Types of criminalisation

  • Criminalises sex between men
  • Criminalises sex between women
Commonwealth member state
Criminal Code 2004, Section 132 Gross Indecency

Section 132 criminalises sexual acts other than intercourse between two people of the same sex, with a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment. This provision applies equally to such acts between men and between women.1

Criminal Code 2004, Section 133 Buggery

Section 133 criminalises “buggery” – defined as “sexual intercourse per anus by a male person with another male person” – with a penalty of ten years imprisonment. This provision further criminalises attempts to commit buggery with a penalty of five years imprisonment.2



The US Department of State Human Rights Report on Saint Lucia stated that the gross indecency and buggery provisions were rarely enforced during the year.

Statements by Public Figures


Following the fifth World Congress of Families held in Saint Lucia in November, the country’s External Affairs Minister Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, co-founder of the Caribbean Centre for Family and Human Rights, was criticised by LGBT advocacy group United and Strong for engaging in a hateful anti-LGBT campaign which brought together “the most fringe activists engaged in anti-LGBT extremism.” At the conference, referencing a statement made by the former UN Special Envoy of HIV/AIDS who had asserted that the decriminalisation of same-sex activity would be a long struggle, Flood-Beaubrun stated: “Oh yeah, it might be a long struggle in some countries but no, not in Saint Lucia… even if it’s a long struggle in some countries, there is one country that will continue struggling and it has to be here.”

Talking to reporters the following week, when asked whether a same-sex family represented the ideal, Flood-Beaubrun asserted that the best environment for a child was to grow up with a mother and father and suggested that she was “saying what science says.”

Advocacy group United and Strong were encouraged by the views expressed by officials of the Catholic Church in August who believe that gay people should not be discriminated against. Bennet Charles, United and Strong’s Communications and Advocacy Officer stated that: “We believe here is a responsibility by all Christian denominations to foster a society of anti-discrimination not just among their followers, but all Saint Lucians.”

In May, IDAHOT 2017 was celebrated at the British High Commission to Saint Lucia with United and Strong’s members and staff.


In July, Saint Lucia’s Tourism Minister, Lorne Theophilus, reportedly said that the country remains open to visitors from the LGBT community, but made it clear that there will be no changes to the country’s criminalising provisions. He said: “Saint Lucia has encouraged all sorts of business… [and although] our legislation renders certain acts to be criminal, we have not been averse to visitors from other sexual persuasions enjoying our shores and this is going to continue to be my position.”

[Although] our legislation renders certain acts to be criminal, we have not been averse to visitors from other sexual persuasions enjoying our shores and this is going to continue to be my position.

Lorne Theophilus, Saint Lucia Tourism Minister

In light of the success of the 2014 human rights sensitisation training which sought to educate the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force on both general and LGBT-specific content, a further training initiative was organised in May by United and Strong. United and Strong extended its efforts to other law enforcement and community service providers, focusing on officers from the Air and Sea Ports, Customs and Corrections as well as members of civil society who interface with law enforcement on behalf of their community. Then Executive Director of United and Strong, Kenita Placide, noted: “This training is important to continue to re-emphasize the need for better community policing and ensure the basic understanding of human rights is the foundation of policing in Saint Lucia. This training happening in Saint Lucia now, happened in Barbados last week and hoping for the rest of the OECS in the coming months is just a small piece of United and Strong’s advocacy and education to reduce incidents of discriminations and achieve equality for all.”


In May, United and Strong celebrated the firing of Professor Brendan Bain by the University of the West Indies for professional testimony he gave in a Belize case stating that men who have sex with men posed a risk to public health.

A Catholic Priest from Saint Lucia, Linus Clovis, told reporters in May that the country is “losing the battle” against gay rights: “I think we are losing the battle because there are insufficient numbers of people who are willing to stand up, speak out and be honest.” The priest added his belief that the country would be forced to decriminalise by international organisations and countries: “If they can put sanctions on countries like Nigeria or Uganda because of their anti-sodomy laws, what will they do to us?”


The Minister for Education, Arsene James, stated in June his view that there was nothing wrong with having discussions on homosexuality within schools.

Persecution and Discrimination


The US Department of State Human Rights Report stated that: “there was widespread societal discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons in the deeply conservative society. The few openly LGBTI persons faced daily verbal harassment. Civil society groups received reports that LGBTI persons were denied access to rental homes or forced to leave rental homes and were denied jobs or left jobs due to a hostile work environment. There were few reported incidents of violence or abuse during the year.”


