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EDITORIAL: We will not be dictated to

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

EDITORIAL: We will not be dictated to

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The current debate about the decriminalization of homosexual activity between males is an important one, now inflamed by a threat from Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron that his country would withhold aid from those countries that do not respect what has been curiously called proper human rights.
Our late Prime Minister the Right Excellent Errol Barrow always reminded us that we have never depended on British aid to pay our way, and Mr Cameron may need to refresh himself on the long history of relations between our two countries.
He should reflect on the Battle Of Oistins in 1652 when we defeated British interference, and read the preamble of our Constitution which shows that Barbadians were the first colony to resist the imposition by the British of taxation on our people without representation.
The Americans later followed our example, for even as a former colony, and the moreso now as a sovereign state, our country objects to being told what to do by any other country.
When, on our admission to the United Nations, Mr Barrow said that we would be “friends of all and satellites of none”, he was reflecting an unyielding independence of spirit which has characterized our national psyche for many centuries.
We are not in the business of telling other nations what they must do, and we respect their views however distasteful we sometimes find such views to be; since we are firm believers in reasoned argument and in the principle of sovereignty which allows all nations the freedom of choice and the right to make such decisions as they think fit.
Abroad in this country, there is already a feeling that the imposition of the death penalty has been judicially legislated into oblivion by case law decisions which are not as reflective
of our local conditions as they might have been, and no one should be surprised if this recent threat is seen as a move to try to force us to do what others feel we must do. Mr Cameron has touched a very raw and sensitive nerve.
Yet, the issue of the legal treatment of sex between males has been raised, and as a responsible and civilized democracy, we respect the views of those among us who propose a change in the law. It is right and quite proper that we should debate the issue and decide for ourselves whether or not the law should be changed.
That is an issue solely for the Barbadian people and its Parliament, and while many of our best friends may be British, we are on the same page as our Attorney General, who said two days ago that this country would not be dictated to by Britain or others, when it comes to the question of changing the law on homosexuality.

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