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DPP: Two men not getting special treatment

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by Kirby Jackson & Kenara Woods 24.APR.09

As questions swirl as to why two men who were allegedly found naked in a jeep by police on Monday, April 20th, were not slapped with charges and brought before the court, the Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams has dismissed claims of bias that are being made.{{more}}

Sources indicate that officers from the narcotics division of the police force were on mobile patrol in the Lowmans Bay area at around 9pm.

They reportedly approached a jeep and allegedly found two naked men inside the vehicle.

The men were taken to the Central Police Station and were subsequently released.

Head of the Criminal Investigations Department, Superintendent Brinsley Ballantyne, told SEARCHLIGHT that charges have not yet been laid against the men as investigations are continuing.

Meanwhile, DPP Williams cleared the air about comparisons that were being drawn between the two men in question, and two other men, who were hauled before the courts after one was found performing oral sex on the other on the steps of the Kingstown Evangelical Church last July.

Williams told SEARCHLIGHT that based on the information he has received, the two situations are different. In the case of the men who were charged with committing an act of gross indecency, they were actually caught in the act.

In the recent incident, the men were allegedly found naked but were not doing anything, Williams said.

So according to Williams, any belief that the men were getting special treatment, or were being saved the embarrassment of a court appearance because of social status, is incorrect.

Questions have arisen as to what the men may have been doing in that jeep in a secluded spot late at night. Section 148 of the criminal code, Cap 124 of the revised laws of St Vincent and the Grenadines 1990, states that any person, whether in public or private, who commits any act of gross indecency with another person of the same sex or procures or attempts to procure another person of the same sex to commit an act of gross indecency with him or her, is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for five years. The men have been released without being charged with any offence.

Meanwhile, the topic of the relevance of the laws of St Vincent and the Grenadines regarding homosexual acts has come up for discussion on several occasions.

The Human Rights Association here has joined many international organizations in calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality in Caribbean countries.

However, both Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and Opposition leader Arnhim Eustace have indicated in Parliament that it will not be decriminalized under their watch.

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