THE EDITOR, Sir:
Reaction to British Prime Minister David Cameron's threat to withhold assistance from countries that fail to legalise homosexuality seems focused on whether or not existing buggery laws should be repealed.
This completely misses the critical issue, which is not whether Jamaica's buggery laws should be repealed, but rather should we allow any other country to impose its culture, values and lifestyle choices on us or dictate terms to us because we need aid.
Implications of giving in to such external arm-twisting are far-reaching and go beyond concerns of national pride and independence, important though those are. It severely curtails our ability to adopt policies or take decisions that Jamaicans consider best in the context of local circumstances and use of available resources, as well as what is acceptable, based on our culture, values and lifestyles.
Conceding to this threat can lead to demands to abolish the death penalty; conform to European standards regarding prison facilities/care; or other such idiosyncrasies. The need to improve conditions in prisons is conceded, but this cannot be merely to conform to standards in affluent countries, but rather must consider local factors, e.g., improving education, health care; or striking a proper balance between what is spent on offenders as against provisions to support youth who have not ran afoul of the law.
Skewed view of democracy
Cameron's threat says much about his and the Western world's concept of democracy. Clearly, in their view, only the peoples of the Western world have rights to democratic choice. The only democratic right possessed by other people is to conform to or agree with the dictates imposed by Western countries. How else could he, with great moral rectitude, consider it appropriate to impose his dictates on other countries, irrespective of the views or the consent of the peoples of those countries?
I personally have a very strong aversion to homosexuality. Nonetheless, I do not support criminalising the actions of consenting adults in privacy or subjecting individual homosexuals to personal hostility and discrimination, or allowing this factor to affect personal relationships.
However, I strongly oppose efforts to sanctify this lifestyle, by asserting its moral acceptability.