I am concerned as to the fallout with this departure though via an advisory referendum how will it affect the commonwealth and island developing states such as ours? Jamaica benefits from several grants over the years and in particular the LGBT component of it. The EU has a near full open borders policy and with the UK wishing via this referendum results wishes to remain insular or as an island empire it seems. The UK is not an easy ride in terms of asylum seeking for Caribbean LGBT applicants based on my over 15 years experience watching or providing information for support for some cases. We wait with baited breath to see what is next; what is clear is the intent of the Prime Minister to resign and rightfully so as he was the author of all this, despite going into this obviously unsure but seemingly misguided as to the feeling in the population. He like some other conservatives have concerns about their borders and the supposed boogieman of free loaders taking state resources and jobs despite the natives rejecting those very jobs that are seen as low paying.
There are too many uncertainties for me though; will other states as it now banded leave such as a Nexit in the form of the Netherlands or Frexit in the form of France. The sterling has been devaluing and speculation seems rife on trade and how that will be impacted by the leave EU referendum results. Do we need a Jamxit from CARICOM as recent issues have some uncomfortable and the tense relations with Trinidad. So much re-negotiations have to go into effect and what the Cotonou agreement which replaced the Lome convention now in place and ends in 2020 with the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific states if any changes will have to made is unsure. Some are asking if the relationship with the ACP countries is even relevant in today’s world. If the EU breaks up or loses more members will the grants still go to developing states and or trade or preferential treatment continue. What about what will DFID look like or constituted? What about the free movement of people/labour in so far as Schegen visas from the rest of the EU although one would also need a UK visa if entering from elsewhere? And of course there may be some opportunities if only for forward thinking and insight by some, but we are not known to have such virtues in abundance and if available not used with alacrity.
The immigration argument for to leave is a hypocritical stance in my view, the UK/England came to the Caribbean, colonized it and then took back not only ours and other small state wealth and even asked said countries to rebuild after the world war. Then the UK via the voters are upset and complaining about immigrants! The voters who stayed away must be up in arms in a sense now seeing the aftermath.
We need a free trade area of the commonwealth to include the fast rising India, maybe Africa and Australia possibly, we cannot continue to rely on spaces like the EU and what about the preferential treatment of bananas as sugar does not really get that anymore in large numbers. How will our bilateral relations change and the CARI-forum economic partnership agreements look like in the future. How can we position ourselves in the obvious interregnum that is to come as the withdrawal goes into effect? Will remittances get affected our immigration policy? There is talk of sports being impacted such as the Holy Grail football in terms of buying players and the associated costs.
Just days ago (June 20) we saw this development:
28 EU member states reach consensus on LGBT rights for first time, what will become of this?
Referenda is the way these days as only yesterday as well we saw Bermuda had their referendum on gay marriage with a no result and the Bahamas had theirs on three items to include an amendment to marriage where fear mongering religious voices pushed hard against to allow. I am sorry our Bermudan friends did not succeed as I had hoped but at least in the UK the Prime Minister recognized his outcome and saw himself as unfit to continue to in steering the country in the new direction away from the EU. We know full well that had this been Jamaica and it required a leader to walk away that would not be even considered. Probably the closest thing to some decency in that regard was when former Prime Minister Bruce ‘not in my cabinet’ Golding was effectively forced to leave office after the Manatt Phipps saga and the botched policy issues with an incursion in Tivoli with lives lost in the process. Instead we are or have allowed leaders over the years to play on us time and time again but the maturity of David Cameron should be noted. We have leaders instead who use homophobia to gain political capital in the form of former PM P. J. Patterson in 2002 where he despite his public persona being pigeon holed as gay on the down low by the Jamaica Labour Party in a near nasty election campaign he responded with a sleek campaign strategy employing murder music typed songs much to the support of an enthralled public including gays bizarrely.
When Norman Manley for example ran the referendum on Federation on September 19, 1961 he took a gamble and lost then he called an election to seek another mandate but only to loose; hence the near trepidation in Jamaica ever since on referenda.
