(Antigua Observer) Prime Minister Gaston Browne has refused to apologise for comments he made on social media, and which Senator Aziza Lake considered were derogatory to members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transsexual Queer Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQIA) community.
Browne said that he spoke in jest to a specific person and there is no need for the conversation to be blown out of proportion by LGBTQIA members.
“I said, the man keep posting things on my Facebook page and I keep taking it off, the man got in my bed grass about my wife and I said he was behaving like an antiman and I make no apology about that. Whoever LGBT wants to take that up, it’s their business,” Browne said.
Browne’s statements came after Senator Lake said that the phrase was a culturally derogatory one, and was used to demean members of the LGBTQIA community and to demean others in general.
“It doesn’t appreciate the fact that there are people in our communities who are gay and that’s just who they are. And for young people to see that who may be gay, they could internalise something like that coming from the man who holds the highest position in office,” Senator Lake said.
PM Browne made it clear that he had nothing against any member of the LGBTQIA community and was not trying to be disrespectful to them. He added that if he had a problem with LGBTQIA, then Senator Lake would have never been appointed to the Senate in the first place.
The prime minister said that individuals must be able to speak freely and make jokes without people going to the media and making a big deal out of the comments made. He concluded that there was no crisis to be found in his comments and if one is found, then it is most likely manufactured.
These statements came just days after Carnival decorations were ordered to be removed from the city of St John’s because members of the public deemed them to be representative of gay pride and not of the national festival.