Wed | Dec 7, 2016

That big, fat, dirty, gay lie

Published:Wednesday | September 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Every Government must work to protect its people. It must offer protection to citizens within its borders and leverage its influence through the diplomatic channels to act as a shield to each and every citizen resident in a foreign land.

Every Government has a duty to offer unconditional, unbiased protection to citizens who come under persecution from their countrymen. In doing so, it will uphold the principles whereby the country exists not just for the enjoyment of a majority, but for the reasonable enjoyment of all, regardless of their proclivities. For those who can't express an opinion except by quoting others, I recommend a quick read of the life and works of Socrates. That exercise will reveal him positing arguments to support the points I've just raised.

A government must move decisively to protect its country against slander or innuendo that may smear the national reputation and upset the citizenry. It cannot allow the nation to be associated with certain despicable acts to the extent that these acts are used by foreigners to define, subjugate or belittle its people. So that's why the current PNP administration, especially Minister Peter Bunting and State Minister Julian Robinson, was so roundly praised for the alacrity which attended their interventions around the time law breakers were working to enshrine Jamaica as the lottery scam capital of the world.

Recall the various statements by both ministers and trips abroad to disabuse various interest and pressure groups of the notion that Jamaica was a nation of scammers. Recall also the concomitant development and passage of strong legislation that created a real tiger to bite those perpetrating the scam and acting in a manner ruinous to the country's reputation.

In the wake of that commendable course of events, it's my enduring distress to see Jamaica being painted as a country crawling with nefarious homophobes, armed to the teeth, waiting to kill and maim gays. Working in one of the leading newsrooms in this country provides me with almost weekly examples of persons claiming asylum in Britain, who tell the courts they are petrified of returning to Jamaica, as that would mean certain death because of what's depicted as the national pastime of killing gays.

Thirty-two-year-old Orashia Edwards recently lost his bid to remain in Britain, despite claiming he was a bisexual who faced certain death if sent back home to Jamaica. Edwards' mother told Britain's ITV, "What they [the British government and judges in the case] are doing is they are sending my son to die, and I will never forgive them for that."

Another Jamaican, named by the courts as JR, who stabbed a 15-year-old schoolboy to death in 2001, succeeded where Edwards failed in winning his battle against deportation by claiming he was gay. JR was ordered deported by a judge and told that his continued presence in the UK would be detrimental to citizens in that country.

But JR appealed that ruling on the grounds that he was gay and risked death if sent back home. The Court of Appeal agreed with him and granted him asylum based on the risks posed to his life, as a gay man, if sent back to Jamaica.

Late last month, a 55-year-old Jamaican, Alvin Brissett, the owner of a lengthy criminal rap sheet, was on his way to the airport to be deported when he told officers he was gay. He was allowed to press that claim in court and was granted asylum.

These cases show that our Government in Jamaica has serious ground to cover where the protection of persons from the gay community are concerned. What it also shows is the blind eye it has turned to the depiction of Jamaica as a country where being gay equals being dead.

This is a major stain on the country's reputation, as I am not aware of the Jamaica that those who play the gay card speak of when trying to avoid deportation from a foreign land. The claim represents a dirty lie being told about this country and the people living here. It's past time for those in government to tell the world that not a thing nuh go suh!

Selah.

George Davis is a journalist. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and george.s.davis@hotmail.com.