LETTER OF THE DAY - Government dragging its feet on review of anti-gay laws
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The Government is being disingenuous (read: lying) when it raises the false choice between reviewing the archaic anti-sodomy law and addressing the economic challenges and high crime rate facing the country.
Your own Hospitality Jamaica magazine recently reported on the billions of dollars Jamaica is losing out on by not being part of the very lucrative gay tourism market. There is also a steady haemorrhaging of talented gay Jamaicans who could contribute to national development.
The anti-buggery law also contributes to our HIV epidemic, which some persons estimate will cost US$540 million per annum.
Additionally, the anti-buggery law contributes to our crime rate by criminalising what consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms! Furthermore, it gives licence to ordinary Jamaicans to engage in barbaric homophobic attacks, including the nine reported murders of gay Jamaicans this year, the brutal slaying of a straight man in Trelawny for 'harbouring' his allegedly gay stepson, and the savage beating of a young gay man by security guards at UTech on November 1.
The argument that the Government's legislative drafters are overwhelmed is also hogwash. The Government recently brought legislation to Parliament to repeal whipping prisoners with the cat-o'-nine-tails, an issue that has not been nearly as contentious as the reprehensible and invasive anti-sodomy law and which impacts free Jamaicans.
Furthermore, legislative drafting can be outsourced to other attorneys, as is done elsewhere. If the Government asked J-FLAG, I am sure they could find a few gay lawyers who would happily draft this repeal legislation for free.
It is reprehensible that the Jamaican Government will not come clean with the people and admit that it will not review the anti-sodomy law because it is simply cowering in fear of the churches.
Montego Bay, St James