Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Malahoo Forte a disgrace to law, decency

Published:Wednesday | June 15, 2016 | 6:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I was shocked to read that our attorney general, Marlene Malahoo Forte, QC, tweeted that the US Embassy's flying of the rainbow flag as a show of sympathy for the 49 victims of the tragic Orlando shooting was "disrespectful of our laws".

Gays and lesbians lost their lives and 53 more were injured in the biggest single incident of gun violence in recorded US history. Therefore, the American Embassy exercised its right under well-established international law to fly its own and the rainbow flags on its sovereign territory. And while male same-sex intimacy is criminalised in Jamaica, being gay is not. At the same time, lesbian sex is perfectly legal.

So, I would expect that if Jamaican homosexuals were similarly massacred, our own government would seek to honour their deaths. Jamaican law has always prohibited murder, and there has never been an exception for gay and lesbian victims.

Finally, the Jamaican Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression of anyone IN Jamaica, not just citizens. Flying any flag is a form of expression guaranteed under our Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.

In one tweet, our attorney general has revealed her deep-seated homophobia and ignorance of international, constitutional, and criminal law. This is shameful, insensitive and sad. She owes all the mourning families in Orlando, the United States government, the legal profession, and indeed all Jamaicans an apology for this national and international embarrassment. She attempted to make an international incident out of a nation's pain. That is simply disgraceful.

MAURICE TOMLINSON

maurice_tomlinson@yahoo.com

Montego Bay, St James