By Devina Samaroo
Amid renewed calls for the decriminalisation of same-sex intimacy, former President and Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo believes that the country is not ready for such major changes.
Jagdeo reminded that during related consultations, the public expressed disapproving sentiments towards the decriminalisation of same-sex intimacy.
“I don’t think the country, based on what our consultations show among large numbers of people, is ready for the same sex marriage and all of those things,” he posited during a press conference at his Office today (24 May, 2017).
According to Jagdeo, there was a huge outcry about making same-sex intimacy a fundamental right.
“Because if it did, then the Marriage Act would have been illegal…and because of both sides – what the religious communities and NGOs came up with – we decided not to go to that level,” he stated.
However, he noted that Guyanese, based on feedback during those consultations, did not support discrimination on any grounds.
He also pointed out that the situation is similar to that of the death penalty matter.
“We’ve not had anyone executed since sometime in 1990s. So similarly, in the books, we have some of these provisions in place but people in practice, people have not been charged on the basis of these issues anymore,” he stated.
Nonetheless, Jagdeo said at some point in time, the laws must reflect the nation’ practices.
In this regard, he said he is prepared to engage in discussions with the government’s intention of ensuring persons are not discriminated against.