Jamaica PM says no to room for gays in his Cabinet
KINGSTON, Jamaica, May 21, 2008 – Jamaica’s Prime Minister Bruce Golding is standing by his decision not to make any room for gays in his Cabinet and insisted that his country would not bow to international pressure for the recognition of gay rights.
“A Prime Minister must decide what he feels would represent to the Jamaican people, a Cabinet of ministers who would be able to discharge their functions without fear, without favour and without intimidation. That’s a choice that I had and I made that choice," Golding said on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) ‘Hard Talk’ television programme aired on Tuesday.
“Jamaica is not going to allow values to be imposed on it from outside,” he added.
“We're going to have to determine that ourselves and we're going to have to determine to what extent those values will adapt over time to change, to changing perceptions and to changing understandings as to how people live, but it can't be on the basis that lobby groups, far away from Jamaica, are going to start to define for Jamaica how it must establish its own standards and its own morals.”
At the same time the Jamaican leader made it clear that the State respects the right of homosexuals to privacy and suggested that despite the country’s long-standing culture that is very opposed to homosexuality, there is greater acceptance now that people have different lifestyles and their privacy must therefore be respected.
He said that the authorities were also very clear that those who commit crimes against persons because of their sexual orientation must be pursued with the same vigour as any other perpetrator of crime.
Mr Golding is in Britain on a six-day tour of Jamaican communities there.
He met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Tuesday, a day after his arrival.
According to a statement from Brown’s office, the two leaders discussed a wide range of issues including reform of the international institutions, the impact of food and oil prices, debt issues in middle income countries, the need for a properly observed Zimbabwean election and prisoner returns from the United Kingdom to Jamaica.
Their talks follow on from their meeting during the Commonwealth summit in Uganda last year.