The convenor of the lobby group Families Against State Terrorism, Yvonne McCalla Sobers, said Jamaica should refuse UK aid if the Government is as concerned about legalising homosexuality as it claims.
British prime minister, David Cameron has threatened to withhold British aid from several Commonwealth countries with anti-gay legislation.
Cameron made the comment at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Perth, Australia.
Last night, the justice minister Delroy Chuck said he could not comment on the issue because he had not seen the report.
However, successive governments have indicated that Jamaica will keep the buggery law.
Last night the convenor of FAST, Yvonne McCalla Sobers, said it was time for the Jamaican Government to respect the rights of all it citizens.
Human rights reform in the Commonwealth was one issue that leaders failed to agree on at the Commonwealth summit.
Ending bans on homosexuality was one of the recommendations of an internal report into the future relevance of the Commonwealth.
Miss Sobers among other things said:
“It might have been possible that some of those monies may have been earned by people who are gay, who to tell? perhaps we really ought not to take it if we are so concerned, on the other hand do we really need to be so involved with what happens in the bedrooms of consenting adults that it interfers with our ability to help our budget along?
The people of this country can make that choice if they care so much about a law that cannot be enforced therefore is really useless.”
She was speaking recently at a press briefing along side Lord Anthony Gifford to launch an action to challenge the law overseas via the Inter American Commission for Human Rights. Can it be that they have deliberately decided not to send anyone since the issue of homosexuality will be discussed? If so that’s very cowardly.
MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Dr Kenneth Baugh says that Jamaica “will not suffer any detriment by virtue of its absence” from the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting now on in Perth, Australia.
Baugh, responding to concerns raised by the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) on Wednesday, in a statement later that day said Jamaica’s non-representation resulted from the resignation of Bruce Golding as prime minister. Golding resigned on Sunday, hours before Andrew Holness was sworn in as the country’s ninth prime minister.
He said that it was the intention of the former prime minister to lead the delegation to the meeting and arrangements were made to facilitate the participation of the Jamaican delegation.
“The resignation of the former prime minister and hence all Cabinet ministers, inclusive of the minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, would be at around the same time as the meeting and consequently no one would be qualified to participate at that time. The proposed date of appointment of the new prime minister and Cabinet therefore precluded arrangements being made for participation by Jamaica at that level,” Baugh explained
According to Baugh, consideration was given for the permanent secretary in his ministry representing Jamaica, but the nature of the meeting would not allow her participation in the plenary or caucuses of the Heads’ meeting.
He said a letter of apology and regrets were written to the Australian government and the Secretary General of the Commonwealth and that the Caricom Secretariat “was communicated with to convey Jamaica’s concerns about issues on the agenda, especially migration and development, which were proposed by Jamaica”.
Meanwhile Justice Minister Delroy Chuck said that any such legislative change must be driven by the public interest, “It is a matter that parliament should have the opportunity to debate, looking at the pros and cons just like the capital punishment individual parliamentarians can take a position as to whether or not it should be changed that is it should be repealed or modified as the case maybe,” he continued ” I am not too sure that the homophobia is caused from the laws, these laws have been in existence from time in memorial I think it is fear to say that um Jamaicans do not consider homosexual behaviour to be acceptable the question is whether these views can be changed over a period of time.”
The timing of all this to me is foolhardy as clearly we were not watching the political landscape on a larger scale albeit the snap resignation and unusually smooth transition of the Jamaica Labour Party’e leadership came as a ball from left field. Challenges like this usually take inordinate length of time to process and argue so we may be looking at another three to four years. If we were interested we should have launched this from way back in the Not in my cabinet rant from the previous Prime Minister Bruce Golding. I find it also very interesting that yet again no full consultation was done with the ordinary folk of the LGBT body politic and there seems to be a not a care in the world attitude about those most exposed or susceptible to homophobic violence on the ground or are they the bait to be used as martyrs involuntarily so as to make subjects for the cases to be presented? The constant lack of engagement with the general population is glaring yet still with decisions made for us by the advocates and for us to endorse them without dissent. Is it convenient not to help the most at risk MSMs in particular whilst spending millions on this action so as to present an image of doom for that group in presentations?
One wonders what have we here, when no frontline work is being done to address the homeless matter that is pressing while all eyes are transfixed on the search for superstardom supposedly at the expense of a few dutty battyman.
And to think all the other non gay allies have joined the throng while they are far removed from the real advocacy issues that attend to displaced or homeless persons.
Does anyone notice that The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays is silent on this matter/action???
Peace and tolerance