By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
REFUTING the government’s claim that there is no discrimination due to sexual orientation in the Bahamas, human rights activist Erin Greene complained that the records don’t exist because police refuse to take complaints from the gay community.
She was responding to Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson, who recommended that the
Constitutional prohibition against discrimination should be amended to exclude discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, as there are no reports of this on record, and the country has “far more pressing matters” to deal with.
But Ms Greene said: “I am a victim of both crime and discrimination. I am a victim of stalking, for more than four years. I am unable to convince the Royal Bahamas Police Force that it is their duty to fully investigate these matters.
“I have reported both the crimes and the instances of discrimination to the RBPF, to the Commissioner of Police and directly and to the Prime Minister.
“This matter is not only unresolved but the RBPF have indicated that they have no intention of continuing the investigation.”
She said her experience is shared by several members of the gay community who feel they were attacked, victimised or discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.
“We have been unable to convince the Royal Bahamas Police Force that it is their duty to record this information (on request of the victim) when processing a crime.
“In the absence of an official mechanism (ie Human Rights Council) to record crimes and discrimination against the LGBT community, the LGBT community is unable to report acts of violence against them, or instances of discrimination.”
Mrs Greene said Mrs Maynard-Gibson’s comments indicate that she is not very well informed about the state of crime and violence in the country and out of touch with the developments in her profession, both locally and internationally.
She also refuted claims that gay marriage is illegal in the Bahamas.
Ms Greene said: “The fact that our government does not have the capacity to record instances of crime, violence and discrimination against the LGBT community does not mean that members of the LGBT community have not attempted to have these instances recorded by official mechanisms.
“The fact that the state refuses to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples does not mean that gay marriage is illegal in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, as there are no provisions in law that prevent a church or minister of religion from conducting a same sex marriage ceremony.”
Ms Green said the LGBT community pledges to support the Attorney General in her work, but encouraged Mrs Maynard-Gibson to use her resources to protect the rights of all Bahamians – not just some.