UK Diplomat calls on Guyana to legalise same-sex relationships

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By Bibi Khatoon

In the presence of President David Granger, several government ministers and other dignitaries, British High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn called on Guyana to work towards legalising same-sex relationships.

“I was happy to see the first pride parade in Guyana on June 2nd and I encourage all to work towards the decriminalization of same-sex relationships. Everyone has rights. It is time the LGBT community receive the rights they deserve,” the UK Diplomat said.

Guyana’s constitution criminalizes buggery and though the country’s major LGBTQI representative body, the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) said the country has come a far way, same-sex relationships are still frowned upon.

The Diplomat made the remark Thursday evening as Guyana celebrated the Queen’s 92nd birthday at the High Commissioner’s Bel Air Gardens residence.

There have been several calls for the decriminalization of same-sex relationships in Guyana, even more so after the LGBTQI community held its first successful pride parade on June 2.

Recently, Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian Chaterjee expressed her view that all countries should decriminalise same-sex conduct. She was at the time addressing a reception hosted by the Canadian High Commission and the SASOD where General Secretary of the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), Lincoln Lewis told the LGBTQI community to use their votes to elect a Government which will scrap discriminatory laws

Meanwhile, the British High Commissioner Thursday evening also pointed to the scourge of domestic violence which plagues society.

“There can be no impunity for prosecution if such crime has been committed, no one is or should be above the law,” he said as he called out those who witness cases of abuse and stand idly by.

The High Commissioner spoke of the good relationship shared between Guyana and the UK.

He alluded to contributions made by the United Kingdom in the areas of maritime and aviation, Education and security.

The High Commissioner pointed to millions of dollars in grants from the UK to Guyana under the Department for International Development (DFID) fund.

“Since I arrived in Guyana in 2015, over 67M pounds of UK Grant assistance was committed to, or spent in this country,” he said.

Following his remarks, President David Granger spoke of the good relations with the UK government as he jokingly emphasized that this has been so post-colonial days.

The President stuck to his prepared speech which did not respond to the Diplomat’s utterances on domestic violence or same-sex relationships.

“The United Kingdom remains a strategic partner of the Cooperative Republic… We are confident that the strong ties which exist between our two states will be strengthened in the years ahead,” he noted.

Britain’s ties to Guyana were initiated in the Convention of London by which the Sovereign Principality of the United Netherlands formally ceded the three colonies, Demerara, Essequibo and Berbice, to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1814 in the reign of King George III.

The colonial ties were severed 52 years later when Guyana became independent under Queen Elisabeth in 1966 but cordial relations continued.

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