When we accepted the invitation to give the keynote address at the sixth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference in New York, my advisors anticipated the likelihood of protests and heckling and prepared me well.
I recognise that heckling is protected by the First Amendment and I don’t have the automatic right to be free from all heckling.
Here is the real transcript of my response to the gay-rights protesters in New York:
“I have listened to you and I humbly ask that you now give me an opportunity to speak. Ladies and gentlemen, I must remind you of my response during the Leadership Debate in December 2011, when I was asked whether I would hire a homosexual.
At that time, I said that in selecting my team, I would not be concerned about the goings-on in their bedrooms.
Today I stand before you as someone who has not changed on that score. I have always believed in the dignity of all human beings.
We all deserve respect and human rights. I am inviting you to sit with me, work with me and let us talk so we can achieve more for those who are vulnerable. Shouting at each other will only delay the work that needs to be done on behalf of all in the gay community.
I respect your rights to protest and I ask you to take this a step further with me, so together we can do much more to stem violence and discrimination being faced by gays in Jamaica. Thank You.”
You see, Mr Editor, as the Prime Minister, there has to be a level of 'statesmanship' – diplomacy and decorum in speech, behaviour and body language.
I will not allow the uncouth behaviour of others to make me look less than polished, respectful and respectable in this, the highest elected office in our beautiful Jamaica. In New York, I chose to respond without asperity and float this experience like a lady.
The clause that had discrimination as an infraction then was also removed from the draft prior to this speech after successful lobbying by none other than the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship with support from none other than reverend Al Miller.
She said on October 20th 2009 - "Mr Speaker when we accepted the final report from the joint select committee that were looking at the bill we were completely satisfied with their recommendation of a provision to restrict marriage and like relationships to one man and one woman within Jamaica and that the provision should be specifically spelt out so that there could be no ambiguity ………. yes one man one woman (laughter in the house) and if you are Jamaican and go overseas the same applies ……….."
There has been descent from within the administration from a PNP Counselor where he made his feelings clear at a public meeting, speaking at a function in late 2013 Carlton Bailey PNP counsellor says there won’t be any support for such a move to remove or repeal the buggery law. He said:
More HERE Milk River PNP Councillor says no to buggery repeal ..............