The Prime Minister Bruce Golding on his feet in parliament on Wednesday March 17th said that the Charter of Rights Bill that was debated on and the respected recommendations accepted may be delayed by six months. The Charter which is to replace section 3 of the constitution has been on and off the roster for over twenty years, Mr. Golding says he is disappointed the legislation has not been passed. The conscience vote taken on the death penalty has further delayed its passage.
Parliament is to be parouged shortly, the legislation and further amendments may be necessary the Prime Minister said and may require a further six months for debate between the houses and sides before final passage so it may not pass during this legislative year. The sticky issue of the death penalty is said to be the main issue that’s holding up the passage.
Let’s not forget that the GLTBQ issues were brushed over via an invented discussion on gay marriage and the government’s refusal to accede to such marriage request although no such requests were made. Of course as it turned out it was nothing more than a front by the administration to sure up their new small majority at the time as they had just came into office just over a year at the time of the debate. Also using the strength of the “Not in my Cabinet” comment made on The BBC Hard talk interview plus the outburst by the renegade Member of Parliament Ernie Smith making negative comments about gays who by the way he has now found himself being satirically questioned by public commentators as to his own sexuality.
You may find other related posts and selected parliamentary presentations on this blog and on Gay Jamaica Watch under the tabs Charter of Rights. Meanwhile the Sexual Offences Bill is also at a standstill (see tabs as well on Sexual Offences Bill) after it was debated in the upper house. In retrospect one wonders if the fast tracking of both pieces of legislation at the time were done to present an image of a government doing something about the “gay problem” chiefly the misconceptions about paedophilia as we know we have heard utterances to the effect that suggests that gay men in particular are interested in getting into boys pants. We now therefore have a Charter that doesn’t recognize GLTBQ people as worthwhile citizens of Jamaica and doesn’t see discrimination in relation to sexual orientation were wiped out from the original draft document at the behest of the Lawyers Christian Fellowship lead by Shirley Richards (Atty-At-Law) and a key religious homophobe Reverend Al Miller who in recent times has found himself embroiled in all kinds of political platforms the most recent being the United States request for Dudus Coke extradition issue where he became tongue tied in a war of words between those for and against honoring the request.
Readers please we must follow these issues closely as they relate to our rights as citizens and personal freedoms. Of note the Abortion Bill was mentioned in Parliament a week ago where it was stuck at the point of whether to allow abortion for rape victims who become pregnant and are at over twenty two weeks of gestation. This to me has implications for rape victims in general but lesbian, bisexual and those of other orientations rape victims in particular of which we have seen a dramatic increase since 2008 with one known case of “Corrective Rape” that went to trial where the culprit was found guilty and will serve a total of 29 years as he has previous charges he was on bail when he was apprehended. Notice the silence from JFLAG on these issues anyone?
The sensitivities involved here should be of concern as the police has not fully adjusted its customer service stance towards GLTBQ people. However the woman who testified in the above mentioned matter said she was treated fairly by the staff at the rape unit now named CISOCA Center for Investigation for Sexual Offences and Child Abuse. So there is hope yet as some improvements are evident. Maybe I am the only gay male blogger who really considers this issue towards our lesbian sisters an important one as we are all one despite our gender, where is the tolerance even amongst ourselves?
Think on these things.
Peace and tolerance