Patterson the wrong damage control agent at this time?

In light of the furor now on in earnest after the opinions expressed by Portia Simpson Miller successor to former People’s National Party leader and Prime Minister Percival James Patterson (PJ) in answering a question on her position on Bruce Golding’s Not In My Cabinet declaration and gays in the leadership debate all kinds of damage control methods have been employed so far to soften the rising tensions as she suggested that the buggery law be reviewed while disagreeing with Mr. Golding’s position. A press release first came from PNP central just hours after the interview and the public reaction.

(also see On Buggery and gays in cabinets with politics ………… some responses) 

The press release read:

PNP HAS GIVEN NO COMMITMENT TO REPEALING THE BUGGERY ACT

Kingston, December 22, 2011: The People’s National Party notes that following Tuesday’s leadership debate, some persons have been suggesting that PNP President Portia Simpson Miller, has given a commitment to “repealing” the Buggery Act. The PNP uses this opportunity to state clearly that Mrs. Simpson Miller gave no such commitment.
The PNP President said it was time that the Act be “reviewed” and all members of the House of Representatives provided with an opportunity to vote on the matter based on their conscience.
It would be expected that in such a vote, Members of Parliament on both sides of the House, would take into consideration the views of their constituents.The PNP President remains committed to her pledge to make appointments to a Cabinet led by her on the basis of competence.

Even in the LGBT community there is a split it seems on the position taken by the opposition leader in that some ask why did it take so long for her to express this publicly given the many opportunities over her life in politics and also given the labelling of the party as a “fish tank” over the years as well while others are in support mostly in blind it seems as they are too young to recall or even have experienced those years of convenient political grandstanding and playing to the gallery, mostly the religious right.

Similar to the previous days when PJ Patterson was constantly fingered as being a gay man in secret and his own denial of same in the nineties when he was Prime Minister the perception still exists. Last evening in a Hairdresser/barber shop I frequent as the news was being read on Television Jamaica (TVJ) and his video clip was played warning persons not to allow the Jamaica Labour Party to win the reactions just by observation was curious to me as persons surmised that he was trying to defend Portia in a roundabout way given the “battyman issue” it may not be a reflection of the entire nation in response to Portia’ s position on buggery now (whether she is true to her word or not is yet to be seen) but some say she is trying to win gay votes, even persons in orange t-shirts who were either on their way or coming from a PNP event expressed some concern, one woman who was getting her nails done said she does not want battyman around her but she also lamented that gays run the world and we are going to have to give in some how, a sentiment by the way was seconded by other patrons and even my own barber as he trimmed my hair while leaving me unattended for several minutes to express his view said that he suspects many of the persons including a certain newcomer to representational politics who is a flaming as they come (my words) but he sided with Portia on the privacy issue as long as it doesn’t impose on others, the common man’s views I say must NOT be overlooked.  He postured that PJ should be silent now as it may appear as the PNP may really be “freeing up faggot” as everybody knows he is gay but that sooner or later we have to “free up de ting.”

Patterson

Mr. Patterson was speaking at a rally for the PNP on a campaign tour in Portmore – The Gleaner reported: DECLARING THAT Thursday’s general election is crucial for the future of the country, former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has warned against giving the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) a second term.

Speaking at a People’s National Party (PNP) mass meeting in Portmore, St Catherine, Thursday night, Patterson criticised the handling of the economy by the JLP and said the country must change course from the Labour Party.

Pointing for example at the Global Competitiveness Index which ranks Jamaica 142 out of one 142 countries in terms of its macroeconomy, Patterson said it contradicts the Government’s claim that it has done a good job at managing the economy.

“They dare to say they have managed the economy when it is shrinking, when we are more indebted, more people are below the poverty line …,” Patterson said.

He then proceeded to lecture the receptive band of Comrades on the components of the macroeconomy and how it impacted their daily lives. Concluding his presentation, Mr Patterson declared that it was time for the JLP to go.

“We don’t need in this country at this time, leaders who are delusional or who are trying to hoodwink the people, whether deliberately or unintentionally, and that is one of the reasons why I believe that ‘Sister P’ (Portia Simpson Miller) must return to the helm of leadership in this country,” Patterson said.

