Bounty Killer claims Beenie Man apologized to gays for money

Internationally acclaimed Dancehall superstar, Bounty Killerwon’t let his long-time rival, Beenie Man live down his decision to issue a recent video statement in which he tried to bury the hatchet with gay and lesbian critics who have long bashed his lyrical content.

Beenie Man responded to recent comments from Bounty Killer criticizing his perceived apology while implying that he sold out his beliefs by making this move. The self-professedKing of the Dancehall steadfastly denied apologizing to the homosexual community, insisting that his purpose for the video statement was to ask gay, lesbian critics to stop holding lyrics from his younger years against him. Additionally,Beenie Man took shots at the Alliance leader, claiming thatBounty Killer should have been talking about a performance in Amsterdam in which he claims fans left before the self-proclaimed War Lord took the stage.

However, Bounty Killer refuses to back down; taking to Twitter to refute claims by Beenie Man that Jamaican artistes will see an increase in overseas shows, in part, because of his video statement.

According to Bounty Killer, he would not have done the same thing if put in such a position and that Dancehall music has helped boost Jamaica’s stance on homosexuality; intimating that artistes should not back down from said stance regardless of the possible financial implications.

“Me can’t ever put a dollar over Jamaica and its culture. If it wasn’t for dancehall and its culture I don’t know where or who I’d be today. Mi nuh sorry fi nothing that I said or sang; I am sorry to know it offended anybody but that’s how I see it. My views and beliefs, all I can say is that homosexuals fi stop try ban we shows and dancehall must leave dem alone to God still and let peace reign,” he said.

Most a these artistes nowadays only standing up 4 their careers and income. If Yellow Man, Shabba, Ninja, Super Cat, etc. was doing the same back then, how’d we come to have dancehall to elevate out of the slums. So why today I must sell it out 4 my career or a dollar. Nuh body not doing ntn to preserve the industry that made dem who they are today. All mi can hear a man family affi eat so sell out Jamaica and Dancehall that’s the only way to eat nowadays sell ur soul???

He also implied that Beenie Man’s decision to issue his video statement was motivated by money.

“When since a money control Jamaicans’ morals? Leave the gold and save unuh souls. It no look good,” he said.

According to Bounty Killer, there was no need for his rival to apologize given that in the last two years, Dancehall music has steered clear of violent lyrics against any group.

“What are you apologizing for? You don’t apologize for what you sincerely believe in. You can only regret if it offended or hurt anyone,” he said.

Bounty Killer recently returned from a two and a half week European tour, which he insists went well. He retorted Beenie Man’s position that the stadium in Amsterdam was near empty when he took the stage in Amsterdam and also believes that Dancehall music remains in good shape despite many claims to the contrary.

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Let the people decide …….. Parliament urged to put buggery law issue to a referendum

VICE-PRESIDENT of the Jamaica Association of Evangelicals Rev Peter Garth has urged Jamaicans not to leave the repeal of buggery laws to parliamentarians, but instead called for a referendum on this issue, which has again taken centre stage with the recent endorsement of same-sex marriage by United States President Barack Obama.

“Don’t sit in Parliament and make a decision; let the Jamaican people decide,” Garth said as he addressed the weekly Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange at the newspaper’s head offices in Kingston.

Talks of repealing Jamaica’s buggery laws intensified following the political debates leading up to the December 29, 2011 General Election when then Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller promised to review these laws if she was returned as prime minister.

Simpson Miller, who was returned as prime minister in the polls, also challenged a previous declaration by former Prime Minister Bruce Golding who told a BBC TV interviewer some years ago that no gays could serve in his Cabinet. She said she was not in favour of such a position and suggested that persons should be selected for Cabinet duties on the basis of their capacity to deliver.

Rev Peter Garth (right), vice-president of the Jamaica Association of Evangelicals, gestures while addressing yesterday’s Observer Monday Exchange. With him are members of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (from left) Alexis Robinson, Dr Wayne West, Rev Dennis Jernigan and his wife Melinda. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/VIDEO–Let-the-people-decide_11518258#ixzz1vifQDUie

Rev Garth argued, however, that it was not a human right to be a part of a Cabinet and any prime minister has a right to select persons to serve in this capacity. “He (Golding) was extremely bold to say what he did and I have no problem with that because if someone says that is my preference he must have that right just as how Obama has the right to come out and say what he said recently,” he added.

Last October, Britian’s Prime Minister David Cameron announced that his country would begin withholding aid from governments that do not reform legislation banning homosexuality.

But yesterday, Rev Garth, who strongly opposes the repeal of buggery law in Jamaica, said he took strong objection to this approach by international donors.

“This is a sovereign nation and I take strong objection whether it is the President of the United States of America, the Prime Minister of England or Australia trying to dictate what should happen in Jamaica. If the people decided against it they should not be saying they are going to cut off funding,” he said.

According to Rev Garth, there has been no research to show where the buggery laws have made Jamaica a more homophobic nation. “You look at the incidence (violence against homosexuals) in Jamaica and I am placing it on the table that majority of those acts are infighting,” the churchman said.

