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Police have arrested a man for having sex with another male on the eastern Caribbean island of Grenada, where a law against homosexual acts remains on the books but is rarely enforced.
A 41-year-old man was charged with having sex with an unidentified 17-year-old man, Grenada’s director of public prosecution, Christopher Nelson, said Wednesday.
The age of sexual consent in Grenada is 16 but while the sex in question was consensual, local law prohibits sodomy under the charge of “unnatural connection.”
Grenada is one of several Caribbean nations that has laws banning sex between men. The penalty in most islands, including Grenada, is up to 10 years in prison, although Barbados and Guyana have life imprisonment, according to a 2010 United Nations report.
Many islands remain socially conservative, with Jamaica considered one of the most hostile islands toward homosexuals. A gay right activist was killed there last year, and three gay men were attacked and beaten in St. Lucia in March. Gay cruises to the region also continue to draw protesters.
In Grenada, gays are discriminated against and find it hard to find employment and housing, said Nigel Mathlin, president of GrenCHAP, a local nonprofit organization that represents marginalized groups.
“The government, they are very much aware of the changes that need to be made, of bringing our laws into line with international human rights principles,” Mathlin said.