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PM Gonsalves’ response about homosexuality is disappointing

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Tue Sep 24, 2013

Editor: The recent statements by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves in response to a question of decriminalizing homosexuality in SVG is disappointing and serves to absolve him from performing the duties of an elected leader. He was quoted as saying, “Now this is not a matter on which a politician should be pronouncing upfront, given the nature of this social issue, but for civic leaders to talk about, for newspapers to write and talk about and for them to raise it”.{{more}}

The responsibility of public office is to serve the people to promote equal access in the pursuit of happiness for everyone. Particular attention should be paid to those groups that have their paths hindered and encumbered with social segregation supported by oppressive, state institutionalized legislation. I want my elected public officials who are in the role of leaders to have these ideals and this determines whom I vote for. The Prime Minister’s choice to ignore the social realities of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Vincentians being less than equal is careless and to ferret out his responsibility to resolve this issue and not practice compassionate leadership is unethical. This is the fiduciary role of a Prime Minister.

Civic leaders, pundits and others may comment with their opinions and though it’s entertaining at times, they shouldn’t have the right to strengthen public policy that relegates a group to a subservient position, while maintaining their own privileged notches on the totem pole. It’s a luxurious conflict of interest heavily in their favour, while the human rights of LGBT Vincentians continue to vacillate with every encounter. Who will deny me today or tomorrow, employment, housing, health care, justice, educational opportunities and mutual respect because of my sexuality? There’s nothing remotely amusing about this. Everyone should be given equal access, which is a fundamental human right that should be protected and legislated by the government. However, the Prime Minister seems to believe that human rights should be left to referendums and the opinions of the majority.

People should have the courage to be treated equally and expect their leaders to have the same, with the conviction to clear the path of any legal and social obstacles.

As Prime Minister, he is responsible and is fully accountable for his decision not to be a leader of human rights.

Sean Macleish

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