Britain Will Hear Cayman Islands Complaints
February 20, 2001
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands The British
government is modifying its stance in the long-running dispute with Cayman
Islands religious leaders, and has now said it will listen to their complaints
over the forced repeal of the territorys sodomy law, the Associated Press
The British government in January repealed sodomy statutes in all five of
its overseas territories in the Caribbean, saying in part they were in
violation of international human rights agreements which Britain had signed.
Asked whether the government would accept a petition being circulated by
religious leaders, Ian Hendry, deputy legal adviser for the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office, said "clearly we would read it with interest."
Most suspect the expressed willingness to meet with outraged church leaders
is merely an attempt to smooth tensions on the islands over the issue. Britain
is not expected to reverse its stance -- a position underlined by Hendry when
he stressed the sodomy repeal "was made after long deliberation."
"It is difficult to see now why a petition should put into reverse the
policy that was planned, discussed and carried out, not on a whim but in order
to give effect to an international obligation of the UK...," Hendry said
at a news conference Friday.
The order decriminalizing consensual acts between adults in private also
applies to Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat and the Turks and