Mon | Feb 17, 2020

Vaz says constituents stand firm against homosexuality

Published:Friday | December 23, 2011 | 12:00 AM
A JLP supporter with a giant bell in St Mary on Wednesday night. - Photos by Gladstone Taylor/Photographer

Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer

With the issue of gay rights being moved to the centre of the election campaign, Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidate for West Portland, Daryl Vaz, on Wednesday night told a party mass rally in St Mary that his constituents have already told him to say no to the repealing of the buggery law.

Addressing thousands of Labourites in the seaside town of Annotto Bay, Vaz poured scorn on comments by People's National Party (PNP) President Portia Simpson Miller during the national leadership debate with JLP Leader Andrew Holness on Tuesday.

Simpson Miller, in her rebuttal to a question of whether homosexuals would be excluded from the Cabinet, said the issue was one of human rights, and her party would not reject anyone based on their sexual orientation. She said should the PNP be returned to power, Parliament would initiate discussion on the buggery law in Jamaica with a conscience vote on whether it should be repealed.

But Vaz claimed the people of his West Portland constituency had already spoken on the matter.

"We don't buy number two inna Cash Pot," said Vaz, in a reference to the popular game of chance in which the number two is used by some persons to refer to homosexuals.

According to Vaz, while he was willing to participate in any debate on gay rights, his response is a foregone conclusion.

"God made Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve," Vaz said as Labourites cheered and shouted anti-gay slurs.

The issue of homosexuality has been on the JLP election platform even before it was raised as a question in the debate Tuesday night.

In Gordon Town, St Andrew, last Sunday, JLP deputy leader and the party's candidate for Western Kingston, Desmond McKenzie, declared "fire bun", following strains from the popular dancehall song which has a line "dem a par inna chi chi man car".

Also, at a recent meeting in St Elizabeth, persons on the JLP platform made reference to their love for "boonoonoonus" women, a claim that sparked a backlash from women's groups.

Former JLP leader and then Prime Minister Bruce Golding had declared an in interview on the BBC that no gay men would be allowed to serve in his Cabinet.

On Tuesday, Holness, did not articulate a clear position when questioned on the issue but implied that he would not fly in the face of popular opinion opposed to gay rights.

In recent months, several countries, which are aid donors to Jamaica, have suggested that they might change their position if more was not done to protect the rights of homosexuals.