Friday 27 May 2011

In Grenada, arrests for homosexuality - and public denials of homosexuality

By Paul Canning

Police on the Caribbean island of Grenada have arrested a man for gay sex in the same week that a group of men are front-page news denying they're gay.

A 41-year-old man was charged with having sex with an unidentified 17-year-old man, Grenada's director of public prosecution, Christopher Nelson, said 25 May.

21 May three men - Kenny Francis, Finbar Peters and Sherwin Cadore - held a press conference to deny rumours originating on the internet that they were recently caught engaged in "homosexuality activity". They blamed a police officer.

“I just want to take myself out because there is nothing like that,” Peters said. He claimed that the policeman stole some parts from his vehicle and was now out to tarnish his character.

When Peters confronted the police officer and threatened to report him to the Commissioner of Police, the police officer begged him to be compassionate since he did not intend to do it again.

“Although I did not go to the Commissioner, I did tell (a) couple people (about the incident),” he said. The rumour on the internet, Peters says, has started to impact his business negatively, and he is seeking legal advice.

Francis who is a barber shop owner and bus operator from St. Paul’s said he learned of the rumour after someone came to him saying a neighbour said she heard a bawling coming from his house. He was told of the story being circulated that police had found the group of men naked. The driver of one of the buses he owns informed him that whenever he passes through the St. George’s Bus Terminus he is also being heckled by the police about the alleged act of homosexuality.

“When they (the bus drivers) ask certain people if they are going up, they say they’re not going up with no buller man bus,” Francis said. He said the rumour is hurting his business since people are refusing to come to the barbershop.

Bar owner Cadore said:
"It (has) affected me a lot because people are saying they’re not going in no batty man bar."
When asked by a journalist if they had previously engaged "in acts of homosexuality", Francis, Peters and Cadore all "scoffed at the suggestions and indicated that they are known to be “star boys” in their own rights".

In 2007 questions were raised over gay cruises docking at the island. An editorial in The Grenada Informer said that the public displays of affection shown by same-sex tourist couples were "immoral and abnormal"

In 2003 ILGA said that the government of Grenada is among those in the Caribbean region that support "repressive and even violent policies against the local communities of gays and lesbians."

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