THE EDITOR, Sir:
I READ your rather detailed and eloquent editorial of the November 8, and wish to respond to same.
While some may argue that Mr Andrew Holness' ascendancy to the post of prime minister is new, I do not believe that this precludes him from being able to adequately address the issues of homosexuality and our antiquated buggery laws. However, having seen his interview with Ian Boyne on Television Jamaica's programme, Profile, it is evident that any view, or lack there of, that he may express on the subject will be dictated by political expediency.
In his effort to satisfy our bilateral and multilateral partners, the prime minister was quick to assert that he is a libertarian on the equality side, and that Jamaica must meet its human-rights obligations as mandated by the United Nations and the several conventions to which we are signatories. Mr Holness, however, dithered on the issue of repealing the buggery law in his attempt to appease the local electorate.
I would welcome, however, proof that Mr Holness himself cannot only make difficult decisions, but also give direct answers to difficult questions. In attempting to obfuscate the issues, he squandered a wonderful opportunity to let both the nation and our international partners know where he stands on the issue of homosexuality and our archaic buggery laws.
The prime minister cannot serve two masters, and whereas he was more cautious in his pronouncements than Mr Golding's intolerant rants on the British Broadcasting Corporation, he deliberately failed to answer the questions posited to him. One hallmark of a great leader is one willing to let his voice be heard above those of the masses, and not have it drowned out in the chorus. He should not be afraid to lead and have the rest of his Cabinet, political party and the nation, follow; even more so, as we prepare for an election and candidates will be tempted to use the issue to score political mileage.
Already, one member of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Mayor Charles Sinclair, has uttered anti-homosexual remarks as he pandered to scores of party supporters in Montego Bay on the weekend. He indicated that the People's National Party has committed to the principles of dialogue,education and tolerance in respect to "dem odda man" and "mi nuh inna it".
Rather than keeping his views on the topic to himself, he excited the crowd by his intolerance for the sake of scoring cheap political points. As prime minister and the designated leader of the the JLP, I anticipate Mr Holness' swift reaction to Mr Sinclair's remarks, which have presented a golden opportunity for Mr Holness to now display that he can in fact respond to difficult situations and truly lead by example.
My point of view
While I agree to a lesser extent the tone of this letter and the fact that the question posed to the Prime Minister on the television program "Profile" hosted by Ian Boyne
I still contend however this debate is or was too premature on the strength of a supposed threat by British Prime Minister David Cameron to withhold aid to Commonwealth countries that still have the buggery law on their books. Problem is he never named any but it was assumed it would be African states more so due to the upsurge in anti gay activity such as the Ugandan anti gay bill which we are told is supported by big conservative interests in the United States in a form of exportation of hate.
also see: Intersections of Church and State where the connections are shown in a documentary on the issue
I would have felt more comfortable in the resolve of our rebuttals that we knew definitively that we would loose such aid and precisely why as it goes to a vital rehabilitation project as we were told by the Minister of National Security Dwight Nelson, he said on Nationwide radio recently that the particular aid went to run programs in the correctional facilities and assisted deportees to blend into general society after returning home.
More here in audio from a story published by the Gleaner entitiled "Not Ready for Gays"
Also see more responses from the aforementioned persons and State Minister Miss Malahoo Forte on sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch Reactions continue to come in on the UK's stance on AID to anti gay laws hosting nations
Ironically a letter was published in the same letter today entitled
Certainly we have not heard the end of this matter.
UPDATE November 23 from GLBTQJA Wordpress
Minister confirms UK will redirect aid, not cut it, for human rights violation
Andrew Mitchell (photo) said the policy had been wrongly reported as a threat to cut aid