Parliament to start review of homosexual, death penalty laws this week
The Guyana Government has apparently decided on its first step to dealing with the matter of the Death Penalty, Lesbians, Homosexuals and the issue of Corporal Punishment.
The matter has surfaced as a motion on the Order Paper of the National Assembly and is slated for commitment to a Select Committee.
This week, however, when the matter came up on the Parliamentary Agenda, the Government’s Chief Whip Gail Teixeira, informed the House of the desire to have the matter deferred to this Thursday. That motion is in the name of Prime Minister Samuel Hinds.
The motion is labeled “Guyana’s follow-up to commitments made to the United Nations Human Rights Council with regard to holding consultations on matters (the abolition of corporal punishment in the schools, the abolition of the death penalty and the decriminalization of consensual adult same sex relations and discrimination against lesbians, gays, bi-sexual and transgender persons).
In that Motion, Hinds who also serves as Minister of Parliamentary Affairs indicated that Guyana had appeared before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) during the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in May 2010 and again in September 2010.
He reminded that at the conclusion of its review, Guyana received several recommendations from the UN and had and committed itself to consult on the three main matters “that may be considered controversial in Guyanese society”
According to Prime Minister Hinds, “public consultations with target groups and in geographic regions have commenced on these matters as well as public discussions in the media and amongst civil society organizations.”
He indicated that the Government is of the view that parliamentary consideration of the three matters would enhance the national examination procedurally by being the subject of a Special Select Committee which would organize the national consultations in a complimentary, credible way.
As such when the motion is set to be debated, the Prime Minister is looking to have the House resolve to firstly have a “Special Select Committee established for that purpose.”
In that Special Select Committee, Hinds indicated that the Government is looking to have assessed, “the attitude of Guyanese, especially parents and children, to corporal punishment and its possible abolition; the attitude of Guyanese, particularly the families of victims, criminologists, and professionals, on capital punishment and its possible abolition, and the attitude of Guyanese to any changes in the legislative provisions and criminal code regarding consensual adult same sex relationships and discrimination, perceived or real, against Lesbians, Gays, Bi-Sexual and Transgender persons.”