PNP: No election money from gay groups
THE Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) yesterday declared that it had not received any funding from any gay rights organisation locally or overseas, and dismissed such claims as propaganda generated by the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).
At the same time, PNP campaign director, Dr Peter Phillips, said the party had no discussion with or made any promise to anyone about reviewing the buggery law prior to the party’s president Portia Simpson Miller’s pledge during the national leadership debate to review the law if the PNP forms the next government.
Asked by the Observer yesterday if the PNP had financial backing from gay rights groups, Dr Phillips responded: “Absolutely no truth to that whatever. It is a figment of somebody’s imagination if not a total invention for cynical and nefarious purposes. I have been very much involved with the fund-raising of the People’s National Party and the funds have come universally from the private sector in Jamaica and from individuals supportive of the party, all of whom are reputable, high-standing businesspeople.”
Simpson Miller stated that she would support a review of the Buggery Act in responding to a question posed during the leadership debate between herself and Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
Her response has set off a firestorm of public debate, with JLP candidate Daryl Vaz questioning if the PNP has received money from the gay community.
Dr Phillips, in dismissing the claim yesterday, said the JLP was trying to twist Simpson Miller’s words to their political advantage.
“It is the kind of propaganda I have heard from Mr Vaz who I suspect in his overactive imagination he conjures up things from time to time. Let me repudiate it absolutely, completely, comprehensively and throw it out of the stadium,” he stated.
At a press conference, Dr Phillips defended Simpson Miller’s comments, reiterating that she indicated that the law would be reviewed, with the possibility of each member of Parliament taking a conscience vote on the matter after consultation with their constituents.
“She answered the question that she does not believe people should go about beating up people in Jamaica because of presumed sexual orientation and that we should be a more tolerant country in that regard”, Dr Phillips told the Observer.
“We have had no discussion with anybody representing any gay community, not from Jamaica, not from anywhere in the world. It is some people who have contrived upon an honest, sincere answer to go into the gutter because of their own political predilections.”