Ramkarran knocks homophobia in Disciplined Services
Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran yesterday criticized homophobia in the Disciplined Services and rapped the government on this issue saying that its plan for a public consultation on same-sex relations was a cop out.
His views were expressed in a letter in the Sunday Stabroek in response to reports that two women soldiers had been fired after a sex video of them was circulated.
He also cited a police statement which implied that homosexuals would not be welcome in the force.
“There has been no condemnation or explanation of these actions by the Government through its loquacious spokesperson, Dr (Roger) Luncheon, or by any other so the public has to assume that the positions of our disciplined forces are officially sanctioned”, said Ramkarran.
“Two women members of the GDF, were privately filmed, apparently by themselves, engaging in private conduct. The film was discovered, circulated and the women were subjected to some form of discipline. They were obviously publicly ridiculed”, the letter went on to say.
Last week reports began circulating that the women were fired after the tape was seen by their superiors. Efforts yesterday to contact Commodore Gary Best on the matter proved futile.
Ramkarran stated that the Guyana Police Force had issued a statement to the effect that it does not encourage homosexuality in the force. “This implies that homosexuals would not be welcome in the Force… that persons of alternative lifestyles, who conduct their private activity in private, and harm no one including themselves, are not fit to serve Guyana”, Ramkarran said.
He criticized government’s recent decision to have public consultations on the decriminalization of homosexuality saying it was an excuse to not frontally address the issue.
He opined “The recent decision of the Government of Guyana to have public consultations about decriminalizing alternative lifestyles is a cop out. Guyana, like the rest of the Caribbean, is deeply homophobic. Public consultations will result in overwhelming support for maintaining the criminalization of homosexuality.”
Guyana has given a commitment to the United Nations Human Rights Committee that it would hold those consultations as well as one on corporal punishment before year-end.
“The Government of Guyana intends to take the easy way out, instead of leading public opinion on these matters, especially homophobia, now under consideration” he surmised.
Ramkarran further said that the removal of the colonial inherited laws can enhance human rights across the region.
He made mention of two Jamaicans who recently filed a suit in the Jamaican courts challenging the constitutionality of the same laws as Guyana’s. He said homosexuals are regularly murdered in Jamaica and the unconstitutional provisions help to promote homophobia.
“It will strengthen and enhance human rights of the entire region if these now notorious laws are removed from our statute books. I am sure that there are lawyers in Guyana, particularly from the younger community who would be willing to institute such proceedings as a public service. They can be instituted by any person.”
The Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) is spearheading regional efforts for a number of countries in the region to scrap laws against homosexuality.