02 August 2008

Emancipendence fartit ... er, platitudes

We must hasten to ensure that every Jamaican, while fully respecting the needs of others, will not be impeded in the enjoyment of those inalienable rights and freedoms. In order to do this, we must urgently conclude the new Charter of Rights and Freedoms which provides a wider and more effective protection of those rights and freedoms to which every Jamaican is entitled.
- Governor-General Professor Kenneth Hall
When individuals and communities are forced to live in fear, their condition is not much different from what was experienced under the slave masters ... When we sow seeds of disunity and set one against the other, we are employing the same tactics used in slavery. When we disrespect each other, we are behaving just like the slave master who disrespected us ... Being a free people means that we must respect each other's freedom and the right of every one of us to live peacefully and seek after our well-being.
- Prime Minister Bruce Golding
Issues of rights and freedoms need constant attention ... neeed constant reviewing, fine-tuning and updating ...
- Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller

Can LGBTQ Jamaicans feel that they are full citizens when their consensual behavior is criminalized, they are attacked and assaulted at will, hounded out of home and job, set upon in the streets, victimized by the police and deprived of constitutional protection? Until the relevant sections of the Offences Against the Person Law are removed and discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual orientation outlawed, the majority of us will continue to live in fear, stress and despair.

We are accustomed to the prevailing hypocrisy so attach no significance to the high-sounding seasonal releases from our leaders. If you thought for a minute their rhetoric included us, your delusion is forgiveable as the desire for freedom is unquenchable in the face of all hostility. None of them have lifted a finger to help us. Social attitudes are difficult to change but real leaders lead; they have an obligation to show a higher way, a broader horizon, larger possibilities. But i forget, we're still on the plantation and it's as much as the overseers can do to keep it running.

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