UNAIDS Director says the PNP offers hope for the repealing of the buggery law …… but some concerns exist

UNAIDS Regional Director of the support team in the Caribbean Dr Ernest Massiah says the return of the Peoples National Party PNP in Jamaica offers hope that the tide will turn where the repealing of the Buggery Law is concerned this he interprets as a pre-election commitment by the then opposition leader now ruling Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to review the legislation which I still see as a suggestion by her in answering the question posed by Dionne Jackson Miller in the leadership debate in 2011 in the run up to the general election in December last. He spoke at one of the sessions at the AIDS 2012 conference in the US.

He also said the organization had received encouraging feedback from three unnamed Caribbean Prime Ministers in private discussions and that when the time is right Mrs Simpson may be named as one of the three then.

I and some others in the community are unclear as to Mrs Simpson Miller’s answer and her real position (see audio below) as at the leadership debate and subsequent followup comments by her along with press releases from the PNP itself denying it promised to repeal any buggery laws. Have I missed something?

also see my post on December 30, 2011:
PNP Wins …………….Hope for LGBT People ???

here is one of the press releases hinted to above where the PNP had denied allegations from the ruling party then turned opposition now the Jamaica Labour Party JLP as they lost the election:


December 27, 2011: The People’s National Party (PNP) has labeled as deliberate mischief making by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), suggestions that it supports a repealing of the Buggery Act. The PNP says that is not its position.
The PNP says the JLP has been circulating the false assertion about the Party’s position on the matter in a desperate bid to make the matter an issue of contention to gain political advantage.

PNP Campaign Director, Dr. Peter Phillips said at a press conference to wrap up the party’s campaign today that the PNP has no position to repeal the Buggery Act, and that the issue arose out of a question posed to party leader Portia Simpson Miller during the recent national debate with prime minister and JLP leader, Andrew Holness.

“This arose out of a question and there is no position taken by us of a repeal. We recognize that there are some persons, who for their own partisan political reasons, would wish to distort the Party’s position as it relates to the Buggery Act,” Dr. Phillips said.
He adds that the Party Leader has proposed a review of the Act, and not a repeal of it.
“During the review, every Member of Parliament will be required to bring to bear on the discussions, the views and the opinion of his or her constituents. At the end of the review, if a vote is to be taken, the vote will be a conscience vote, which means each Member of Parliament will vote according to the directive of his/ her constituents,” Dr. Phillips says.

This is in keeping with the position taken by the PNP President, who indicated at the national debate that the people of Jamaica should let their voices be heard on the matter through consultations spearheaded by Members of Parliament, so that a Parliamentary debate and vote on the issue would not be confined to the views of Parliamentarians alone, but rather, would be reflective of the views and will of the people in constituencies across the country.
Responding to questions posed by journalists about accusations leveled on the campaign trail by Daryl Vaz that the PNP had received funding from overseas-based gay rights groups, Phillips said such accusations were not true and a “total fabrication” as the party had in no way supported “any gay agenda”.

“This is a total fabrication of Mr. Vaz and his very active imagination and speaks to the desperation in that (the JLP’s) campaign,” said Phillips.
The PNP will end its election campaign today with a tour of western parishes and culminate with a meeting in the South West St. Andrew constituency of Party Leader, Portia Simpson Miller, followed by a gospel concert at the party’s 89 Old Hope Road headquarters.

Executive Director of JFLAG Dane Lewis at the time had said that the Prime Minister missed an opportunity to make a bold declaration on securing rights for all Jamaicans, he continued on a telephone interview that “We’re very encouraged by the bold statement from a Jamaican politician the opposition leader Miss Portia Simpson Miller, I am very disappointed that the Prime Minister with an opportunity to make as bold a statement chose the lower road. It is going to take a conscience vote it’s gonna take the leaders of this country to make some bold steps to recognise the rights of all Jamaicans.” He also said he trusts the sincerity of the opposition leader, he doesn’t think it’s a ploy to win the votes of the gay community days before an election.  He said too that it was not about threats on withholding aid by UK and US governments who have now tied aid to LGBT rights.