The US Department of State Human Rights Report noted that there was still no progress in the police investigation of the 2015 killing of 18-year-old Marvin Anthony Augustin, the circumstances of which were indicative of a homophobic hate crime.


A study of homophobia and transphobia in Caribbean media found that media outlets in Saint Lucia, particularly broadcast television, were found to feature images of Caucasians or individuals when presenting stories of LGBT Saint Lucians. The report stated this “suggests a lack of awareness of deliberate manipulation of, the impact of images to which the average Saint Lucian cannot identify, further alienating the general public from LGBTI Saint Lucians.”


In March, Kenita Placide of the LGBT group United and Strong commented on the situation of the LGBT community in Saint Lucia and suggested reasons for lack of reporting: “It is a dangerous thing. People’s rights are being violated on a daily basis…The fact that the law is there, there is no formal redress for homosexuals. It basically means that when you go to the police for something, it exposes you. Right now it is the police officers on their own deciding not to enforce this law. Homosexuals ask themselves, what if the police officers decide to book me because this law exists… Abuses have taken place. We have had deaths of gay men that are still unsolved or unresolved. We had the death of Verne Romulus, the death of Germaine Nestor, the death of Marcellus Augustin, we had the death of Ethelbert ‘Romeo’ Evelyn in Dennery. These were openly gay people and these cases were not cases where they were just killed. These killings were brutal, with multiple stab wounds and beatings. There have been gay people who have been beaten in the street. Society targets the highly effeminate guys and the butch looking women. Some have been raped. They get verbally abused on a daily basis. And what works against them is the fear of reporting these incidents. People are internalizing things, instead of seeking help.”


In March, the Government of Saint Lucia apologised to three gay tourists who were robbed on the island. According to the victims the perpetrators used anti-gay slurs and issued death threats. The government issued a statement on the incident: “Whether or not this crime was motivated by anti-gay sentiment, or during the course of robbery, it is nonetheless unacceptable behaviour and our destination will not tolerate it. Our law enforcement authorities are pursuing this matter relentlessly.”

Legislative News


During its second UPR cycle, Saint Lucia noted the recommendations to decriminalise consensual same-sex sexual relations and further noted that it had amended its laws to prohibit discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation, which it said demonstrated Saint Lucia’s increased awareness of the needs of the LGBT community, but was unable to commit to holistic legislative change.


In June, Saint Lucia noted that it was unable to “join the consensus” on the approval of an OAS resolution on Sexual Orientation: “we are of the view that the term ‘gender expression’ is one that is not thoroughly defined or accepted internationally. Moreover, not only is the expression heavily nuanced but most importantly it is currently not defined in domestic law.”


In its first UPR cycle, Saint Lucia rejected recommendations to decriminalise consensual same-sex sexual relations, but did accept a recommendation to condemn acts of violence against LGBT people. In its national report it stated: “The Government acknowledges the contribution and concerns expressed by United and Strong, representing gay and lesbian interests. However deeply rooted religious, cultural and moral values and practices on the island create a formidable challenge towards mobilization and general acceptance of ‘gay rights’ by society. Notwithstanding, gender neutral rights have been implemented in certain instances, as is reflected through legislation relating to sexual offences.”

1. Criminal Code 2004, Section 132 Gross Indecency

“(1) A person who commits an act of gross indecency with another person commits an offence and is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for 10 years or on summary conviction to 5 years.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to an act of gross indecency committed in private between an adult male person and an adult female person, both of whom consent

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2)—

(a) an act shall be deemed not to have been committed in private if it is committed in a public place; and

(b) a person shall be deemed not to consent to the commission of such an act if—

(i) the consent is extorted by force, threats or fear of bodily harm or is obtained by false and fraudulent representations as to the nature of the act;

(ii) the consent is induced by the application or administration of any drug, matter or thing with intent to intoxicate or stupefy the person; or

(iii) that person is, and the other party to the act knows or has good reason to believe that the person is suffering from a mental disorder.

(4) In this section “gross indecency” is an act other than sexual intercourse (whether natural or unnatural) by a person involving the use of the genital organs for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.” Full text.

2. Criminal Code 2004, Section 133 Buggery

“(1) A person who commits buggery commits an offence and is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for—

(a) life, if committed with force and without the consent of the other person;

(b) ten years, in any other case.

(2) Any person who attempts to commit buggery, or commits an assault with intent to commit buggery, commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for 5 years.

(3) In this section “buggery” means sexual intercourse per anus by a male person with another male person.” Full text.

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