Last edited: January 26, 2005

Focus on Sex Laws

The Nation, January 26, 2005
P.O. Box 1203, Bridgetown, St. Michael, Barbados, W.I.
Tel: 246-430-5400 Fax: 246-427-6968

By Karin Dear

SWEEPING LEGISLATIVE changes, including a recommendation that anal sex by consenting adults in private no longer carry the threat of imprisonment, as well as legalising brothels, will be the subject of a public forum at Solidarity House this evening.

More than a dozen recommendations seeking to remove “legislative props” that encourage the marginalisation of groups at high risk for transmission of HIV/AIDS, form the backbone of a 70-page Report On The Legal, Ethical And Socio-Economic Issues Relevant To HIV/AIDS In Barbados commissioned by the Attorney-General’s Office last February.

Compiled by Professor E. R. “Mickey” Walrond, the report also calls for strict punitive legislation in cases where buggery forms part of a sexual offence.

In fact, the report recommends that the Sexual Offences Act Section 9 should be amended to read:

“Any person who commits buggery during the commission of a sexual offence as defined in this act is liable on conviction to imprisonment for . . .”

Other controversial areas addressed in the report include bringing commercial sex workers into a regulated public health framework that would include brothels.

An amendment to Section 18 of the Sexual Offences Act, which would be renamed Regulation of Brothels, also calls for an amendment to read that a person who fails to register and comply under the Public Health Regulations (Communicable Diseases or new sexual and other personal services) is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to . . . .”

The contents of the report are being studied in a national assessment exercise by a number of stakeholders throughout the society, including members of the medical profession, the church, private sector and the media.

This evening’s town hall meeting will be moderated by Dr Carol Jacobs and Richard Carter of the National HIV/AIDS Commission.

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