Meanwhile, attorney-at-law and member of the Jamaica Coalition for Healthy Society Alexis Robinson said Jamaicans must realise that there are some things which were more important than pandering to international agendas.

“We will not come under a new form of colonialism and we will not allow England or America or anyone else to tell us how we should be who we are,” Robinson said, adding that Jamaicans were one of the few people in the United Nations who stood up for the abolition of apartheid in South Africa.

“We have a huge international voice, and it is time for us to use that in a positive way,” she told Observer reporters and editors.

She further questioned if Jamaicans want a Jamaica which is open to everything, resulting in the rapid decline of culture and family. “It is short-sighted that we accept something and 20 years from now we have nothing to hold on to as a result, or do we want to say no this is who we are as a people we will not bow to international pressure,” she said.

Tackle homosexuality in schools, says churchman

LEADING clergyman Rev Peter Garth says a special effort ought to be made to tackle the problem of homosexuality in schools.

He cited examples of irregular sexual behaviour in institutions for girls and called for an urgent investigation into “what has been happening in schools”.

Rev Garth, the vice-president of the Jamaica Association of Evangelicals and a sympathiser of the anti-homosexual organisation — the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society — was addressing editors and reporters at the weekly Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange held at the newspaper’s Beechwood Avenue offices yesterday.

“Homosexuals globally do not keep it to themselves. Why is it that they go into the schools? Why is it that they do what they do?” the clergyman asked.

“You know why a lot of persons are afraid to come out and speak? It’s because they don’t want the name of their particular high school to be said (publicised), but we need to investigate what is happening.

He added: “I have counselled and I am counselling persons who have been attacked, and until the attack takes place, those students remain in school.

“The schools must be alerted to the reality that there are persons who are out there trying to infiltrate our schools.

Citing personal experience, Rev Garth stated that his efforts to counsel affected students had led to threats of lawsuits and in one case, a student broke her silence which prompted school authorities to sit up and take note.

If those girls were not helped, later on in life the gay community would say that these are all gay people. But we managed to help them through, as we have done with so many persons, and today what you find is that persons who have received help are happily married with children and are thankful that they did not continue down that road.”

“I have been threatened to be taken to court because I tried to help and to counsel persons. It is a tedious role, a hard role.

“The fact is a number of parents were called to a school, and when the parents came, some of them threatened to take me to court because I stand up as chaplain and board member and all that I was trying to do was to help these girls. The long and short of it is that one of the girls broke down and said that they were not lies and then began to call other schools that actually brought them into it.

“There are others who have been attacked in the restrooms and when they make a report they are told initially that nothing can be done. When people start to send texts, that’s how it begins, because they are told to find out in schools the ones who lean that way. So it is something that we have to go after,” said Rev Garth, who added that he was unaware of the extent of homosexuality in schools other than those for girls.

“I have heard about them, and people have told me so, but I have first-hand information about girls schools.

“I have also had that experience at university level and persons have come in for counselling,” Rev Garth said.

The Heavy Co$T Of AIDS – With Global Funds To Dry Up, Jamaica In Peril

Prepared by Byron Buckley

CARIBBEAN AIDS prevention advocates fear that crucial funding to sustain hard-won gains over the last decade could dry up by year end. Financial support from the Geneva-based Global Fund could cease because Jamaica and other Caribbean states, having been classified as ‘middle-income’ countries, no longer qualify as recipients of funding.

Dr Edward Greene - File

In addition, a South-South agreement between the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and Brazil, which facilitates universal access to antiretroviral drugs to treat HIV/AIDS, comes up for renegotiation later this year.

Faced with this spectre, Dr Edward Greene, United Nations special envoy for HIV in the Caribbean, says the world body will be working with Jamaica and other countries in the region to protest the ‘middle-income’ designation and secure its reversal.

Warns Greene: “With Jamaica experiencing its current level of financial constraints and renegotiating its debt with the International Monetary Fund, we are concerned about the possibility of the country being forced to suspend its social programmes. It would be catastrophic, in particular, for people living with HIV (PLHIV), if a withdrawal of support were to take place.”

The UN envoy flays the World Bank’s flawed study, based on income, which resulted in Jamaica’s reclassification. He notes: “Income does not tell you the burden of debt nor disease.”

It is the easing of the burden of HIV/AIDS on Caribbean societies that Greene and fellow advocates wish to sustain. A cessation of funding would threaten the fragile gains made in the Caribbean over the last decade. From 2001-2009:

The number of AIDS-related deaths declined by 9,000;
The number of new HIV infections decreased by 3,000;
The number of PLHIV in Haiti and Guyana declined;
The number of PLHIV in Jamaica remained the same;
Adult HIV prevalence rate declined in Jamaica, Haiti and Guyana;
Adult HIV prevalence remained stable in Suriname, the Dominican Republic, and The Bahamas.
In addition to these positive trends, Greene has high praise for Jamaica’s efforts to ramp up its HIV response. “It is obvious that Jamaica is on the path to the elimination of mother-to-child transmission by 2015, and that the Caribbean, as a whole, can aim to be the first region in the world to achieve this goal,” he says.

The OECS could eliminate mother-child HIV infection by 2015. Fifty per cent of people in the Caribbean have access to antiretroviral treatment (ART) drugs, 70 per cent in Guyana, and universal in Barbados.

