Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays snubbed by The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston Jamaica.
Jamaica Pegasus on Knutsford Boulevard
On the 16th of November 2010, the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) were refused permission to hold a meeting on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) issues at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston. On the 11th of November a booking had been made by J-FLAG, with the aforementioned hotel, to host a meeting with other similar organisations and stakeholders with a view to examining the role of human rights in respect of the LGBTI community in Jamaica. J-FLAG is a human rights lobby group working towards a Jamaican society in which the human rights and equality of LGBTI persons are guaranteed.
The meeting was due to take place on the 18th of November, however on the 16th of November Mr Dane Lewis, Executive Director of J-FLAG, received a phone call from the hotel Director of Sales and Marketing who explained that because of the nature of work carried out by J-FLAG, the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel was not willing to allow such an event to take place on its premises. In the past the Jamaica Pegasus has hosted different groups including LGBTI persons, however this refusal marks a change of policy with regard to hosting LGBTI persons and organisations.
This refusal by the management of Jamaica Pegasus Hotel to allow a meeting organised by J-FLAG to take place on their premises is discriminatory towards LGBTI people and organisations, and is linked to their legitimate work in the defence of human rights, in particular LGBTI rights. Front Line Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Canada another human rights and LGBTQI rights organization is concerned that this event highlights a broader undercurrent of intolerance and hostility within Jamaican society towards members of the LGBTI community.
This should not surprise anyone though we have seen refusals before by other hotels and possible meeting spots who are approached hence most times meetings are booked in other names such as Jamaica AIDS Support for LIFE albeit it’ s JFLAG’s mother organization anyway as it was formed due to the inability of JASL to handle the advocacy issues they were seeing in the early nineties coming to hand via their LGBT clients.
One wonders what the Pegasus Hotel would loose as I am sure the J wouldn’t allow any eventualities to cause a damper on their proceedings or is it due to the new Jamaican ownership as the hotel was sold by Government recently in order to shed some of the debt and expenses from government hands.
Could a disturbance on the property by some MSMs who were staying on the property earlier this year a factor? allegedly there was a private party that ended up in a fight where persons were asked to leave by the host.
Previous demonstrations by JFLAG across the street a factor?
Bearing in mind that most of JFLAG’s recent public agitations in 2010 were just across the street from the hotel that faces Emancipation Park (or penis park as is comically known due to the large nude statues to the north-east of the landmark by the fountain, could that be a factor?
Recent protest by Emancipation Park infront of The Pegasus
Do they fear that the J maybe planning a protest on their premises so in fear they (The Pegasus) refuse to do business
Sorry to hear of this JFLAG even though I criticize them heavily about some of their actions or lack thereof here right is right and wrong is wrong and THIS IS SOOOOOO WROONG. Frontline carried the story parts of which are excerpted in this post.
The Pegasus like any other business is free to decide who it chooses to do business with but on clear grounds of discrimination is totally wrong knowing fully well that other private uptown LGBTQI citizens use the restaurant, attend the Jazz offerings they have and support other goods and services offered and the accommodations which include overseas guests for the very meetings that JFLAG host elsewhere MAYBE A FULL BOYCOTT IS IN ORDER, I remember my days there booking international activists and speakers who arrive to meet with the J and other local groups and organizations.
But knowing how we are in Jamaica, A FULL BOYCOTT? that is not likely to happen as most will just brush it aside and say “it’s not affecting me” and continue to play the hypocrite and patronise them.
All these questions and suggestions out there one could get lost in the maze.
The criticisms and questions arise again of the J
Another side to this maybe why would a non profit want to use such an expensive property to host or conduct a meeting even if it is funded by a source? these are precisely some of the criticisms over the years from sections of the community towards JFLAG when there are inter and intra community needs and interventions that are urgently required or ought to be developed. The homelessness issues are still very much present with an ever unruly and younger population of MSMs in particular, the fact that we have male netball teams that needs just basic assistance to develop themselves and achieve the wonderful results they can just as years before, where recently they needed some financial help to travel overseas and virtually nothing came through for them, yet thousands of dollars are spent on elaborate meetings with no serious results that impact the grassroots activism that is required, then we have a group that says it’s for advocacy?
When if ever did JFLAG ever undertake to really look at Intersexuality or is it just saying the right words to look active? as for the transgendered question that too is a joke as recently on their finally renewed website the transgender tab has NO information under it and the old references and data have all been removed. The two main trans figures are languishing literally with no secure income or serious interest shown in them.
Who is really calling the shots at the J, when we see recent public agitations led by AIDSFREEWORLD Consultant and Attorney-at-Law Maurice Tomlinson who has put his life and reputation on the line with others seemingly working under his shadow to look as if somethings are being done. Smaller, cheaper, comparatively comfortable and less exposed properties are around to accommodate meetings, workshops and seminars as we used to do in the old days in other parts of Jamaica to avoid things like this from happening, some say it serves the J right upon hearing this rebuff news, but the J needs to consider where its financial and other priorities lie. To seem to be interested in elaborateness than activism does not auger well for the trust required from the communities THEY SAY THEY SERVE.
The long held perceptions in the LGBTQI community that certain groups and individuals are all for themselves is as real today as it was from times past, the J needs to break it by performing with serious and meaningful results.
GET OVER THE PROGRAMMATIC FLUFF PLEASE and get down to work, the disconnect sections of the community feels is too real to ignore anymore.
Let’s see what they are going to do now, hope not some press release again as they have perfected that to the letter.
Peace and tolerance
UPDATE November 24, 2010
In a post on Pink Report Jamaica JFLAG is set to launch a boycott of sorts on the hotel by diverting business from other rights groups to host or have meetings there. While energy is wasted on that there are real issues on the ground that need looking at I suggest have the meetings elsewhere and ignore the Pegasus we have several other hotels that are juts as nice as it seems nice hotels and fancy meetings are more important than some work for the community. Here we continue again. Agree or disagree.
See the post on Pink Report Jamaica: