N Touch
Sunday 20 January 2019
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Slack island

REPORTS OF a “sex island” promotion that brazenly promotes this country as the location for drug and prostitute-filled orgy parties have raised many questions but ultimately underlined one point. We are perceived internationally as a slack, lawless country.

We don’t know much about the latest promotion that has made the news but what we do know is disturbing and cause for concern. It appears to demonstrate a flagrant disregard for the authorities and underlines our vulnerabilities when it comes to controlling our borders and stemming the flow of drugs.

The organisers of the so-called “sex-travaganza” have promised patrons sex, but this matter should not come down to an argument about sexual morality. Rather, it is about the brazen advertisement of illegal drugs and prostitutes. Even after the matter was brought to the attention of Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith and Minister of National Security Stuart Young, organisers have not appeared chastened.

“We are not worried about having the event in Trinidad because we had the event last year and a private event every other month in Trinidad without issues,” an organiser was quoted saying in a media report.

But by now this private event has become very public.

The deeper issue is the fact that behind all the bluster of Griffith our country remains a transit point as well as a destination for illegal drugs. The recent $15 million drug raid in Westmoorings was a palpable reminder of that.

The organisers of an event such as the one being discussed may not directly supply patrons with drugs but the promise of access to narcotics is consistent with a country in which these things are readily accessible to those who may be interested in them.

And while there are messy legal questions about the distinction between private and public spaces, on the definition of “indecency,” as well as the legality of various forms of consensual sexual arrangements, the issue should not be about policing the bedroom. Rather, it should be about the context of the reported practice of sex parties and the accompanying implications.

For example, is there a nexus between sex parties and human trafficking that needs to be examined? Is there a sex tourism industry in this country? Do we have enough data to begin to formulate state policy in this regard? How should the State balance its incursions into the private affairs of individuals with public-interest measures to prevent harm?

In the UK, orgies are legal but soliciting or having an orgy in a public place is illegal. In an island state, how should we define private and public spaces?

Regardless of what happens this weekend off the coast, we have much to think about.

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