Don’t expect Barbados to be legalising prostitution.
Minister of Health Donville Inniss stated this on Wednesday at a top-level regional meeting on HIV/AIDS at Hilton Barbados.
Inniss said that legalising prostitution in Barbados would not be one of those laws to be modernised on our statute books any time soon.
“The issue of legalising prostitution would always be a heated one, filled with emotion and sometimes a lack of objectivity,” he said.
“If the goal is for sex workers to have access to health care, systems are already in place that work and allow them access to health care.
“When you go to a doctor’s office or a Barbados polyclinic or the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, I do not know that you are discriminated against or that you are denied access to health care if you indicate that you are a sex worker,” he said.
He added, “What we may want to debate is the issue of not discriminating against people based on their perceived sexual orientation or perceived sexual practice as a profession.
I think we need to be a lot more all-embracing.
“That does not mean that we have to drop our moral guards and say that all of these things are to be accepted. I am not promoting homosexuality or prostitution. I am simply saying that we have to have a more open mind and accept that not all of us are the same,” he said.
The two-day meeting was held by the United States-Caribbean Partnership Framework for HIV/AIDS as part of the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR).
On the second day of discussions, United States Global AIDS co-ordinator and adviser
to President Barack Obama, Ambassador Eric Goosby, told the SATURDAY?SUN that accessibility and eliminating stigmatisation were better weapons against HIV/AIDS than legalising prostitution.
He said judgement and stigmatisation caused more fear in those who needed access to medical care.