Remember the suggested (seen as a promise for some) conscience vote in December 2011 with then opposition leader Portia Simpson Miller which has turned out to be a fluke and prior to the last elections on February 29, 2016 and flip flops by key Ministers, namely former Justice Minister Mark Golding who despite his supposed personal position on the buggery law is it should be amended was quite prepared to tell the nation and the world after the UN periodic review in 2015 that there would be no change to the law in parliament during the sexual offences bill review.
Minister Golding trying to manipulate anti-gay sentiments (Jamaica Observer Editorial) .....
Justice Minister (Golding) exploits homophobia to gain CCJ support
There has been some talk of a referendum on buggery and the Caribbean Court of Justice, CCJ as our final court to a lesser extent in months hence of the aforementioned Bahamas, Bermuda and now the UK referenda anti gay voices feel emboldened to push for a mostly buggery law referendum. The Bermuda referendum yesterday saw 69% of voters saying no to gay marriage and 63% saying no to civil unions which have some antigay groups rejoicing. The aforementioned mentioned Mark Golding was quite prepared to almost gay bait the Privy Council in order to give support to saying yes to the CCJ. Talk about integrity or the lack thereof and unwillingness to dispense of political capital on perceived politically explosive but urgent matters. Groups such as Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS, Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, LCF and Jamaica CAUSE have jumped on the announcement by present Prime Minister then opposition leader on a referendum on buggery which was also included in the JLP manifesto for 2016.
The opportunistic anti gay groups know full well that such a referendum in the face of a largely ignorant nation on sexuality as evidenced in the recent rainbow flag fiasco starring no less the chief legal adviser to the government (with no public reprimand by the PM) the Attorney General would be a full NO. Given the closeness of the seats in the house, the desperation being displayed by the opposition in light of the soon to be announced local government elections such a referendum may not come to light maybe for the CCJ. Such referenda may be seen as a reflection of the political climate instead of the actual item(s) on the ballot for consideration; hence maybe that might be the fly in the ointment causing a delay, as a party leader will have to consider how the administration and indeed the party will look like afterwards. Some political pundits say as we politicize nearly everything we do then such politicization can have an impact on the life of an administration one way or another.
We have hypocritical senators such as former Information Minister Sandrea Falconer claiming homosexuality is a sin but should not be criminalised and in principle she is entitled to that; similar sentiments were expressed in the house of lord in the lead up to the 1967 decriminalization of sodomy in the UK by no less a person than the Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey. Where Falconer fails to deliver is to say it when she was on the administration side before the election loss she has not expressed that so much during the last sexual offences bill review that includes the ‘buggery law’ neither has she moved a bill or private members motion to begin the legislative change discourse. Then we have a mayor of Kingston who claims she is concerned about homeless msm and transgender but is quite prepared to also tow the party/administration line despite her appearance at JFLAG’s Pride event in 2015 for a photo op had not moved a bill or private members motion to such effect. She went on to say recently she was issued threats after she said she is supportive but I am not impressed with her just spectator support when she and others have the powers to make the change or start the process legislatively.
Call me skeptical but I have always said that political parties have used the homo-negative climate for political gain; even during the expectant conscience vote period we saw PNP powerhouses coming out in opposition and Councillors openly defiant to the suggestion then by Portia Simpson Miller, the denial by the PNP that they were not going to repeal buggery as was misconstrued by some is one such defence in order not be seen as too gay friendly. Referenda can be used as a last resort in our scenario if the JLP with a fragile seat count advantage can play into the no buggery law change mantra out there. An administration who takes the chance and runs a conscience on buggery are almost guaranteed a no change in the results and will remind everyone that they are proven right and then be hailed as doing the right thing by antigay voices. I would NOT recommend any referendum on buggery; if not a referendum on the CCJ prior to such at least so as to acquaint the population as to what the experience would be like.
Peace & tolerance
also see previous posts from here and sister blog:
Opposition Leader sides with antigay groups on Referendum on The Buggery Law 2014
Promised (I mean suggested) Conscience vote on Buggery law not a priority right now 2014
PNP’s Bobby Pickersgill differs on Conscience Vote route to decide on Buggery Law 2013
Foreign Affairs Minister (Nicholson) says Govt should be cautious on gay rights issues in Jamaica
Golding, Buggery And The CCJ
and from the Jamaica Observer: God sent the rainbow sign (no more water the fire next time)