Guyana updating a raft of legislation promoting equal rights
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday July 16, 2012 - Guyana's Parliament is expected to soon debate a controversial bill that would abolish the death penalty and repeal sodomy and cross-dressing laws.
This news comes just days after Guyana's Parliament approved a bill that will allow unmarried couples living together the same inheritance rights as legally married couples.
Legislators approved the bill late Thursday (July 12) and Attorney General Anil Nandlall said it was the first time a bill awarded such rights to unmarried couples and he acknowledged that it should have been approved years ago.
Now, ministers of parliament have reportedly said that they plan to submit the bill to repeal the other colonial-era legislation that enshrined other human rights abuses before legislators break for a two-month recess in early August.
Human Services Minister Jennifer Webster said Saturday (July 14) that the government would also hold public hearings on the issues.
However, the bill already has reportedly angered religious groups in the conservative Caribbean country.
Under criticism, Guyana's government previously promised United Nations officials they would at least take some of the issues to Parliament.
The country last hanged a prisoner in 1997. More than 30 convicted criminals remain on death row.
The country's laws also allow small fines to be levied for cross-dressing and up to 25 years in prison for people convicted of sodomy.