A recommendation to legalize consensual buggery among adults in Dominica, which was submitted to a committee recently set up to review the country’s Sexual Offenses Act was denied, Legal Consultant, Ray Harris has revealed.
The government is working on tightening the Sexual Offenses Act of 1998 and the committee, under the chairmanship of Harris, was set up in October 2015 to make necessary observations and recommendations. A draft will soon be sent to parliament for approval.
“Although there were certain submissions, vis-à-vis, I almost said it, freeing up but that’s not the way to look at it. It’s a matter of legalizing consensual buggery among adults,” he said. “One of the stakeholders did submit that but I am being honest, the committee did not recommend that.”
He continued, “In fact there were a few cases, when we talked to Justice (Errol) Thomas and others and the DPP that showed you that even when sometimes you have a minor who would be 17 abusing another one who would be 10 or 11, the kind of brutality and heinous buggery that went on, in some of the cases we realized that the penalty was just too low.”
Buggery, or anal intercourse, is illegal in Dominica under the Sexual Offenses Act however, there have been calls from some quarters to take a second look at the matter.
Local group, Minority Rights Dominica (MiriDom), has been calling on the government to take another look at the law with a view to having it repealed.
According to the group, the Act “discriminates against people because of their sexual preferences,” noting that everybody should be treated equally.
In 2011, then Health Minister, Julius Timothy raised concerns about what he said was a growing trend of buggery in Dominica. He said a study to determine the prevalence of men who have sex with men was undertaken and the matter was “becoming a very serious situation.”
Back in 2013, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that buggery laws on the books in Dominica will not be repealed pointing out that he has not heard any ‘compelling’ argument to support such move.