PM Bruce Golding says JLP won’t liberalize buggery law (double headlines)

PM says country won’t be forced to decriminalise buggery

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY Observer staff reporter dunkleya@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

PRIME Minister Bruce Golding was adamant yesterday that his Government would in no way bow to pressure from individual organisations, individuals, foreign governments or groups of countries to give a free rein to buggery.

Speaking in the House of Representatives while tabling additional amendments to the proposed Sexual Offences Bill now being debated by the House, Golding made it clear that he “will never support acts or threats of violence or intimidation in any shape or form against persons because of their sexual preferences and lifestyle”. However, he also said that the Government would never give legal endorsement to such practices.

“We will never start peeping in anybody’s bedroom to see what they are doing in privacy… but what we are not going to do is give official or legislative endorsement that holds that up and says this is a perfectly acceptable way to live,” the prime minister said. “This Government is not going to do it.”

“We are not going to yield to the pressure, whether that pressure comes from individual organisations, individuals, foreign governments or groups of countries to liberalise the laws as it relates to buggery,” Golding said, noting that his Government has been “harshly criticised” by gay rights groups for its stance on homosexuality.

That criticism increased last year when Golding told a BBC interviewer in London that he would not allow homosexuals in his Cabinet.

Said Golding yesterday: “I have said before that every society is shaped and defined by certain moral standards… if we start to yield, if we start to liberalise in a direction that strong, organised lobby insists that we should, then where do you draw the line?”

The prime minister, however, distanced his administration from comments made recently by South West St Ann Member of Parliament (MP) Ernest Smith, intimating that homosexuals were violent and should not be allowed to form advocacy groups.

“I speak for the Government,” he said. “I disagree with the comment he made about the right of persons who advocate for the liberalisation of laws to allow persons the right of choice in their sexual practices.”

Golding said gay rights groups such as J-Flag had a right to exist and articulate their views based on the Constitution of Jamaica, a right enjoyed by all citizens of the country.

He further said any act of violence committed against such persons because of their sexual preferences must be pursued, investigated, prosecuted, and dealt with, with the same force and zealousness as any other crime.

Acts of buggery are punishable in Jamaica with up to 10 years in jail at hard labour.

Since the debate on the proposed Sexual Offence Bill there have been concerns over the disparity in the treatment of rape as against that for buggery with suggestions that the new Bill should also include provisions to allow the penalty for the offence of buggery to be as stringent as that for rape and other grievous sexual offences. Under the law, statutory rape and rape carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Golding yesterday said it has been agreed to make separate provision in the Sexual Offences Act to deal with the treatment of buggery.

Debate on the Sexual Offences Act 2008, which seeks to bring together all laws dealing with rape, incest and other sex crimes, began in the House of Representatives on January 27 this year, and is expected to continue during the next meeting of the House.

see also this Gleaner article:
Buggery laws firm – Prime Minister of Jamaica says life sentences for sex-offence breaches

Another side to Homophobic Attacks

Almost a year ago the photographed injuries were inflicted on a bisexual woman who resided in an inner city community after she was seen by another woman who lives in her area at a lesbian get together. Funny, as the woman apparently was not afraid to expose the injured victim in her community forcing her to be embarrassed and having to leave her home.

She tried to report the incident of abuse to the nearby police station but was advised by the curious officers to just leave the area and avoid any more trouble. The police in this scenario did not want to be seen as if they were taking up for a “Lesbian?”
She suffered three stab wounds to her right upper arm which have healed with keloid skin and several bruises which are somewhat visible to her back and legs as five men tried to beat her. She is a strong woman physically so they had a hard time restraining her or else the results may have been worse she told us yesterday our office – 02.03.09. She finally got the nerve to speak about the incident at the insistence of a male friend as she is still in fear since she has to do business in downtown Kingston. She fears she will be seen and pointed out again.
The point of it all is, where are we safe as gays? this woman who allegedly informed that the victim was a lesbian, what was she doing at a lesbian event in the first place?
Most LGBT events are carefully planned and invitations are usually sent out based on a “I know you” basis, this same “informant” we might add was seen dancing erotically with other women during the party and clearly having a good time which raise several questions:

  1. Could it be she was afraid of being exposed by the victim so she made the first move by exposing her?
  2. Was she straight and merely pretending to enjoy herself so as to observe the other woman’s actions?
  3. Is it that she innocently told someone who in turn told someone else hence the grapevine phenom which led to the homohobic attack by 5 men in the area?
  4. Was it jealousy as we have seen in another case where a woman called a mob on another woman in a bid to “Teach her a lesson?” as the victim was dating an ex of hers.
Hard questions to answer by our visitor who pondered when quizzed.
The use of homophobic strategies to solve issues between LGBT persons is not that common here but there have been reports before hence our detailed questioning session(s) with clients or visitors who access our services so as to ascertain the origins of such attacks. There are instances of these scenarios getting very ugly as genuinely homophobic persons get enraged and are incited to harm persons by mere allegations that they are gay.
A Volunteer