Challenges remain

But challenges remain in the regional efforts to control the spread of HIV/AIDS. Overall, between 2001 and 2009, the number of PLHIV increased by four per cent, including in Cuba, Jamaica’s nearest neighbour. During the same period, the HIV adult prevalence rate increased in four Caribbean countries: Barbados, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, and Cuba.

One area of grave concern in Jamaica is the 30 per cent HIV prevalence among gay men. This is among the highest in global terms, and is followed in the region by Trinidad and Tobago (20 per cent), Dominican Republic (11 per cent), and The Bahamas (10 per cent). Overall, the Caribbean, with an adult HIV prevalence rate of one per cent, is ranked second to Africa (five per cent). This makes the Caribbean anomalous in the Americas, where the adult/HIV prevalence is 0.5 per cent in both Central/South America and North America/Mexico.

Indeed, any reversal of the gains from the Caribbean’s HIV/AIDS prevention programme would give a black eye to the optimism that characterises the global outlook on the status of the epidemic. Over the last 10 years, there has been a decline in mortality rates for HIV/AIDS across the globe. The mortality rate is down because more people have access to medication.

Greene explains: “Having access to antiretroviral drugs is a lifesaver because it allows people to live a very active and normal life. In the Caribbean, we can almost safely say we can eliminate the disease. I think we are in a more optimistic position than we were 10 years ago.”

His optimism is also based on developments in medical science of formulas to eventually eliminate HIV/AIDS, just like what occurred with smallpox and polio in the 1980s. This upbeat posture, perhaps overblown, is also reflected in UNAIDS’s goals of getting to zero by 2015:

Zero AIDS infection
Zero AIDS-related deaths
Zero discrimination
Eliminating discrimination
Lifting the burden of the disease, importantly, involves the elimination of discrimination against PLHIV. Discrimination is considered an important driver of HIV infection rate, according to health advocates, because people refuse to be tested. Studies carried out in the OECS by the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Alliance found that even among medical practitioners, there was the perception of stigma. This often leads to some form of discrimination, – giving more legs to the disease because people don’t want to go to the clinic.

Commenting on the hot-button issue in Jamaica of repealing the buggery law, the UN envoy says it is secondary to addressing discrimination and promoting human rights in general.

“For me, that (repealing the buggery law) is not the main problem. The main problem we are dealing with is the human rights, generally speaking,” he reasons. “People are entitled to access care, because if they don’t, that could affect society on a whole.”

Greene believes the State has an obligation to protect citizens on a whole to ensure that people with communicable diseases have access to care and treatment.

He reasons: “If I put the accent on reducing stigma and discrimination and human rights, I am ensuring that there is no overt discrimination for PLHIV in the workplace and in the school. This is because I don’t want to exclude one per cent of the population, or 30 per cent of men who have sex with men (MSM), from having access to those things that other people have. Just like how I would not exclude people from certain services because of their race, gender or where they live – as happens to job applicants living in inner-city communities.”

According to the UN envoy, it is important that PLHIV have certain responsibilities – to go and get tested, to adhere to their regime of treatment, to ensure that they educate their family and friends.

“So homosexuals have the right to health care,” Greene argues, “but they also have to behave in particular ways to conform to the norms of the communities. If they expect to be treated a certain way, they can’t behave in ways that are subversive to the community.” For example, he notes, members of the homosexual community should not “prey on young, vulnerable boys”. They must act responsibly, thus balancing the human rights structure.

Faith-based organisations

The goals of zero infection, deaths and discrimination require the involvement of the faith-based community. Greene is hopeful that after recent consultations with local church leaders, they will be able to adopt a message of abstinence, faithfulness to one’s partner and condom use. He points to the role played by faith-based organisations in East Asian societies in producing the lowest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of 0.1 per cent per population.

“Notwithstanding its religious tenets, East Asia promoted safe sex as a practice for a fairly long time. It has not allowed its religious precepts to get into the way of practical sexuality.

“This is one reason we are seeing the very low prevalence rate, overall,” Greene observes.

The situation in East Asia contrasts with what obtains in the Caribbean where family life is breaking down; sexual promiscuity is rampant; and communities foster a culture of fear that leaves young girls vulnerable to sexual predators.

Of course, per capita income is quite high in East Asia, and the level of poverty there does not compare with prevalence rates in India and South/Southeast Asia.

Greene points out: “We have to see AIDS also as a development issue. Enhancing development could impact positively on AIDS outcome.”

He was in Jamaica to discuss a number of issues with governmental and non-governmental organisations, particularly surrounding human rights and HIV, as well as the financial sustainability of HIV programmes. As a result of these discussions, it has been agreed that Jamaica will hold a national consultation on human rights and the reduction of stigma and discrimination on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2012.

Byron Buckley is associate editor at The Gleaner. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and byron.buckley@gleanerjm.com.
Low HIV prevalence in East Asia linked to:

Religious and family patterns;
Historical cultural mores, spiritualism;
Less multiple partners in sex;
Greater degree of abstinence before marriage;
Higher degree of faithfulness to partners