Wed | May 23, 2018

Respect our democratic process - Holness tells gay advocates overseas

Published:Thursday | April 19, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Holness

In an apparent push-back against pressures from some gay lobby groups and pro-gay countries that are frustrated by the slow pace at which Jamaica is moving to secure the rights of LGBT people, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has appealed for respect for the Jamaican people as the issues are ventilated in the society.

Holness continues to be lauded in certain quarters as he has stood firm on his pronouncement this week to journalists in Brussels that he would not discriminate against gay people. But his pronouncement has not stopped some groups from criticising the Government for still not doing enough.

"Ten years ago, there would have been a much harder line on the issue of homosexuality - particularly from a religious perspective - but I think over the last 10 years of conversation, the society is openly discussing the issue and views are changing," the prime minister said yesterday during a television interview in the United Kingdom, where he attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference.

He said that the current generation is changing and now has "a stronger view against discriminating against people".

Quizzed on whether he would like to see buggery decriminalised in Jamaica, Holness responded: "What I would like to see is the process being further opened to bring more people further into the discussion. My job as the prime minister is to ensure that the human rights of every single person in the country [are] protected and that the constitutional rights are guaranteed."

Underscoring the sensitivity of homosexuality and buggery in Jamaica, Holness has called for others to respect the process happening in the country surrounding the issues.

"Remember, it took the UK many years - centuries - to change your laws, and we are going through that process. We are in different stages," the prime minister said.

"I think there should be respect for the process that is taking place in Jamaica as a democratic society ... that believes in freedom and the protection of human rights," Holness added.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com