Buggery law only applicable to non-consensual acts claims Prime Minister, gays not persecuted in Barbados claims AG

20 April 2017

In a recent interview, the Prime Minister of Barbados reportedly claimed that the country’s laws criminalising same-sex sexual acts were only applicable to non-consensual acts. Claiming that Barbados did not criminalise homosexuality, he said: “have been a lawyer for the last 34 years now. And I am not aware that we have what you call harsh buggery laws. If the offence of buggery, it is an offence on the statute books of Barbados.

But if the offence of buggery is committed, the prosecutor needs to have somebody push the case. If the prosecutor doesn't have somebody to push the case [inaudible] he has no buggery charge. If the patient, the language of the law uses the agent and the patient, if the person buggered does not go and complain to the police, or if he's a consenting person, there's no issue. The law of buggery has to do with abuse, where A abuses B without his consent.

Which is the equivalent of the law of rape, where A has sexual intercourse with B female without her consent. But in terms of Barbados being a place where if two men or two women are seen together, any presumption can be made that they’re involved in any improper relationship and we try them before the courts, none of that exists in Barbados.”

He further added: “There is a lobby that is trying to get the government, trying to get successive governments in Barbados to decriminalize as they say homosexuality. But you can only decriminalize something that is already a criminal offence. As I say, if buggery is an offence, then buggery takes place if A has anal intercourse with B without B’s consent. But as far as I’m aware, homosexuality is not criminalized in Barbados. So there is nothing to decriminalize.”

Meanwhile the country’s AG, reportedly speaking with the Canadian High Commissioner, maintained that although buggery was still illegal in Barbados, this did not impact two consenting adults. Adding that Barbados remained one of the Caribbean islands where gay persons could exist without fearing for their lives, the Attorney General stressed that citizens have always been aware and very “tolerant” of same-sex relations within the society.

See: Daily Extra, What does Barbados’ prime minister have to say about the country’s harsh buggery laws?, 19 April 2017

See also: Nation News, AG: Gay people not persecuted in Barbados, 12 April 2017


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