Here is the other press release that came on December 21st from the PNP denying they made any promises to repeal Buggery.


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.

here is New Nation Coalition Founder Betty Ann Blaine questioning the PM’s on buggery earlier this year among other audio including my response as well:

Bear this in mind as well, after digging my archives I found the presentation by Mrs Simpson Miller in 2009 (poor audio though) where she sided wholeheartedly with the then Prime Minster Bruce Golding (his speech linked) on the banning of gay marriage, gay marriage rights by the way was never asked for by the LGBT advocacy structure at that time but it was dishonestly pushed on the agenda during the Charter of Rights debate then as a smoke screen to deny us recognition in the Charter. The clause that had discrimination as an infraction then was also removed from the draft prior to this speech after successful lobbying by none other than the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship with support from none other than reverend Al Miller.

She said on October 20th 2009 – Mr Speaker when we accepted the final report from the joint select committee that were looking at the bill we were completely satisfied with their recommendation of a provision to restrict marriage and like relationships to one man and one woman within Jamaica and that the provision should be specifically spelt out so that there could be no ambiguity ………. yes one man one woman (laughter in the house) and if you are Jamaican and go overseas the same applies ………..

Has Prime Minister Simpson Miller changed her mind or is evolving as President Obama did and is moving towards having the review done and will she get the need support as per conscience vote to make the repeal possible or at best decriminalization from her 59 members of parliament especially folks such as A.J. Nicholson and first time MP Lambert Brown who opposed condoms in prisons saying it was homosexuality being snuck through the back door? Mr. Brown said. “Those who are promoting condoms in prison are using the back door to promote homosexuality which is illegal.”

also see these two posts I had done where another first time MP poured cold water on the buggery review suggestion: PNP’s Damion Crawford on Homosexuality’s legality ………. and
PNP’s Damion Crawford says it’s highly unlikely buggery review will happen …….. it’s not important now he concludes

for your review here is the actual debate video below and her answer to Dionne Jackson Miller also click here to see her blog: http://newsandviewsbydjmillerja.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/jamaica-and-gays-are-we-homophobic-or-not

here is a follow up video from TVJ where Mrs Miller defended her answer in the debate and the JLP’s accusation of the PNP repealing buggery originally aired December 24, 2011:

Who will assist with any backlash that may occur (if any) especially on the ground in terms of violence and frontline activists not to mention persons perceived to be gay who may be targeted?  we must expect anything I say as previous experience has taught us such as the Canadian group EGALE tourism boycott suggestion which led to some resistance and incidents towards LGBT citizens and a spike in the numbers of homo negative episodes, I am not comforted by the revelation by UNAIDS this should have been kept close to their chests and proceed with the talks.

Time Magazine while naming her as one of the 100 most influential for 2011/2 said on their site: “………Portia is promoting full civil rights for gays and lesbians, a courageous move in a country with a violent history of homophobia”


Just come clean and done nuh and mek we know what is what Portia. I do not see it as a commitment or a promise as others do but instead just her opinion at the time of being questioned and a good political tool at the time to win the election given the lethargy to politics after the drawn out JLP run with the Manatt Dudus commission of enquiry in particular.

Peace and tolerance


The Caribbean Men’s Internet Survey is underway


The Caribbean Men’s Internet Survey is underway

16 January, 2012 A groundbreaking anonymous online study of the lives of men who have sex with men (MSM) in the English, French, Spanish and Dutch-speaking Caribbean is underway now. CARIMIS, the Caribbean Men’s Internet Survey (available at http://www.carimis.org) aims to learn more about this group while for the first time testing the potential of the internet to conduct research with key populations in the region. The initiative is led by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Caribbean Regional Support Team (RST) and involves several individuals, non-governmental organisations and partner agencies throughout the region.

UNAIDS Caribbean RST Director, Dr. Ernest Massiah, explained that the approach presents exciting possibilities for responding more meaningfully to the realities of MSM.

