It's becoming more globally known how unaccepted homosexuality is in Jamaica, and the topic is a very touchy one for the country's leaders to discuss. However, during the recent election debates between the Jamaica Labor Party and the Peoples National Party, a question was posed on how the current Prime Minister and the Opposition leader intends on dealing with homosexuality in politics. Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding made it quite clear during his reign that "homosexuals are not welcomed" in his cabinet and people are wondering if the current leader shares the same belief.
In my opinion, Prime Minister Andrew Holness seemed to have dodged the question when asked if he intended to live up to the former leader’s decision. He stated “as leader of the country I have to respect everybody’s opinion and make sure that the institution of freedom are well in placed so that the debate can continue.” Not exactly a clear answer but by him sugarcoating everything that came from his mouth it became clear to me that he in fact agrees with the former leader of his political party, JLP.
On the other hand, opposition leader, Portia Simpson-Miller, made it clear that she accepts individuals in her cabinet based on their capacity and ability to do the work, not based on their sexual orientation.
She states “…but for me, I do not support the position of the former prime minister because people should be appointed to positions based on their ability to manage…”
The question was asked again to Prime Minister Holness on whether he agrees with the former leader or not because clearly he did not answer before. And interestingly enough, he didn’t quite make it clear the second time either:
“My sentiments reflect the sentiments of the country. The Prime Minister has a discretion, but that discretion cannot be exercised in a vacuum.”
But wait a minute. Doesn’t the ‘sentiments of the country‘ at this time means homosexuality is not welcomed in the Jamaican society. So, does that mean he agrees with that as well? I’m confused a bit by your encrypted answers Mr. Holness.
Watch the video below to see their segment on homosexuality in politics:
Mrs. Simpson-Miller as somewhat created a shock wave across the island with her answers of equality for all. Some are now saying that if anyone decides to vote for the Peoples National Party, then you are considered to be voting for homosexuality in Jamaica. While others are saying this is just an attempt by the opposition leader at getting votes from all corners.
In my opinion, the Prime Minister is trying hard to please everybody. Hence, not giving us a more concise answer. I’m still a bit torn on what Miller is doing but it is clear that she’s hurting her party by making such remarks about accepting gays in a society that is strongly against it. In conclusion, it’s all about choosing your words carefully.