The Prime Minister Bruce Golding has sought to clarify a statement he made in Parliament yesterday about the punishment of homosexuals.
In debating the proposed changes to the Offences Against the Person Act, Mr Golding said the crime of buggery, like rape would take on a penalty of life imprisonment on conviction.
But in a release this morning the Office of the Prime Minister sought to explain the statement.
It claimed that what the Prime Minister said was that where buggery is carried out in circumstances similar to rape or grievous assault, it would attract the same penalty, which will be life imprisonment or a term not less than 15 years.
During his contribution in the House last month, South West St Ann MP, Ernest Smith, charged that the punishment for buggery, which is a maximum of seven years, was not stiff enough and that homosexuals were abusive and violent.
He later called for the director of public prosecutions to instruct the police to charge members of the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) with conspiracy to corrupt public morals.
However, Mr. Golding has distanced himself from Mr. Smith’s comments on homosexuality and the right of J-FLAG to exist.
The prime minister was himself criticised by gay-rights advocates following his statement during a BBC television interview in which he said gays would not be allowed in his cabinet.