That's not how you stop it

Michael BURKE

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

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PROFESSOR Brendan Bain gave a professional opinion. He should not have been dismissed for that. His former position as head of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training (CHART) Network is separate from his personal position in one sense. In another, his private position is integrated with his work. In Bain's opinion, the best way to eradicate AIDS is to keep the buggery law just as it is.

But the AIDS programme is funded by overseas agencies that do not share the opinions of Bain. Had Bain not been fired then the money would stop coming in. Are we yet mature enough in this country to make a decision in favour of the right thing over and above funding, whether on a group or individual level? Is everyone prepared to live as simply as I do?

Norman Washington Manley once gave a professional opinion in a court case against Marcus Garvey. The elder Manley was asked if Garvey's seat on the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation Council (KSAC) should be vacated since Garvey had been to prison and spent more than three months and missed three meetings without an excuse.

As lawyer for the KSAC, Manley opined that Garvey's seat was vacant. The elder Manley was ostracised for this to this day, even by some of the very people who, like myself, believe that Bain had been treated unjustly. Unfortunately, not everyone can make the distinction between a professional opinion and a private position. And, of those who can make the distinction, some only do so when it suits them.

Homosexuality is a sin in the Roman Catholic Church, despite the fact that the media has done an excellent job in highlighting the paedophiles within, and has made the minority seem like the majority. So, I ask readers to Google article 2357 of the catechism of the Catholic Church, where it speaks to the sin of homosexuality and sums it up by stating emphatically that "under no circumstances can it be approved".

This does not mean that the individual who sins should be harmed or discriminated against. Nor are we to judge them. Some are against the decriminalisation of buggery because as they have showed statistically, the gays will then demand more, like wanting same-sex marriages. But that is like banning cars because some meet in accidents. The thing to do is to put legislation in place that forbids them from flaunting their lifestyle in public.

But the idea of hitting down doors to see what two or more persons are doing is wrong. It can mean that if the day comes that the majority are homosexuals then they might hit down the doors of straight persons which is the very point that Bruce Golding has made as recently as last Friday in The Gleaner. This he stated despite his 'not in my Cabinet' stance when he was prime minister

Furthermore, the more secrets that some police have for someone the more likely that they can be bribed to keep the matter a secret. I am not sure that all the possible opportunities for corruption by police can ever be eliminated, but we should abolish as many such opportunities as possible.

For example, I have argued for years that stiffer penalties for traffic offenders increase the number of bribes that corrupt police ask for. Illegal taxis or 'robots' do serve a purpose in that they get people to and from both work and school. Should grown men and women be forced to dodge police to support their children? Should they feel obliged to keep bribing police officers in order to survive?

For that matter, high excise duties on imported goods only lead to corruption. One former prime minister has been reputed to say to Customs officers that there is no need to raise their salaries because they know how to take care of themselves. If he said that to Customs officers what would he have said to the police?

Is it a policy of successive governments to allow for bribes by paid people of the State so that they do not have to pay them higher salaries? Is this a possible reason for not repealing the buggery law? Are Christian ethics being made into a cover for corruption? The mater of homosexuality in public ought to be addressed, but we are going about it the wrong way.

The law as it presently stands does far more to encourage homosexuality than if the buggery act were repealed for consenting adults in private. At present, it is legal in Jamaica for a man to attire himself like a woman and vice versa as long as a homosexual act does not take place. This law should change. It is not right for anyone to impose his or her erroneous values on innocent children. And there should also be a law against parents who cross-dress their children.

I was in a mountainous rural district earlier this month looking for a possible place for a bed and breakfast hotel that will be a part of a co-operative business. We got directions from some female constables at the police station for which we are grateful. But, on returning to Kingston, I wondered if there were only female cops there, as they were all we saw. Perhaps there were policemen there, but they were on patrol or something. But, even so, if one sees only women in a police station, is that the sort of message that you want to send to our you men, that women are there to protect men from harm instead of the other way around? And then we say that we are concerned that homosexuality is more prevalent today.

Eight years ago I create the song, Man fi look like man, and I thank Mutabaruka for the airplay that he has given it. If there are any others who have done so I thanks them also, but very few have taken the trouble to do so.

The point I am making here is that to curtail the flaunting of homosexuality in public places, we should start with the value system, on a visible level, not with what happens in bedrooms.




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