Trinidad to rule on sodomy law
2 Trinidad and Tobago could make legal history in the Caribbean this week by rolling back long-standing homophobic laws.
A high court judge, Devindra Rampersad, is due to deliver his verdict this week in a landmark case brought by a private citizen that, if successful, would set a precedent for removing similar laws across the region.
In March 2017, Jason Jones, an LGBT activist, took the government of Trinidad and Tobago to court, filing a lawsuit to strike down the so-called buggery law, which dates from British rule. Jones argues that section 13 of the island’s Sexual Offences Act, which criminalises anal sex, is unconstitutional because it violates his right to privacy, liberty and freedom of expression.
Trinidad and Tobago’s constitution was written in 1976 when the country became independent from Great Britain. In 1986, its parliament rewrote the act, increasing the maximum penalty for sodomy between adults to 25 years’ imprisonment.