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Small group holds silent protest on Mona Road

Published:Friday | April 10, 2015 | 12:00 AMDaviot Kelly
Daniel Thomas, founder of the Love March Movement, participates in a protest led by the Jamaica Coalition for Healthy Society along Mona Road in St Andrew, hours before United States President Barack Obama was scheduled to pass by on his way to the University of the West Indies yesterday.

They came dressed in black, not to welcome United States (US) President Barack Obama, but to say they were unhappy with him.

The small group held its silent protest along Mona Road yesterday, even as others were waiting to see Obama head to the University of the West Indies.

They were concerned at what they perceive as an advancing of what they consider immoral ideologies by the US president. All the members wore black t-shirts, with varying messages. Some said, "No to US buggery export" while others had names of US citizens who were either fired from their jobs or otherwise reprimanded for statements made against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

"Many Christians have faced the loss of their freedom of religion, freedom of speech and conscience," said Daniel Thomas, founder of the Love March Movement.

He said the Obama administration had appointed a US envoy for LGBT rights in February, a move they see as an attempt to advance LGBT rights across the world, including Jamaica.


Sovereign rights


"So we decided that we had to take this opportunity to stand with these two facts in mind, as well as the knowledge that Mr President is going to speak with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller on LGBT rights," he said. "We know it's important to stand for what we believe in and we want Mr President to respect our democratic right to sovereignty of Jamaica and the right of our people to make these decisions."

Dr Wayne West, of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, said the group "was mourning poor thinking in public policy".

"People believe they can just reject design in the universe and call things normal that are abnormal. But the consequences are there," he said. "One of the things that we want to show to our CARICOM leaders is that we don't have to follow a path that is illogical."

West noted that, in New York, HIV among men who have sex with men is as high as 64 per cent.

"Now, if 64 per cent of persons were going to get diabetes, the Ministry of Health would say 'No, stop what you are doing and rethink," he said.

When asked how much of an impact their protest would have, West said that would be determined by the American people because Obama is acting on their behalf.

"A number of groups in the United States have asked him to advance this agenda on us," he said. "So we think it is important that we respond and that we speak to our CARICOM leaders and tell them, 'Listen, these are the facts. Follow the science, not the ideology ... and hold the line.'"