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Trinidad and Tobago

AG: 27 discriminatory laws in TT

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi PHOTO BY ROGER JACOB.
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi PHOTO BY ROGER JACOB.

ATTORNEY General Faris Al-Rawi on Tuesday said gender persuasion was not being used to determine whether or not someone is a sexual offender. He made this statement at a special select committee (SSC) public hearing on the Sexual Offenders Amendment Bill 2019 at Tower D of the Port of Spain International Waterfront Centre. Counter Trafficking Unit (CTU) senior legal officer Garvin Ramsepaul said there were cases where a male could identify as a female and a female as a male.

He said that could have an impact on intelligence and the protection of people.

Al-Rawi replied, “There are 27 laws in TT that discriminate against what some of the rest of the world deems discrimination.”

He added the Sexual Offences Act is one of those laws.

Al-Rawi observed, “ That has been construed in a different manner by Justice Rampersad in the Jason Jones matter.”

He said the Government has “appealed the decision so that the Privy Council can ultimately guide us on what the law is.”

With the issue eliciting a lot of polar views, Al-Rawi said, “We don’t propose in so far that there is a flux in this equation right now to be pulling at this end of the tapestry.”

He explained that whatever the final pronouncement was, it would “become a landmark decision that affects other laws.” As a policy, Al-Rawi said Government will abide by the Constitution which guarantees equality of treatment.

Independent Senator Sophia Chote SC asked whether a person’s gender identification affected their constitutional right.

Chote asked Ramsepaul if there was data which said someone could become a sexual offender or a recidivist, on the basis of their gender.

Ramsepaul replied there was none.

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