JFLAG Calls on CARICOM to end gay discrimination

Montego Bay — July 4, 2010

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) mounted a Stand Up to CARICOM across from the entrance to the Hilton Rose Hall Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica, the site of the 31st CARICOM Heads of Government meeting.

Expressing satisfaction at the outcome of the morning’s proceedings, Jason McFarlane, Programme Manager of J-FLAG said that “the decision was made to mount this Stand because of the continued presence of anti-buggery laws in 11 of the 14 member states in CARICOM which contribute to discrimination, marginalization and other serious human rights violations of CARICOM citizens.

J-FLAG therefore calls for the immediate repeal of such laws and the full
integration of LGBTI citizens into the CARICOM family”. The group bore placards calling for the repeal of the anti-buggery laws, as well as an end to gay discrimination and improved human rights for all citizens in CARICOM.

Maurice Tomlinson of AIDS Free World and who was one of the participants expressed his organization’s support stating that such actions are necessary to raise awareness within CARICOM about the rights of LGBTI, including the right to an adequate standard of health.

He further stated that anti-buggery laws and discriminatory practices undermine the regional fight against HIV by driving gays underground, away from effective HIV prevention, treatment and care.

The group was able to stand peacefully for 17 minutes before they were asked by police to relocate due to the sensitive nature of the site. The group complied and thanked the police for
their professionalism in handling the situation.