Jamaica Health Minister: Anti-gay laws must change for ‘greater good’

Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson says Jamaica must keep pace with international opinion and backs ‘buggery law’ review

Jamaica Health Minister: Anti-gay laws must change for ‘greater good’
04 December 2012

Jamaica’s Health Minister has indicated anti-gay laws in the country should change ‘for the greater good’ whatever people’s personal opinions.

Dr Fenton Ferguson particularly singled out comments by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller who said, during her election campaign a year ago, she would allow her politicians a free vote on scrapping the ‘buggery laws’ that criminalize gay sex on the Caribbean island.

Dane Lewis, director of the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), has previously told Gay Star News he is ‘hopeful’ legislation to remove the ‘buggery laws’ would be brought forward ‘in the life of this parliament’.

On human rights, Ferguson said Jamaicans had to keep pace with the rest of the world, despite traditional values.

He commented: ‘We can’t hide, we can’t dodge it. Whatever might be our past in terms of tradition, culture and views, the rest of the world is moving and the Caribbean must also move in relation to recognition of human rights issues.’

And he said Simpson Miller’s comments on pushing the decriminalization of gay sex had a positive impact worldwide.

‘For many it was almost a rescue statement in relation to Jamaica… where we are in terms of homophobia,’ he said.

‘Irrespective of what our personal opinion might be, I have my personal opinion, but I think for the greater good when you look at a situation we have to take decisions that will take us forwards in this present period.’

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