PRESS RELEASE — FOR well over a decade, United and Strong Inc. (UNS) has worked hard to promote an enabling environment for the LGBTQI community here on Saint Lucia. In 2019, the organization plans to increase political engagements through meetings with government and elected officials. UNS intends to hold dialogue with Prime Minister Honourable Allen M. Chastanet, Minister for Gender Relations Honourable Gale T. C Rigobert, Minister for Health Senator the Honourable Mary Isaac and the Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition Honourable Philip J. Pierre.
On Tuesday, February 5th, representatives of United and Strong Inc. and the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE) sat-down with the Political Leader of the Opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party, Parliamentary Representative for Castries East Honourable Philip J Pierre. Several pertinent issues including the Labour Party’s policy position on the LGBTQI community were discussed during the meeting. Mr Pierre declared that the SLP is an institution built on a foundation that recognizes the fundamental Human Rights of all citizens, including LGBTQI persons. The Leader of the Opposition stated that his Party has a culture of implementing policies to protect minority groups. He cited section 131 of the Labour Code that prohibits the unfair dismissal of an employee because of sexual Orientation as an example. He also pointed to the introduction of wheelchair accessible pathways in the city of Castries for persons with disabilities during the Labour Party’s previous term in office.
A number of Issues affecting the LGBTQI community were raised at the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR) held in Geneva in November 2015 with specific emphasis on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. At the forum, the Government of Saint Lucia accepted the recommendation to strengthen the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity through human rights education and anti-discrimination awareness programmes. However, to date, there has been little to no action on the recommendation. Nevertheless, United and Strong is hoping that dialogue with the Prime Minister and other cabinet officials will clarify the current administration’s stance on the recommendation and address concerns surrounding the discrimination of LGBTQI people.