Time to include LGBTs - Fabi
Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Sylvain Fabi is urging Jamaicans to be on the right side of history by advancing inclusiveness towards the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Speaking with The Sunday Gleaner following a courtesy call on the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry last week, Fabi, whose tour of duty began in September 2015, said that the Canadian Government continues to support human-rights activities in the island, including efforts of the LGBT community.
"We are doing activities with the LGBT group here in Jamaica and these are issues we have raised from time to time, in our private conversations with the local government," said Fabi.
He suggested that history will be the judge of Jamaica's stance on the LGBT issue, while calling for "inclusiveness, not just for sexual orientation, but of all races, gender and age".
JA UNDER PRESSURE
Jamaica has faced mounting pressure from local and international lobby groups to repeal laws believed to be infringing on the rights of vulnerable groups, including members of the LGBT community, and Prime Minister Andrew Holness has promised that this is one of the issues Jamaicans will be asked to decide on with an indicative referendum.
The top Canadian representative in the country argued that there is a trend worldwide towards acceptance and tolerance and opined that adversity and challenge on these issues will not last.
"Despite what you see in some countries of the world lately, I think there has been a historical movement towards more openness, more acceptance, (and) more tolerance, and I don't think it is going to stop ... it will have some bumps, but it's not going to stop."
Fabi, who spent several days in the tourist city meeting with key stakeholders, including outsourcing and tourism interests, had high praise for Jamaica as a tourist destination, but believes more Canadians would vacation in the island if the offering was more diverse.
"I think Canadians like the product, (but) Jamaica needs to diversify outside of all-inclusive.
"All-inclusive is good and there will always be persons who prefer that kind of tourism, but other visitors would want another kind of tourism which involves a little of the outside of their hotel, cultural, culinary and musical ... and that would mean more visitors to Jamaica," said Fabi.