Reactions continue to come in on the suggested referendum on buggery in Jamaica alongside the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana, the Caribbean Court of Justice, CCJ and the queen as head of state by the opposition leader Andrew Holness of the Jamaica Labour Party during the week in his budget debate presentation in parliament, speaking on That’s a Wrap on Sunday April 27, 2014 a NGO consultant said the matter was too sensitive an issue to be placed in a referendum and of course I am in total agreement as it can be used as a political football as obviously it is going to be yet again an election item.
Judy Wedderburn said “I think it’s too far a personal and sensitive an issue; I am not convinced that it will not become and used as a cheap political propaganda tool in anything called a referendum which is really going to be an election issue, um, it’s too personal and too sensitive; I believe too that there are lots of good reasons; sectors of our community who are religious and other kinds of regions are adamant that it shall not be changed and the extent to which they will go my understanding and my knowledge is that they are often very well funded and they will take that particular campaign perhaps in a direction that will do more harm than good; so I think we have to find a way to get the government to take the leave, I would prefer to see it go to the parliament on a conscience vote in which individuals of whichever side can choose to consult with their constituents or, which they should but in the end it is their conscience vote which they can make I imagine without publicly declaring which side they’re on; but I believe it’s far too sensitive and personal an issue to be put in a referendum.
Kavan Gayle of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union and member of the Jamaica Labour Party who was also a guest on the show hosted by Earl Moxam however said it’s a sensitive issue which can create too many distractions and we do not need these distractions at this time.
While I agree to in as far as the referendum being not a viable option at this time given where we are at as a nation with the issues surrounding homosexuality in general I have an issue with how Miss Wedderburn frames the conscience vote as although for the most part it is a secret ballot the religious voices who are vehemently opposed to homosexuality have insisted that if a conscience vote is used then it should be open and that they need to know who voted how which has left me most uncomforted; I thought the principle of voting overall was a private matter in as far as names are concerned and more so the count to see where the majority support lies. Furthermore the political sensitivities involved here continue to suggest that it is about winning elections in the final analysis; let us not forget the days of former Prime Minister P. J. Patterson despite rumours swirling over his head of his own sexual orientation and even open swipes at his character by some he played the “No Chi Chi man” card as well in two of his political campaigns when the infamous TOK song was used and he categorically denied that he was a homosexual to avoid public scrutiny I would imagine.
As the previous post outlines which detailed Mr Holness’s referendum suggestion Mrs Simpson Miller has a credibility issue in as far as her position on homosexuality is concerned and the suggested conscience vote owing to the fact that in October 20, 2009 she as opposition leader then sided with the ruling JLP on denying nay talk of gay marriage when no such rights were ever demanded by LGBT voices here in Jamaica.
Here is here piece:
also see: Opposition sides with Govt on No to same sex marriage (2009 post when the PNP was in opposition)
Dissent within the PNP has also occurred be they tacit or open as on Councillor made his position on behalf of his constituents quite clear recently while other more powerful voices in the party seem to be making light of their leader’s suggestion which is seen as an election promise, the talk show circuit has been abuzz for a short time in the days following the suggestion by Mr Holness as some persons have suggested they would go out and vote on it even though they have never participated in a general election before, some persons have gone as far as to tie in the Alpha Boys Home “sexual predatory” matter now in the public domain as made so by Youth Minister Lisa Hanna as gays trying to change boys into homosexuals so the referendum should go on so as to stop gays from taking over Jamaica.
But an old question I had posed immediately following the leadership debate in December 2011 when Mrs Simpson Miller made the suggested conscience vote is why suggest a conscience vote if one is not sure of winning it?
This vote on this sensitive matter can go against us I still fear as the PNP upon realising it will spend too much political capital on this and with all the best intentions in the world from “Sistah P” or Mama P may very well vote in the negative and then have as a defence that the people have spoken when challenged by the gay lobby, this is in keeping with pressure from foreign states with aid tied to rights and advocacy more than ever before whilst at the same time the economic cold war of sorts with China jostling for influence in this part of the world via the logistics hub investment and bearing in mind that their money does not come with such LGBT rights ties as prerequisites for future aid.
I would much prefer the matter be debated in full in the house, another parliamentary submission perhaps be made and this time no errors as the 1998 one had backed with evidenced based material including proper crisis incident reports (some of which I prepared and left in JFLAG’s archives) and the necessary motions be made in the houses of parliament.
We must not however forget the upcoming Supreme/Constitutional Court matter challenging the existing law by Javed Jaghai in November that too has implications for where the law may go following that ruling; whether there may be changes hence is a wait and see.
"Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller this afternoon said that she has sent one of her ministers to meet with members of the gay community.
Simpson Miller made the disclosure during a cross-talk with the Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Holness.
Holness, contributing to the 2014-2015 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, said there is uncertainty in the gay community as to whether she will honour her promise to review the buggery law.
He has called for the prime minister to have Jamaicans vote on the issue in a referendum, adding that it would be good to have the matter addressed during the Local Government election due next year.
"Let's decide and move forward as a nation," Holness said.
He also said the Government should have Jamaicans vote on whether to keep The Queen as the head of State."
Peace and tolerance