Wed | Mar 21, 2018

Don't put human rights to referenda

Published:Saturday | March 4, 2017 | 12:00 AM


I saw in The Gleaner where Prime Minister Andrew Holness stated that when the time is right, the buggery law referendum will be placed on the table. He was speaking in the context of his election campaign promises and his first 100 days in office.

Personally, I think having a referendum on this particular topic is absurd and ridiculous, a waste of time, and a waste of money. What will such referendum prove, knowing that most Jamaicans react emotionally and impulsively to any topic about gays?

If the PM is against LGBT human rights, he should be man enough to say so and not waste people's time. At least we will know where he stands.

Putting a human-rights topic to the masses through a referendum, when we already know how the masses will vote, seems bizarre and points to weak leadership of the Government. This may well be the first country to ever vote on LGBT rights using a public referendum yes-no vote!

We will be the laughing stock of the rest of the world. Many advanced countries settled these issues decades ago, and here we are in 2017 suggesting a referendum?




Many Jamaican voters aren't well educated or experienced enough on human-rights issues such as this to discuss them rationally, much less vote on them. This is why we elect political representatives, to debate issues intelligently, seek legal counsel, and make decisions (sometimes unpopular) through a process of consultation, information and education.

The media also have a role in the debate.

Political representatives ought to do the right thing and stop referring issues such as those affecting human rights of its citizens to a public referendum.