Dear Ms. Richards,
I write with regard to your column published in today’s edition of the Jamaica Gleaner under the caption “Jamaica's buggery law no violation of human rights, international obligations.”
It is incredibly disingenuous to cite an article written by Professor Vasicannie while he was serving as Jamaica’s Deputy Solicitor General, in support of your arguments. In his capacity as government employee he was bound to support a law which he personally may have found objectionable.
Be that as it may, the arguments you posited amount to a tortured interpretation of international human rights law as it relates to Jamaica's buggery law. It doesn’t take a “massive leap” of logic to conclude that our law would be violating a binding treaty we signed when a similar law was found to violate the exact same treaty.
And as you well know, the Jamaican government has effectively taken away the option of the HRC reviewing our law. If States are permitted willy-nilly to ignore the recommendations of international human rights bodies, what then is the point of being signatories to treaties that fall under the purview of these bodies?
If you are so confident about the validity of the anti-buggery law, why have you led the charge against re-enacting it in the Sexual Offences Act as well as preserving it from constitutional challenge under the Charter of Rights?
Finally, I understand you are a parent. Kindly tell me then if you are so committed to preserving the anti-buggery law that you would wish your adult child to be sentenced to 10 years at hard labour for engaging in consensual same-gender intimacy behind closed doors, as is currently provided for in the legislation?
Ms. Richards, I challenge you to a public debate on the validity of Jamaica’s anti-buggery law, at a mutually convenient time. The matter is certainly serious enough to warrant such public ventilation of the issues.
Former Human Rights Lecturer
University of Technology, Jamaica