​Anti-buggery laws, homosexuality & HIV/Aids behind bars

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By Jomo Paul

feet[www.inewsguyana.com] – In most prisons across the world, condoms were once considered contraband as they incited same sex relations, something which is frowned upon by both law and morals.

That situation has not changed radically with some countries moving to equip penal centers with condoms on the argument that prisoners are going to have sex with or without the condoms. Hence it is better that they do so in a safe manner.

While homosexuality is becoming increasingly visible in Guyanese society, the stigma, unacceptance and discrimination of it still remains and may have intensified the spread of HIV/Aids in the prison system.

In 2004, when the People’s Progressive Party/Civic administration had attempted to distribute condoms in the prison system, masses of religious citizens protested the plan, saying it was promoting homosexuality.

At one such protest, it was claimed that such an act would “plunge the prisoners into deeper sin.”

Fast forward eleven years later and the issue of condoms in prisons is once more on the horizon with a recent statement made by Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton.

Dr Norton told the 37th Meeting of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board in Geneva, Switzerland that HIV cases in Guyana’s prisons are double that of the general populace.

Health Minister, Dr. George Norton.
Health Minister, Dr. George Norton.

“I am in full support of accelerating an increased access to HIV prevention, treatment and care services for people in prisons and other closed settings. Whist we are all aware of the risk for HIV in prisons and closed settings, our response in many ways have been lagging and therefore the time is opportune that we prioritize this population,” Dr Norton had said.

The Health Minister was however quick to speak on the issue of condoms in prisons promising formidable consultations on the subject.

“The opponents of prevention services and more particularly condoms in prisons must be educated and lobbied to ensure that there is full understanding of the issues and that decisions are based on evidence and science. Policies have to take on board a comprehensive, combination prevention approach to HIV.”

Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association Programme Director, Renuka Anandjit, in a recent interview with iNews lamented the need for condoms to be introduced into the prison system.

“Yes, do it! At the end of the day you have to look at it from a health perspective – it’s not about promoting homosexuality,” said Anandjit.

Renuka Anandjit
Renuka Anandjit

She explained that condoms would be the best option because regardless of whether the condoms are distributed, the prisoners will still have sexual relations amongst themselves.

“I can’t understand why there was a big uproar and the whole thing about promoting homosexuality,” she said recalling the issue in 2004.

She noted too that condoms should not only be given to the prisons that house male prisoners but rather an across the board approach should be taken, targeting both men and women that are incarcerated.

Mike McCormack, Head of the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) opined that the situation is a lot more than just providing condoms in jails but also that of repealing discriminatory laws in Guyana’s constitution.

He told iNews that a more holistic manner in which the matter would be dealt with is the repealing of anti-buggery laws; something which has been elusive to Guyana, though it has been promised for decades.

McCormack further made his point detailing that by supplying condoms to the prisons it would be directly

Mike McCormack, GHRA Head
Mike McCormack, GHRA Head

promoting buggery in the case of male prisoners – which is an indirect contravention to the law.

“We have to look at making sexual orientation something that is protected in our constitution…until we sort that

one out we are not going to find a solution to the prison issue,” McCormack stated.

Contacted for a comment on the issue on Monday November 02, Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan told iNews that he has not given much thought on the issue and declined to further comment.

He said he would have to consult with Prisons officials before issuing any comment.

“I have not given any thought on that issue at all,” said Ramjattan.

Prisons in both the United Kingdom and the United States have begun distributing condoms in jail; these States have both overcome a major impediment which is the legalization of sodomy – by extension legalizing gay marriage.

12 COMMENTS

  1. David, you are so right. If you look at some of the work force here in the USA, guyanese have very high positions in a variety of jobs, that means we are constructive people with good skills. So I can’t see why we don’t pave our own way, to suit the guyanese people. We don’t need outsiders to dictate for us. Try telling an American official to do something.

  2. Being locked up in prison is to restrict a persons freedom, so they will ultimately learn a lesson and maybe become good citizen. If we give them ll their freedom, why locked them up? I say control their behavior and their sex, cigarette, and all the things they should not be having., let the prison be a prison.

  3. The issue is not we promoting homesexuality, the issue is about the Hiv that is being spread . They could even seperate the Hiv positive inmates from the negetive ones nd make sure all inmates are tested upon entry in prisons.

  4. LMAO!!! This government having been handed the elections by the abc countries and more specifically the USA now wants to embrace the changes that are sweeping thru the USA. The Obama administration passed gay marriage laws in the USA, a move solely and purely motivated by a decline in support for that party. In doing so they gained much ground among gay & lesbian men and women. A well timed political move to garner support for their party. How could we consciously believe that condoms in Guyana prisons is not a license to promote homosexual relations?? It most surely is!!! We should all stand up against this kind of indecent and morally lacking topic! Talk about the crime wave in Guyana, talk about how this government intends to lure investors to Guyana…. There are much more important issues to be dealt with than to focus on this kind of frivolous and distracting piffle!

  5. My issue is that some young guys are in prison for petty crime or wrongfully accused then if he gets raped by a infected prisoner nd thats ur son how will u feel. So i support sharing condoms in prisons nd harsher punishments for inmates caught raping or molesting other inmates.

  6. Anti-buggery laws, homosexuality & HIV/Aids behind bars
    Not a word from Mike Mac on Jr case involving Trotman.
    Anyone can take a look at him and knows exactly what he is all about.
    Walk Wiggle and Jiggle.

  7. We are forever taking cue from those morally brankurpted societies . Clearly we have lost the of spark of creativity or we simply cannot believe that we can build a society balanced by good morals designed not by the failed and twisted US social structure but by our own indegenious and cultural grounding Or , maybe we were never independent thinkers …..Oh Oh !……We are truly lost as a nation .

  8. Is the same square peg in round hole people runing this land bad thing before now good thing now what a people

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