“Almost everybody’s online,” he said. “That’s where people are and that’s where the survey needs to be. It’s the most modern, effective way to connect with communities to find out more about their experiences and their needs. Good data provides the evidence that allows countries to make good decisions about their HIV response.”

Article 29 of the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS notes that many national HIV prevention strategies inadequately focus on populations that evidence shows are at higher risk. In June governments committed to identifying the specific populations that are key to their epidemic and response, “based on the epidemiological and national context”. CARIMIS will contribute to this goal by offering new insight into the realities of Caribbean MSM communities at country-level, including respondents’ behavioural risks and their access to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care.

Participants in pilot tests done in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago revealed that they responded to questions about their sexual behaviour during the survey that they would not answer in face to face interviews.  Importantly, the approach will reach across boundaries of class, race, socio-economic status and professed sexual identity as anyone with 15 minutes of internet access can participate anonymously.

“Studies among MSM have been conducted in the larger Caribbean countries using traditional sampling methods. While these methods have been useful they have always excluded sub-groups within the MSM community who cannot be reached through public venues or network systems. The internet holds the potential to reach a wider spectrum of MSM and could in the future be used to connect with other hard-to-reach groups,” explained Research Associate, Sylette Henry-Buckmire.

In the Caribbean HIV prevalence among MSM is estimated to range from 0.71 percent in Cuba to 32 percent in Jamaica. The average adult HIV prevalence for the region as a whole is one percent.

The survey is available on www.carimis.org It is targeted toward people who are 18 years or older, were born male and either are attracted to men, have sex with men or think they might do so in the future. Eligible participants must provide informed consent online before completing the survey. No information will be collected that would identify respondents. The website includes links to local referral services for those who require emotional or medical support. CARIMIS has been approved by the Ethics Committee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). The website and its supporting technology underwent a rigorous certification and accreditation process to assure security.


UNAIDS Caribbean| Cedriann Martin | tel. +868 623-7056 ext. 283 | martinc@unaids.org


UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, is an innovative United Nations partnership that leads and inspires the world in achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. Learn more at unaids.org.




Motion moved in the City of Geneva for an international coalition of cities against homophobia and transphobia-voted 24.11.2010

For those of us who missed it here is the English Translation to motion that was moved following the adoption by the Municipal Council of the City of Geneva of the motion for the launching of a international coalition of cities against homophobia and transphobia, this group aims at gathering informal support for this initiative.

For an International Coalition of Cities against Homophobia and Transphobia

(Unofficial translation)


Motion of 3rd November 2010 of Mr. Yves de Matteis, Gérard Deshusses, Jean-Charles Lathion, Salvatore Vitanza, Simon Brandt, Alexandre Chevalier, Gary Bennaim, Pascal Rubeli, Ms. Ariane Arlotti, Maria Pérez, Salika Wenger, Nicole Valiquer Grecuccio, Sarah Klopmann, Anne Moratti Jung, Anne Carron-Cescato,Véronique Latella et Chantal Perret-Gentil


– the fact that more than 76 countries punish homosexuality with emprisonment of several years;– that seven countries punish homosexuality with the death penalty;

– that the mention or denunciation of persecutions, stigmatisation and discrimnations based on sexual orientation or gender identity are, for the moment, nearly absent ininternational fora, including those dedicated to racism, even though the necessity to actis blatant;

– the fact that Geneva is the world capital of human rights, with, in particular, the presence on its soil of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for human rights;

– the fact that an «International Coalition of Cities agains Racisme » was already funded in Nurnberg, in Germany, under the auspices of the Unesco in 2004, coalition of which the City of Geneva is a member;

– the fact that the cities of Amsterdam and Bruxelles as well as Catalogne are already officially supporting the world federation fighting against discriminations based on sexual orientation and gender identity (ILGA – International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,Trans and Intersex Association);

– the fact that the Municipal Council had already unanimously adopted, during its 21st January 2008 session, the resolution R-105 entitled «Homophobia: let us also fight against this form of discrimination»,

the Municipal Council invites the Administrative Council :

– to take the initiative of launching an international coalition of cities against discriminations based on sexual orientation and gender identity by contacting :

– international organisations competent in this field (for exemple ILGA);
– cities already aware of those themes (Amsterdam, Bruxelles, the Hague, Mexico, etc.)

