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We need effective leaders who do not discriminate

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Tue May 28, 2013

Editor: Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, in reference to Vincentians living abroad who are critical of some of his public policies, has been recently quoted as saying:“It is a nice, voluntary exile, creates a particular kind of mind-set with some people. And, of course, we have some in St Vincent and the Grenadines. But, what we need is hard work and smart work, disciplined work. That is how we have to grow”.{{more}}

I am one of those fanciful Vincentians living in a nice, voluntary exile, where being defined as a criminal in SVG because I am gay is a major factor in where I chose to live. I was lucky in that I was able to choose. My “hard work and smart work” is now valued without my having to veil and distort who I am, in order to survive. What about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Vincentians who are living in SVG that are involuntarily exiled by the Prime Minister’s refusal to decriminalize homosexuality?

He went on to say “and some of them are frustrated politicians. I believe for every five of 10 educated Vincentians overseas who have an interest in politics, … they fancy themselves as the next prime minister, they have every solution to everything under the sun, everything is Ralph’s fault, just give them a chance.” My frustration lies in the Prime Minister’s public position in not recognizing that all citizens are equal, regardless of sexual orientation. We need effective leaders who do not discriminate in whom they choose to advocate for.

What steps has he made to foster an environment where people like myself who are living in SVG are supported and valued by the government, with societal homophobic discrimination restrained by equality legislation, so that they too can grow and work hard?

Sean Macleish

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