Last edited: February 14, 2005

Britain Will Hear Cayman Islands’ Complaints

Dataloungue, 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 territory’s sodomy law, the Associated Press reports.

The British government in January repealed sodomy statutes in all five of its overseas territories in the Caribbean, saying in part they were in violation of international human rights agreements which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 Caicos Islands.

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