Dane Lewis Executive Director of the J told CVM TV that he expected the issues to begin to placed on the table within 100 days, "To be realistic we would imagine within the first 100 days the issue could be raised we can look at how to proceed," Mr Lewis said while JFLAG is not expecting a conscience vote to repeal the buggery law within the first 100 days discussions are important as Jamaica has a 2012 deadline to meet according to the international covenant on human rights, “….one of the leading recommendations made in November last year was that Jamaica should report by 2012 on what concrete steps to removal of discriminatory laws,” Mr Lewis said.
According to Mr. Lewis JFLAG is willing to make small steps in acquiring legal recognition for homosexuals he says although gay marriage is legalized overseas JFLAG is not pursuing that as part of its lobby at this time, "gay marriage is certainly not an item on our agenda, we still have a large issue of discrimination …. people are being evicted from their homes, people are being physically abused because of their sexual orientation and we want to begin to address those issues."
He acknowledges that the discussion of gay rights will be met with strong public opposition however he says as was demonstrated by Mrs Simpson Miller we should be strident in dealing with issues impeding human rights, a solution to the issues concerning gay rights will help to deal with HIV/AIDS.
Rev Dailey also reminded us of the former Senator Oswald Harding's position in 2004 on the buggery law repeal suggestion.Here is Mrs. Simpson Miller in a subsequent outdoor political campaign meeting defending her comment
Portia Simpson Miller - SIMPSON MILLER DEFENDS GAY COMMENT 23.12.11 by glbtqja4
We must not forget the presence of some anti gay figures in the PNP who are still in the structure that of former Attorney General A. J Nicholson who supported nearly every anti gay move during his years including the tumultuous years of the Sexual Offences Bill Debates, the Charter of Rights struggles and his open castigation of gay marriage, even Portia Simpson Miller herself sided with Bruce Golding on the no to gay marriage smoke screen after digging my archives I found the presentation by Mrs Simpson Miller in 2009 (poor audio though) where she sided wholeheartedly with the then Prime Minster Bruce Golding (his speech linked) on the banning of gay marriage, gay marriage rights by the way was never asked for by the LGBT advocacy structure but it was dishonestly pushed on the agenda during the Charter of Rights debate then as a smoke screen to deny us recognition in the Charter. The same document that clearly defines marriage between a man and a woman, it also does not protect persons from discrimination due to sexual orientation but only on the grounds of ones biological form.
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 ..........."
Has her position changed so radically? ........ Interesting times lie ahead people.
Peace and tolerance
UPDATE Jan 13, 2012
Meanwhile JFLAG tries to clear up the ultimatum versus request mess on the 100 day issue with the PM and the buggery review via yet another press release:
Kingston — January 12, 2012
The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) wishes to clarify that the organisation has NOTgiven the government an ultimatum.
On January 3, 2012, CVM TV contacted the organisation for a comment on its expectations of the new administration following the Peoples National Party’s (PNP) win in the General Elections. This was in the context of the bold pronouncements the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller had made during the leadership debate. NewsWatch reported, J-FLAG’s Executive Director, Dane Lewis as saying “To be realistic, I imagine within the first hundred days at least the issue could be raised, with a look at how to proceed.”
However, many have misinterpreted this statement of expectation as an ultimatum. Mr Lewis also highlighted that Jamaica is required by the end of 2012 to report to the UN Human Rights Committee reviewing Jamaica’s status under the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights “on what concrete steps it’s [Jamaica] making towards removal of discriminatory laws”. It is within this context that the comment was made. J-FLAG wishes to reiterate that it has not issued an ultimatum but offered a comment on what could be done by the Government within the first hundred (100) days to demonstrate its recognition of the broad human rights concerns that affect all Jamaicans. This is a common strategy which has been used by many other organisations in civil society and private sector.
Like all Jamaicans, J-FLAG remains committed to the human social and economic development of Jamaica. In so doing, J-FLAG will continue to defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jamaicans from discrimination, harassment and violence.
As I hinted in a previous post on my sister blog GLBTQJA on Wordpress mistakes such as granting a telephone interview (sans any consultations with the community I might add) to the media in a "hot environment" when homosexuality or related matters are in the public domain is a no no, all the J should have done was waited and not mention anything at all to do with any time line in any way, shape or form now for it to be misrepresented as an ultimatum. We have had previous misconceptions before of JFLAG's position by media and one would have thought that as a former media participant himself the Executive Director of JFLAG Mr. Lewis would have known the ins and outs of local media with regards to hot button issues such as this. The San Francisco boycott some years ago and the suggested EGALE tourism boycott as well are prime examples of learning curves for the group and speaking just a little too much but when it's time to speak there is silence. How many mistakes are there to be made before it is perfected? one never knows.