The report was however silent on the gay issue as far as he said anything on it. We must not simply forget the track record of the persons in the PNP which is clearly political expediency and hypocrisy at the highest level,  the former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson one year at a People’s National Party (PNP) conference in Kingston declared that not under his watch would there ever be the repealing of laws as it relates to homosexuality. Mr. Patterson again raised eyebrows when on a live radio programme he saw it fit to declare his sexuality to the nation. “My credentials as a life-long heterosexual person are impeccable,” Mr. Patterson said. “Anybody who tries to say otherwise is not just smearing but is engaging in vulgar abuse.” Now his coming from left field in this campaign while ignoring the present clear and present danger for the opposition in wining the election is so lame. The PNP has always had a larger LGBT majority support and as it turns out the ruling JLP has sought to capitalise on the arguments by mounting the homophobic horse. Vaz has clearly stated his position, Daryl Vaz, did not mince words as he made it clear that he did not support the views of Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller, who suggested that the buggery law should be reviewed.

Simpson Miller, who was responding to a question during Tuesday’s national leadership debate, also said she would judge her cabinet on merit and not on their sexual preference. However, Vaz, who was addressing party supporters at a mass meeting in Annotto Bay, St Mary last night, said he was prepared to make his stance public even before the debate reaches Parliament.

“Since I am going back to Parliament I am going to talk about it and I don’t want to be taken out of context,” he said.

“People of Portland ask me to tell you say we don’t buy pool in a cash pot and since it is going to be a debate in Parliament I am going to say God created Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve,” he said.

Now another JLP stalwart has lashed out, Clive Mullings Armed with a Bible, a stone-faced Mullings urged scores of Labourites at a mass meeting in Montego Bay’s historic Sam Sharpe Square on Thursday night to unite against the repealing of such a law. “We must understand that for a nation to be blessed, for a nation to grow, we cannot depart from God’s words. No nation, no nation that seeks to move away from God’s words can succeed,” he declared.

Quoting scriptures, Mullings pointed the large gathering to Genesis Chapter 19: verse 24, citing the reason why “the Lord poured down sulphur and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Mullings, an attorney, urged the horn-blowing supporters on Thursday to take a stance, arguing that the United Kingdom’s position is contrary to what we have learnt and know under the word of God.

“We are no longer a colony of Britain, so if that’s the way they want to go, let them go, but let us not depart from God’s word,” he argued.

He told the jubilant supporters that next Thursday’s general election should not be viewed only as it relates to the creation of jobs.

“We must understand carefully that the choices we make must not be only as it relates to employment, it should also be regarding the moral direction of your country and the future for your children,” the JLP candidate argued.

“So Labourites, Jamaicans, when we go out to vote think seriously about the direction of your country. I implore you to understand that while we are here at this point before general election, don’t misunderstand what we are facing. It is not just the economy, it is in regard to the future of the country for our children and you must now decide whether you want a nation that will be overtaken by those who have punitive lifestyles or whether you are serious about building our country.”

Earlier this week during a mass meeting in Annotto Bay, St Mary, JLP candidate for West Portland Daryl Vaz also criticised the opposition leader for suggesting that a future PNP government will review the buggery law.Several other speakers, including JLP deputy leader Desmond McKenzie, also blasted Simpson Miller for her stance on the buggery law during Thursday night’s meeting.

The PNP all in all has a credibility problem in my view why again has it taken so long for their leaders to finally come forward despite the hints more pronounced than ever of who is gay and who isn’t with all kinds of ads and pictures floating around in the ongoing social network war for votes. PJ maybe the wrong man at this time to speak, the full party in an endorsed statement needs to speak on the issue and definitively but with some powerful dissenters in the mix such as A. J. Nicholson former Attorney General who is on record for his anti gay position, I do not see how that is possible. I still say it is a dance with the growing and more vocal gay community and the pressure from the UK and now the US from the PNP with that question neatly planted in what many describe as a rehearsed leadership debate., even Dionne Jackson Miller, All Angles host, the woman who posed the million dollar question has been lambasted as a lesbian decoy to plant the issue as a platform item. With the PNP suffer because of this latest bump on the road ?

The letters and opinion pieces come flying now from all angles, yet when other important issues arise these persons are silent.

Hypocrisy all over I say…………..

Peace and tolerance

H

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Author: GLBTQ Jamaica Moderator

Activist and concerned gay man in Jamaica with over 19 years experience in advocacy and HIV/AIDS prevention work, LGBT DJ since 1996.

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