Promised buggery review put on back-burner
BY INGRID BROWN Associate editor — special assignment firstname.lastname@example.org
THE People's National Party's (PNP's) pre-election promise to review Jamaica's buggery law has taken a back seat to the passage of more pressing legislation in the Houses of Parliament.
Minister with responsibility for information Senator Sandrea Falconer said the issue is not yet on the table as the Government is seeking to prioritise other pieces of legislation which must be passed this year.
While noting that Cabinet considered the issue briefly, the senator said she was not at liberty at this time to say what the thinking of her colleagues was.
"We fast-tracked things like the Evidence Act so that we can deal with issues that have been of concern to the vast majority of Jamaicans," Falconer told journalists at the weekly Jamaica House press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kingston, yesterday.
She added: "Not that the buggery law is not of concern to a segment of the population, but the issues like crime and the economy, we decided, we were going to give those priority in terms of the legislation that we pass this year."
Government, the minister said, has to prioritise, based on what is on its plate. "The economy is certainly one of the main priorities of the government, and dealing with crime is another priority," she said.
In a debate leading up to the December 2011 general election, PNP President and Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (who was then the Opposition leader), in responding to a question on the buggery law, said she would ask that members of parliament have discussions with their constituents and based on feedback they would have a conscience vote in parliament on the matter.
Several interest groups have been calling on the Government recently to make good on its promise to review the buggery laws with the latest being a protest by a group of gay Jamaicans outside the Jamaica Consulate in New York, United States on Monday.