By Maurice Tomlinson
During his party’s conference last weekend, Prime Minister Andrew Holness condemned people in “foreign” who he claimed are trying to badmouth Jamaica.
But, as with his baseless attack on the press for simply doing its job, I want to remind the Prime Minister that, as a Christian, he should support those who seek and speak the truth.
Further, Prime Minister Holness needs look no further than the actions of his own government and members of his party that have brought international shame on our country, especially with regard to the treatment of LGBT Jamaicans.
Three recent examples will suffice.
Firstly, when the mayor and former mayor of Montego Bay, who both belong to the ruling Jamaica Labour Party, banned Montego Bay Pride from using the Cultural Centre, this undermined efforts by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Tourism to paint Jamaica as tolerant.
Ironically, the Jamaica Tourist Board had invited international tour operators that cater to the US$2 billion+ LGBT travel market to Jamaica to experience Pride. Instead what they witnessed was our homophobia.
Secondly, in the recent challenge to the country’s anti-sodomy law before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the government didn’t even bother to send a reply or defense. The government’s absence from the hearing showed to the international community how little the country cares about LGBT human rights.
Thirdly, the Attorney General (AG) Marlene Malahoo Forte embarrassed Jamaica when she condemned the United States Embassy for raising the rainbow flag on their compound after the terrible Orlando massacre, because, according to the AG that violated our laws.
However, when challenged by the US embassy to provide evidence of such a legal breach she could not. This was a major diplomatic and legal blunder by our AG and former junior foreign affairs minister.
Prime Minister, the fault is not in “foreign” or with the press. It is within your own party.
(Maurice Tomlinson is a lawyer and gay rights activist)