I wish to comment on a few recent happenings in our country.
TOLERANCE AND SEXUAL PREFERENCE
We may be getting there (at a glacial pace it would seem) but as a society we have to fully embrace tolerance towards persons whose views, lifestyle, etc. we do not share and even abhor. In particular we have to be tolerant of othersʼ sexual preference. We may consider their sexual practices horrific but that is what they enjoy doing. Their practices do not in any way infringe on others enjoying what they consider as pleasurable.
I think its long overdue that we repeal our law against buggery. It does not matter whether we deem ourselves a Christian society with the Bible speaking out so forcefully against homosexual practices. A nationʼs laws should not be based on the holy book of any religion, but should be informed by the principle of individual rights. I thus unreservedly welcome the lawsuit filed by Javed Jaghai aimed at getting rid of our anti-sodomy law that dates back to 1864.
Jaghai wrote a very good piece recently on his Sons of St.Mary blog site. I cannot see the Courts not ruling in his favour. This may be a preferred method of getting the buggery law tossed out of our law books rather than relying on Prime Minister Simpson Millerʼs proposed conscience vote.
If I am not mistaken parliamentarians are to canvass views of their constituents prior to voting on whether to retain the buggery law. Imagine that – rights are to be determined by the present mindset of the majority.
Interestingly I am of the impression the Jamaican Forum of Lesbians All Sexuals and Gays (JFLAG) are approaching the proposed vote with some trepidation since if the present Parliament does not repeal the buggery law I suspect it will not be coming up for repeal anytime soon. I think JFLAG would rather have the vote delayed until they feel confident that there are enough votes among parliamentarians to ensure repeal. I wonder how certain obviously-gay and other known highly suspected gay MPs would vote? Jamaica may yet become tolerant of homosexuality.
I must express objection to proposed legislation that could ban songs glorifying guns and singers being imprisoned for up to 30 years. I do not support censorship in any form and more importantly is there any empirical evidence establishing a cause and effect relationship between music and our unacceptably high crime rate.
Crime in Jamaica has more to do more with a lack of respect for life, a subculture of intolerance, poor education, lack of economic freedom, inadequacies of the criminal justice system and the succor our politicians have provided to the criminal class over the years. I wonder if there will be legislation that could result in politicians facing prison time for attending the funeral of dons? Remember when at Willie Haggart’s funeral in 2001, three PNP cabinet ministers were in attendance, front and centre?
(Davies, Phillips and Blythe pictured at Willie Haggart’s funeral below in 2001)
I note that at the recent Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) inaugural Founders Day lecture to commemorate the partyʼs 70th anniversary, former Prime Minister the Most Honorable Edward Seaga, ON, lamented the sorry state of education in our country. But as horrific as it is with so many of our students graduating from high school functionally illiterate, I think what is holding back our country more sits with the better educated among us – the ones who have benefitted from attending higher education at universities. The problem is more with them. For example Edward Seaga a graduate of Harvard University, Michael Manley (London School of Economics), P. J. Patterson (University of the West Indies), Bruce Golding (University of the West Indies), Andrew Holness (University of the West Indies) have all led the nation.
Both Houses of Parliament have been over the years primarily populated by university graduates (there are presently two Rhodes Scholars), whose worldview is that of statism/collectivism and their interests have been more on the fortunes of their respective political parties than the common good. That’s the Tyranny of Faction at work. This has underpinned policy decisions and have resulted in our staggering national debt, the shambolic state of our hospitals (who can forget patients’ meal preparation with shovels at Bellevue) and courts, crumbling infrastructure etc. And one does not get the impression that short of say divine intervention, that things are going to improve anytime soon.
JAMAICAN ATHLETES AND DRUGS
It was just a matter of time. As expected, after Right From Yaad’s first essay with the first big news, a few more of our prominent athletes have been implicated in the use of performance enhancing drugs and sad to see – but not unexpected – many of our thought leaders appear to be running around like headless chickens. Including JAMPRO, stating that Brand Jamaica has been severely damaged. I guess it is more emotionally comfortable for the thought leaders to buy into the narrative that our athletes are clean. Think about this readers – our sprinters are not just winning, they are posting times (even surpassing) previously associated with drug cheats.
I do not have a problem with the average-Joe-fan believing that only angels represent us at the Olympics, but certainly one would have hoped that our journalists and commentators would be objective and not perpetuating the nonsense that the Jamaican athlete is so inherently naturally talented that he/she could not be cheating, and if they do return an adverse analytical result it must be that they have been set up or they ingested a product that did not tabulate all ingredients. Only a couple of commentators in the form of Messrs. Gordon Robinson and Orville Higgins have shown any inclination to acknowledge what the reality of professional athletics is really about.
It would seem that many Jamaicans are of the mindset that we lack the smarts to design drugs to evade the testers. However, I donʼt think you have to be a Lavoisier to so modify the chemical structure of a steroid that it is undetectable by present testing methods. Additionally we have here in Jamaica a number of sophisticated illegal substances requiring higher technical engineering and science (see guns, cocaine), produced elsewhere.
I did not watch the documentary profiling former Tivoli Gardens strongman and self-styled “President”, Christopher “Dudus” Coke recently aired on the Bio channel but I heard audio excerpts on Nationwide radio and I am being euphemistic in saying I was not impressed by comments made by Mr. Peter Bunting. His tone was more that of Comrade Peter Bunting, General Secretary of the Peoples’ National Party (PNP) rather then the Honorable Peter Bunting, Minister of National Security. Blog site – Slouching Towards Kingston – has ripped him into Bunting on his statements as well.
It was as if he was gloating that one from the other side had been caught. We all know that there is a pox not only on the house of the JLP but also that of the PNP. The hands of the PNP are certainly not clean. These are the type of duplicitous individuals we havemanning the stations. No wonder the country is in the rut it finds itsellf in , seemingly exerting much energy but doing not much more than running on the spot. There is a difference between motion and action.
Let me beg forgiveness for my failure at NOT including Gregory Isaacsʼ “Hot Stepper” in a previous article praising the Roots Radics band. This song is certainly one of Isaacsʼ best and the piano riff by ʻSteelieʼ Johnson must rank as one of the sweetest sounding introductions to a reggae song.