM Cabinet, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that he does not think that PANCAP was making any recommendation on issues such as same sex marriages.