– international specialised organisms (the Office of the United Nations HighCommissioner for human rights, UNAIDS etc.) able to give their expertise in order to contribute to the setting up of an international network on the model of the international coalition of cities against racism.


Calls for region to repeal anti-gay laws



Officials attending the 10th Annual General Meeting of the Pan Caribbean Partnerships Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) here have renewed calls for the removal of anti-gay laws in the Caribbean.

The outgoing Chairman of PANCAP, St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas, said that the region could continue to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic by making a renewed commitment to revisit the discriminatory laws.

Dr Douglas said leaders have used the meeting to contemplate “how we are going to bring back onto the table, though it has serious political overtones, how are we going to reemphasize the need for a revisiting of the laws that have been established in our countries for so many years that continue to discriminate against people who are living with HIV/AIDS and who have been affected as a result of HIV/AIDS”.

“This is the new commitment that we take into this new era beyond 10 years of PANCAP,” Douglas added.

Proponents for the repeal of legislation prohibiting gay sex maintain that the law made no sense and was preventing homosexuals from accessing counselling and testing services for HIV and AIDS.

Former United Nations (UN) Secretary General Kofi Annan who also attended the PANCAP meeting said he was happy to hear Douglas stress the importance of removing discriminatory and prejudicial barriers.

“I think it is extremely important that that this be done as quickly as possible. I would also say that as we move forward we are going to need creativity, leadership and sustained effort,” he said.

Meantime, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé noting that the problem was not unique to the Caribbean said that there are 80 countries in the world with homophobic laws, and 51 countries which do not allow people living with HIV the right to enter or stay in their home country.

“It is a global issue and we need to address it in a very strategic manner. For me what is important in the case of the Caribbean is to review the laws because you have two-thirds of the countries in the Caribbean who have those punitive laws against most at risk populations,” Sidibé said.


Are Men That Have Sex With Men Being Ignored By The International AIDS Conference In Vienna Austria? asks a blogger

Vienna AIDS pre-conference on men who have sex with men a great idea INTERNATIONAL AIDS CONFERENCE / But also a missed opportunity

Phillip Banks / Vancouver / Monday, July 19, 2010

Last night marked the opening of the 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria. From July 18-22 more than 20,000 people from all over the planet will converge to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of the global HIV crisis.

In the next few days, research findings will be shared, interesting programs and services will be presented, and more models, frameworks, and strategies than you can shake a stick at will be unveiled to the world.

And if Bill Clinton was telling the truth, we can expect some good news to come out of all of this too. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure the good news is going to apply to gay men.

Too many International AIDS Conferences have come and gone in the last decade without enough attention being given to the situation facing gay men and other men who have sex with men.

This isn’t unique to gay men. Over the years many different groups have had to fight to get the world’s attention.

It seems scientists, world leaders, international organizations, donors, and the conference host itself — the International AIDS Society — are all unable or unwilling to practice what they preach: to respond to the HIV epidemic based on the best available evidence.

If they did, they would be hard pressed to continue to ignore the new, growing, and resurgent HIV epidemics among gay men and other men who have sex with men around the globe.

In an effort to give some serious attention to HIV among gay men, the Global Forum on Men who Have Sex with Men (MSMGF) organized BE HEARD, a pre-conference event on July 17 here in Vienna.

At this one-day event 650 men and women from all corners of the globe came together to address the worsening global AIDS crisis among gay men.

The day featured presentations, workshops, and discussions among activists from every continent and more than 100 countries. Topics covered government denial and neglect; inadequate funding; limited access to prevention, treatment, and care; heartbreaking human rights abuses; and the resulting HIV-related deaths among gay men.

