EDITOR: It’s simple. Altogether simple. Let’s put to rest this “mundane and narrowly focused” discussion regarding the Samoa Agreement.
The Barbados Minister of Foreign Affairs has stoutly affirmed the country’s signing of the Agreement.
(Down to Brasstacks 2023-11-19). As he sees it, there is no need to “inferiorize” ourselves. We are in an equal partnership in this Agreement, and even though – as he himself pointed out – the Agreement is “infused” with references to gender, we can steer our own gender ship. This is who we are.
The Prime Minister of our sister island, St Vincent, which also signed the Agreement, has reassured his countrymen that there is no need to be alarmed by the “exaggerated assertions” of critics. (St Vincent Times 2023-11-21). He confidently asserts that the Caribbean Regional Protocol has no provisions that require legislative modifications to matters such as same-sex marriage or transgender rights. Perhaps he knows, for example, that ‘gender’ in Art. 48.1 refers to nothing more than the empowerment of women and girls: “They (Parties) shall ensure that the gender perspective is systematically mainstreamed across all policies, including through the creation and consolidation of legal frameworks.”
Some might say that the two politicians are not seeing – far less connecting – the dots, and therefore are unaware that 2023 interpretations of gender can impact the emotional health of vulnerable children and can destabilize our societies with all sorts of transgender issues.
Both the Barbados Foreign Minister and the St Vincent Prime Minister have indicated their understanding that ‘gender’ refers exclusively to the traditional male/female dichotomy. Both have denied that the Agreement makes demands based on the assumption of multiple genders.
How do they know?
The 403-page Samoa Agreement updated July 2023, still has no glossary or section on definitions except two definitions, namely, ‘Requesting State’ and ‘Requested State’ in Annex 1.
Given that our region does not occupy ‘inferior’ status and therefore, according to our Minister of Foreign Affairs, “can speak candidly to the European Union”, then it’s altogether simple: we have only to speak candidly to the European Union. Let them know that we require a definition of ‘gender’ as a necessary condition for ratifying the Agreement. Ask them candidly if the agreement assumes the existence of a multiplicity of genders and the possibility of transgenderism. Ask them candidly if the Agreement affirms that there are only two genders, male and female, or whether the intended meaning of ‘gender’ in said Agreement is purposely, or purposefully, left undefined. With utmost candour, ask them if, in the delivery of Comprehensive Sexuality Education, our people will be free to teach scientific truth regarding the biological determinants of sex in humans. As equal partners, ask questions and demand answers.
As reported in the St Vincent Times (2023-11-21) the Prime Minister of that country has assured Vincentians that the Agreement is not “subversive to what we know traditionally as Christian morality.”
If he, and our Minister of Foreign affairs are correct, then Caribbean citizens can breathe a sigh of relief and heed the PM’s call to “calm down.”
Nothing hard about it. Simple. Simple. Simple. ‘Mek Sure’ is still better than ‘Cock Sure’.
Dr Veronica Evelyn