Opposition Senator, Isaac Baptiste, has suggested removing the laws against buggery which are on the books in Dominica.
Speaking in parliament during debate on amendments to the Sexual Offences Act, he stated the laws are not in keeping with international movements, can impact the island’s tourism sector and are hypocritical if they are based on the bible since the bible condemns other actions such as adultery.
“We must be real, we have to be consistent, we cannot be hypocritical,” he argued. “I am suggesting that the continued criminalization of buggery, as it is now provided for to the extent that the court can subject that person to psychiatric observation and treatment, is not consistent with what happening internationally.”
He is of the opinion that the laws can affect Dominica’s tourism industry.
“Here it is we are promoting tourism, we have no problem with the gay ships coming in,” he noted. “I have a hotel facility, I have seen male couples come in, I can see they are intimate but with this legislation, do I call the police when they go into their hotel room and tell them I suggest that there is a criminal activity taking place there?”
Baptiste remarked that if the rationale for the laws is based on the bible, it is hypocritical since the bible condemns other actions such as fornication and adultery.
“I am saying that if the argument is based on biblical grounds then I am saying we are also hypocritical because the bible condemns fornication, the bible condemns adultery, the bible condemns these kinds of behavior, so why are selective in terms of buggery?” he queried.
He said in this day and age he has a problem with legislating what people do in private, although he pointed out that those involved in such practice do it publicly or are involved in rape, they should be imprisoned.
In 2013, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit made it clear that buggery laws on the books in Dominica will not be repealed pointing out that he has not heard any ‘compelling’ argument to support such move.
Amendments to the Sexual Offences Act were approved by parliament.