Thu, May 17, 2012 - 8:00 AM
PORT OF SPAIN - Describing abortion and gay rights as “two elephants in the room”, Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister for Gender Affairs Senator Verna St Rose Greaves has thrown her personal support behind their decriminalisation, insisting that the country can no longer choose to ignore them as urgent human rights and public health issues.But the coalition government minister also stressed that her position was not necessarily that of the Kamla Persad Bissessar administration and that it was up to Cabinet to decide.
“We open up the issue so that people can express their views without getting beaten up. Once you have a view that is different in this country, there is a tendency that people beat up on you and then you go quiet because you are afraid of what will come,” she told a consultation on the government’s national gender policy yesterday.
“The figures at the hospital are there. They are astounding of how many backstreet abortions, poor women who cannot afford to get proper health care, teenagers who are afraid to come out and say that they are pregnant. They do things that harm themselves and we must pay attention to that,” St. Rose Greaves said.
She acknowledged that the draft policy on gender and development was often held up by the two issues, which she described as "the two elephants in the room". (CMC)