Letter of the Day | Simpson Miller didn't misspeak on gays
THE EDITOR, Sir:
In his column titled 'From the closet to my Cabinet?' (Sunday Gleaner, April 22, 2018), Orville Taylor accused former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller of responding "without the benefit of forethought" to the question of whether she would allow gays in her Cabinet. He also accused her of a "knee-jerk response" to the said question.
Typical Orville Taylor, he provides no evidence in support of his declarations intended to demean the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller.
To my certain knowledge, Mrs Simpson Miller, in December 2011, was engaged in preparation for the Leadership Debate against then Prime Minister Andrew Holness. During the debate preparation, Mrs Simpson Miller and her team anticipated likely questions that might have arisen. The comment of Bruce Golding, "Not in my Cabinet!", was one such anticipated question. Mrs Simpson Miller gave much thought to the answer.
When Dionne Jackson Miller asked her question and followed up with another question, Mrs Simpson Miller's response had the full "benefit of forethought". Her response was, therefore, not a "knee-jerk" one but expressed her own views and position on the issue after much thought was given to the subject.
Mrs Simpson Miller made it clear that she was not prepared to pry into anyone's bedroom in determining the composition of her Cabinet. She also promised that her Government would be prepared to allow a review of the law and allow parliamentarians to have a conscience vote, that is, one free from the party whip, on the issue.
It is public record that a review of the Offences Against the Person Act was started by a joint select committee of both Houses of Parliament, chaired by the then Minister of Justice, Senator Mark Golding. I was a member of that committee. The review of the act continues in Parliament under this Government.
Orville Taylor need not agree with Mrs Simpson Miller's answers, but certainly, they had the benefit of forethought. By winning 42 seats in Parliament, increasing her seat count from 28 after the debate, it seems to me that her response was far from knee-jerk.
I was there during the preparation and at the debate. The facts do not support the declarations of Orville Taylor. He is wrong again.