This situation was reiterated throughout the day by a number of high-level experts in the HIV field. Plenary speakers included Michael Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS; Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of The Global Fund; and Stephen Lewis, the previous United Nations Special Envoy on HIV in Africa.

One after another they stepped up to the podium and told the crowd how bad the situation is for us, how it is made worse by a serious lack of human rights in jurisdictions around the globe, and how, finally, we could count on their support as we fight on.

BE HEARD gave men a chance to get together and hear about challenges of HIV in our communities. It was an incredible opportunity to connect with men on the frontlines from around the world.

But it was also a missed opportunity.

This gathering of global gay activists did not need to spend the limited time they had together presenting statistics and program models to each other. If we really want to be heard, we should have spent that time strategizing about how we are going to use this international platform to demand action to end HIV in our communities.

Gay men need to dust off their whistles and take a page from the playbook of sex work activists, treatment activists, or the emerging activists from Eastern Europe. They aren’t afraid to make some noise because there’s too much at stake for them.

As the 18th International AIDS Conference starts, there’s too much at stake for gay men too.

Only one in five gay men on the planet has access to HIV prevention, care, and support. Top level officials pay lip service to epidemics among gay men but they offer us no good news.

George Ayala, executive officer of the Global Forum, said only 2 percent of scheduled events at this year’s AIDS conference will address the needs of men who have sex with men.

Gay men have been silenced at this conference and if we don’t make some noise, we’ll remain invisible.

There was a time when gay men refused to sit quietly while people in positions of power and authority apologized for our situation but provided no solutions or commitments.

In those days, gay guys demanded action. We demanded money. We demanded laws to protect our dignity and our human rights.

In those days we refused to be silent.

There is an opportunity for leadership here from the MSM Global Forum. It needs to decide if it wants to play nice with the big boys and girls, or throw down the gloves.

The conference is just getting started. Before it’s over I hope gay men do what needs to be done to Be Heard.


UN’s 2010 AIDS goal may not be reached

By Phoebe Ferris-Rotman
The United Nations’ goal of achieving “universal access” to anti-HIV drugs and care by 2010 is unlikely to be reached.
Speaking on the sidelines of the International AIDS Conference, Global Fund chief Michel Kazatchkine and UNAIDS head Peter Piot said that China and other fast-advancing economies could shoulder more of their own burdens in the future, freeing up resources for poorer countries.
“When we look at global targets, none of us believes that it will be 100 percent everywhere,” Mr. Kazatchkine told a group of reporters.
“But if you look at individual countries, and if you look at the percent that have achieved universal coverage or [will] be close to universal coverage, there may be much more than you may think of.”
The 2010 target, enshrined in a June 2006 UN General Assembly resolution and supported by the Group of Eight (G8) industrial nations, is emerging as a touchy political issue.
Three million poor people now have been able to grasp the drug lifeline, thanks to a big increase in the past two years, but this is still two-thirds short of the total in need and time is running out to meet the deadline.
As a result, activists have closely scrutinised the July G8 summit statement and last week’s UNAIDS report on the state of the pandemic.
Some see a weakening verbal commitment to 2010 and a dangerous slippage to 2015, which is also the goal date for the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal on reversing the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Mr. Piot, UNAIDS’ executive director, said, however, that the 2010 commitment has not changed.
“2010 is 18 months from now,” he noted. “What we’ve seen is that in a number of countries, they’ve already reached their universal access targets, others not.”
Some countries could achieve universal access in 2011 or 2012, in line with their national programmes, Mr. Piot’s spokesman explained.
33 million people around the world are infected with HIV, 90 percent of whom live in developing countries.
By some estimates, universal access will cost $54 billion (£27bn) per year in 2015 – and the bill will endure for decades, as the treatment is for the rest of one’s life.
Mr. Kazatchkine said he looked to the G8 countries, which account for 90 percent of contributions to the Global Fund, to meet their commitments.