Call it the “Silly season,” and it has began to descend upon us in the lead-up to the next general election on June 6th 2016.
While Easter might have instilled hope for a better Saint Lucia, the recent announcement of the date for general election, has inevitably resurrected negative campaigning in ways that reminds us that we are in the carnival season.
Hyper-partisanship reaches its apex at the national level and its potential for destructiveness is worrying to United and Strong Inc. The organization understands too well the impact that stigmatizing and discriminatory words have on persons of the LGBT community. Sadly, during an election season or what we call the “silly season” words are used back and forth between various political parties, more with the intent of detracting the electorate from the true issues.
Our political candidates have historically embraced a culture of mud-slinging and “mepwe”, where the electorate themselves get caught in the “bacchanal”. United and Strong believes that such behavior serves more to detract citizens from national issues that they are faced with on a daily basis.
During this election campaign we’ve only had one other mention of anything related to the LGBT issues, when LGBT persons were referred to as being “demon possessed”. However all the issues that affect LGBT persons, have never been discussed on a political platform by any of the political parties and that is indeed very concerning to the organization.
It is rather easy for negativity to go viral via social media, hence we call on the political candidates to be more concerned about how language is used during this 2016 election campaign. We call on the various political candidates who are the future government of this country to openly speak on the issues being faced by our LGBT citizens. If policymakers are truly supportive of the LGBT community, we call on them to engage their colleagues to explore the repelling of discriminatory laws such as Criminal Code Section 132 Gross Indecency Act and Section 133 Buggery Law.
If we’re truly concerned as a nation about the social stigma and discrimination faced by our LGBT persons, then help in creating an atmosphere that embraces persons no matter their sexual orientation or perceived orientation. We at United and Strong are well positioned to understand the many faces of stigma and discrimination experienced by persons at their various places of employment, within their congregation, by unemployed young LGBT persons, at schools and within their communities. We are too familiar with the myriad of situations where our community members are verbally and physically abused.
No political candidate has stood up openly on a political platform and supported the work that United and Strong has been doing over the past fifteen (15) years. We call on our political hopefuls, to address the relevant national issues affecting our nation such as those of HIV and AIDS and related increasing rates of infection among our males.
We do hope as the campaign continues that our various political candidates speak out on matters of substance that affect LGBT persons and every other Saint Lucian. We ask them to acknowledge United and Strong as an organization that has enhance the quality of life for our LGBT community both nationally and regionally.