At the same time, PNP campaign director, Dr Peter Phillips, said the party had no discussion with or made any promise to anyone about reviewing the buggery law prior to the party's president Portia Simpson Miller's pledge during the national leadership debate to review the law if the PNP forms the next government
Asked by the Observer yesterday if the PNP had financial backing from gay rights groups, Dr Phillips responded: "Absolutely no truth to that whatever. It is a figment of somebody's imagination if not a total invention for cynical and nefarious purposes. I have been very much involved with the fund-raising of the People's National Party and the funds have come universally from the private sector in Jamaica and from individuals supportive of the party, all of whom are reputable, high-standing businesspeople."
Simpson Miller stated that she would support a review of the Buggery Act in responding to a question posed during the leadership debate between herself and Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
Her response has set off a firestorm of public debate, with JLP candidate Daryl Vaz questioning if the PNP has received money from the gay community.
Dr Phillips, in dismissing the claim yesterday, said the JLP was trying to twist Simpson Miller's words to their political advantage.
"It is the kind of propaganda I have heard from Mr Vaz who I suspect in his overactive imagination he conjures up things from time to time. Let me repudiate it absolutely, completely, comprehensively and throw it out of the stadium," he stated.
At a press conference, Dr Phillips defended Simpson Miller's comments, reiterating that she indicated that the law would be reviewed, with the possibility of each member of Parliament taking a conscience vote on the matter after consultation with their constituents.
"She answered the question that she does not believe people should go about beating up people in Jamaica because of presumed sexual orientation and that we should be a more tolerant country in that regard", Dr Phillips told the Observer.
"We have had no discussion with anybody representing any gay community, not from Jamaica, not from anywhere in the world. It is some people who have contrived upon an honest, sincere answer to go into the gutter because of their own political predilections."
DARYL Vaz is challenging the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) to state whether it has received funding from the international gay community, and what, if any, commitments were given in exchange for that funding.
Vaz, the treasurer for the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), said it was obvious that both parties had managed to get funding for their election campaigns based on their activities.
But suggesting that PNP president Portia Simpson Miller had injected a new dimension — homosexuality — into the campaign, Vaz said his team was trying to ascertain whether there was any truth to claims that the PNP had received money from the international gay community.
"We would like to know if this is true; and more importantly, what commitments the PNP has made in exchange for that funding, because we know that is how it works" he said.
Simpson Miller, answering a question in last Tuesday's political debate with Prime Minister Andrew Holness, said a PNP Government would review the buggery law and allow members of parliament to vote their conscience on the matter.
"We are not happy about the opposition leader introducing the issue of homosexuality into the campaign and we are wondering how deep it goes and how much involved the international gay community is with the PNP. We have been hearing of the interest that that community has taken in our elections since her pronouncement," said Vaz. "It is the first time that we have seen such strong interest from the gay community in any Jamaican election," he added, reiterating that his West Portland constituents had already made it clear that "God had made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve".
Meantime, Vaz conceded that the election appears to be a close race, but said he was now "extremely confident" that the JLP would win between 34 and 38 seats, based on all the indicators and a conservative analysis of the constituencies that were regarded as battleground seats.
He said the public opinion polls were very confusing because they were giving contradictory results. However, they were showing that the undecided voters were in favour of the JLP, raising the strong possibility that the party could get more than 38 seats.
"Both parties have energised their base, resulting in a close contest. So it is the undecided who will decide the outcome of this election," said Vaz. "They are in favour of the JLP because they have faith in our new, young leader. He will get the votes of the young as well, based on the successes of the Government in stabilising the country and setting it on a path to growth."
Vaz said that a clear indication of the tight race was the fact that PNP campaign director, Dr Peter Phillips, was leading a motorcade on Christmas Eve through East Portland, long regarded as a safe PNP seat, and despite the fact that the party leader and former leader, PJ Patterson had been there the week before.