Sunday, February 25, 2018

Let me live my life

Gay citizen claims police victimisation: NATIONAL CONSULTATION ON CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM


NOBODY’S BUSINESS: Kenty Mitchell speaks during the National Consultation on Constitutional Reform at Paria Suites Hotel in La Romaine on Wednesday. Mitchell told of victimisation as he called for gay rights to be included in the revised Constitution. —Photo: DAVE PERSAD


IN recounting a life of maltreatment, openly gay Kenty Mitchell asked the State to include gay rights in the revised Constitution, so citizens could be protected from all forms of victimisation.

Mitchell said his sexual preference was no one else’s business and he should not be criticised for it.

He was speaking at the National Consultation on Constitutional Reform—the last to be held by the Government-appointed Constitution Reform Committee—on Wednesday evening at Paria Suites Hotel and Conference Centre, La Romaine.

Mitchell, who said he has been in a relationship with one man for 16 years, said he had to sue the State twice because of unlawful arrest just because he was gay.

He said all he wanted was for him and his partner “to be protected by the Constitution of the land”.

Mitchell said it was unfair to be imprisoned at two police stations, in 2003 and 2007, for “being myself”.

“I am living in this country all my life and still we can’t get gay rights. I don’t know if I have to do like my family and jump on a plane to go to England to get gay rights because seeing that we are not getting it here. Something is wrong,” he said.

“I have a taxi service. They (police) stop locking me up now, They start giving me tickets for nothing. It is victimisation. All I want is equal rights...that the police or the magistrate in San Fernando do not victimise me. People watch me funny. What I do behind closed doors is my business.”

The issue of gay rights has been a hot topic at the consultations, which began last year.

Several religious groups and organisations have publicly expressed their views, either condemning or supporting gay rights.

Errol Fabien chaired the meeting, which was attended by Constitution Reform Committee chairman and Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar.