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Forstmayr backs gays’ right to use MoBay civic centre

Published:Thursday | October 17, 2019 | 12:11 AMAlbert Ferguson and Adrian Frater/Gleaner Writers


Gay-rights campaigners should be allowed to use the Montego Bay Cultural Centre says Josef Forstmayr, a popular western Jamaica hotelier and chairman of the group that has oversight of the St James civic building.

Forstmayr’s stance is at odds with the decision of Mayor Homer Davis’ decision to bar Montego Bay Pride from hosting a forum on gay marriage at the centre, which has embroiled the city’s chief municipal official in a legal spat.

In an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, Forstmayr revealed that this was the first time that the St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC), which owns the facility, had chosen to override any permission granted by the arts council.

“We have no problem renting the facility to any group or institution once they are willing to behave themselves, obey the rules of the rental agreement, and pay their money,” said Forstmayr, who is openly gay and operates Round Hill Hotel and Villas in Hanover.

Forstmayr, who migrated to Jamaica from Austria 40 years ago, denied that his own sexual orientation influenced his stance on the matter.

“No, I am not a member of Montego Bay Pride, and yes, I am a homosexual, but that’s not what defines me, and I am not here promoting homosexuality,” said Forstmayr.

Besides Davis and Forstmayr, the members of the Arts Council board are Lloyd B. Smith, Dr Jonathan Greenland, Bruce Grant, Sandra Bellinfantie, Gloria Henry, Andrea Scott, and Beverly Duncan.