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EDITORIAL - Vulgar 'fire bun' rhetoric

Published:Sunday | December 25, 2011 | 12:00 AM

  • EDITORIAL - Vulgar 'fire bun' rhetoric

Mr Clive Mullings will probably declare us to be unfamiliar with the stress of the hustings, especially in a tight election race. So, he might be forgiven for the slightly ridiculous figure he cut last Thursday, clutching Bible and preaching fire and brimstone on gays and those who would argue in favour of a review, or repeal, of the buggery law.

The energy minister remains an intelligent and capable man with much to offer in politics and government, should his side win this week's general election.

Nonetheless, much of what has transpired in recent days on Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) campaign platforms with regard to gay rights is not only sad, but dangerous. Some might add cynical and vulgar.

The worst of it has come from Mr Daryl Vaz, the efficiency minister, and Mr Desmond McKenzie, the mayor of Kingston, at the party's rally in Portland last Wednesday night.

To the backdrop of songs widely considered to be anti-gay, Mr McKenzie called "fire bun", in this context an epithet that is hurled at gays.

And Mr Vaz declared that people in his West Portland constituency didn't buy "number two inna Cash Pot", which references a popular lottery game, but whose metaphoric meaning is clear to anyone who potty-trained a child.

Portia's courageous declaration

The trigger for this new onslaught of anti-gay diatribe from the JLP was the courageous declaration by the president of the People's National Party (PNP), Mrs Portia Simpson Miller, that sexual orientation would not be a determinant in who was selected for membership of a Cabinet she led. She wouldn't ask.

She also pledged that should the PNP form the Government, she would allow a conscience vote, where MPs, after consultation with constituents, would not be subject to the parliamentary whip, on a vote regarding the fate of the buggery law.

That Prime Minister Andrew Holness waffled on the matter, preferring to dodge behind popular Jamaican sentiment, is one thing. The tone of his party's subsequent campaign is another.

It has gone beyond making a coherent philosophical or even religious fundamentalist argument against a gay lifestyle to a kind of mindless homophobia that belittles the quality of the discourse in which the parties had hitherto engaged. Indeed, the JLP runs the risk, if not direct incitement, of creating an environment in which misguided persons may feel it to be open season on gays.

While Mr Holness may not declare a willingness to have gays in his Cabinet, we are surprised that he would tolerate what has spewed from his party's platforms. It is, to say the least, not the image of tolerance, inclusiveness and intellectual rigour he has sought to fashion for himself.

  • The message of Christmas

Christian Jamaicans, like more than a billion others across the world, are today celebrating Christmas, which marks the birth of Jesus Christ, when the Son of God was revealed as man.

Many may argue that commercialism has largely overwhelmed the religious aspect of Christmas, diluting its message of a life created for the purpose of redemption.

Those concerns notwithstanding, the fundamental message of Christmas remains intact, transcending Christianity and religion, more broadly.

For in the act of giving and sharing and the embrace of family and friends during this period, we acknowledge our common humanity and the possibility of better. That was God's message.

The opinions on this page, except for the above, do not necessarily reflect the views of The Gleaner. To respond to a Gleaner editorial, email us: or fax: 922-6223. Responses should be no longer than 400 words. Not all responses will be published.