It seems no rest for us in the struggle as another quarrel I am sure is about to occur, a call that has been made by anti gay groups namely The Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS and the longstanding Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, LCF to have a referendum on the buggery law instead of the conscience vote based on a suggestion made by the now PM in December 2011 during the leadership debate which turned into a promise as the administration was forced into addressing the matter by twisting the matter via public relational tactics to make it look like a commitment has been made by Andrew Holness; the anti gay groups and indeed the opposition party knowing fully well that it will play into the hands of an ignorant or uninformed population for the most part on sex and sexuality and the fearmongering on to do with homosexuality, a rising perception of a deceptive homosexual lobby locally and internationally and need to theocratise our political systems as it is about winning elections so all sides dither, it is obvious the ruling PNP is afraid of losing the next general elections and obviously will be a key matter for consideration then, Holness said in part while on his feet that “ ..... there is great uncertainty in the LGBT community and ordinary Jamaicans alike about your promise to review the buggery act, the issue is very sensitive of course but I know you will agree that more and more Jamaicans are generally discussing the matter; discussing the issue; and I think Mr Speaker to need to finally bring some certainty to it would be to put it to the people.” He also lumped the CCJ, the decriminalization of marijuana and the queen as head of sate but do so during the due local government elections sometime next year.
Bearing in mind that the Prime Minister’s presentation is due some time next week it would be interesting to hear her response if any on the specific matter of buggery.
What has bothered me since the news broke was that use of the word “repeal” by Mr Holness, other speakers and public commentators when the main lobbyists JFLAG had tried to make their call one of decriminalization instead of a repeal and an amendment to that act while separating bestiality with emphasis on consent and clarifying rape when said consent is absent but too little too late as far as I am concerned when it was suggested as far as 1998 the year of their inception when the original parliamentary submission by some of the working operatives JFLAG’s own management committee or some powerful voices therein refused to budge and now when it matters in as far as specifics there is a mismatch as to what the lobby actually wants. Sadly it took the J some thirteen years to finally see the inevitable but who is listening or paying attention when a repeal is still on the minds of the voices in opposition. I had since known that a repeal was not on the cards after the strident opposition from the LCF at the time in parliament in swaying the joint select committee and the subsequent Charter of Rights sessions as well based on the report that followed. If the perception that it is a full repeal that is on the cards when that too is an impossibility of sorts as it has been perceived as an open door by some child rights activists for paedophiles to run roughshod.
Bearing in mind that the Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has been hauled over the coals by some LGBT activists myself included since her postponement as it were of the buggery conscience vote (which now looks like a fluke) once again in recent weeks who expressed disappointment after they claimed they voted for her just for that purpose (it seems the economic reasons were not important) but I had thought that referendums were too expensive to do on both parties part as the fear was they are too political in their existence and may more reflect how the public feels about the party than about the specific issue being voted upon as was said by representatives on both sides. I had warned from very early in this conscience vote skipping rope that we (the lobbyists) need to be careful what we wish for or demand as conscience votes or even referendums can be used as political instruments for suring up hold on power as a wild card; while Mrs Simpson Miller had clarified her suggestion days after the leadership debate at a party function during the election campaign that she alone could not repeal buggery and given the opposition and uncertainty from within her own ranks as well I am not so sure that all hands are on deck with this buggery matter. Conscience votes can be used to silence any opposition one way or the other:
1) The PNP can run the conscience vote as a last resort and if it ends in the negative they can say the people have spoken especially to overseas rights groups and lobbyists
2) The PNP can delay the matter in order to satisfy the powerful church lobby who it is known sides with the PNP so as not to appear to pandering to the more strident gay lobby
3) The PNP if after the “No” vote to the conscience movement which is a private ballot can say they have saved children - The protection of vulnerable youth imperative The third ideological imperative functioning within popular homophobia/ heterosexism is that passionately directed towards the protection of vulnerable youth. Central to this is a concern that is almost entirely capacitated by the conﬂation of homosexuality and paedophilia, as exempliﬁed in Lloyd Lovindeer’s 1980 song ‘Don’t Ben Down’ for example, thus satisfying the fanatic minority who impute abusive motives as reasons to deny LGBT rights.
JLP has no position on buggery now?
So it would seem as in a shortened interview yesterday Andrew Holness on radio Jamaica’s Beyond the Headlines with host Dionne Jackson Miller when she asked him about the party’s position on the matter he dithered for several minutes in the exchange as if to suggest the Jamaica Labour Party, JLP has no position at this time; he kept saying the “repeal” of the buggery act. Dionne Jackson commented that it could not be a position where “I follow where all of you lead” to which Mr Holness responded “ .... that is not the case, the leadership that these are issues everyone in the public should have a say on it in other words if you were to extend that argument why have referendums?” however Mr Holness seems to have convenient amnesia here as the JLP is quite clear on the CCJ but as to the buggery issue they seem clouded. When asked whether that is a cowardly way of dealing with the matter he responded “I disagree with you that there should be no reference to the people .....” but the host reminded him that they are two different things and that the party can have a position whilst putting it to the people none the less.
Mr Holness has been accused of dithering before on buggery or homosexuality as it were during the furore after the leadership debate in December 2011 and a subsequent appearance on Television Jamaica’s Profile hosted by Ian Boyne at the time. His charges however have not been clear as to their position even using Bible thumping to make their points loudly. One member Daryl Vaz even went as far as to accuse the PNP of dancing to the tune of powerful gay or gay friendly organizations that allegedly funded to the party’s election campaign with the subsequent Time Magazine award of the 100 most influential icing on the cake as a reward. See: Vaz Says Constituents Stand Firm Against Homosexuality
also see: Opposition sides with Govt on No to same sex marriage (2009 post when the PNP was in opposition)
So I am not one to simply take her supposed inclusive public relations while there may be some truth to it in terms of gender non conforming persons on the team but the greater imperative of winning elections at the expense of passing on what is right is the nature of politics. MORE HERE
Peace and tolerance