Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dr Marquis And Dancehall Artistes (Gleaner letter)

The Editor, Sir:

Freedom of speech is very vital in society, which is why I want to congratulate The Gleaner for giving Dr Donna Hope Marquis, senior lecturer in cultural studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, space for articulating her perspective on dancehall in Sunday's issue of The Gleaner.

I also want to praise Dr Hope Marquis for taking her space in society by publicly defending dancehall.

Now, while it is true that I have praised her, I must also say that I am very disappointed with her defending a kind of music that has 'helped' to turn our beautiful island into a lawless land in which people kill each other without batting an eyelid. She seems to think it is OK because dancehall artistes' lives are discussed and debated and new slang and styles are made.

She also wants to us to believe that because rich companies are sponsoring dancehall concerts and artistes again, we must jump on the bandwagon too.

Poverty-stricken family

What Dr Marquis seemed not to understand is that it is wrong for an underage boy/girl to work even if he/she is taking home well-needed money to a poverty-stricken family. Do you think we should say 'yippee' because an underage child is taking home money and rich companies are hugging up dancehall again, Dr Marquis?

The truth is, many of these dancehall artistes are talented but they chose to utter lyrics which are catchy but not educative. Catchy lyrics will help them make fast monies but people are starting to realise that the lyrics are very offensive and degrading towards women and sometimes encourage murder and antisocial behaviour among impressionable youths.

Nowadays, when one goes to a reggae concert in Europe, one can hardly find a Jamaican artiste in the line up and the reason for that is because Europeans are singing reggae in their own languages in a more positive vibes. The dancehall artistes need to wise up and come clean for the betterment of the genre.

I am, etc.,



Brussels, Belgium

Jamaica Gleaner Company

Monday, November 29, 2010

Capleton protest in Sacramento makes Fox News (Video included)

Controversial dancehall artist CAPLETON performed in Sacramento Sunday night despite protests from the gay community to cancel his concert. CAPLETON has been accused of using anti-gay lyrics in his music; words like "KILL" and "BURN" in reference to cleansing the world of homosexuality.

Harlow's, a restaurant and nightclub featuring live music, cancelled a similar performance by CAPLETON last year over similar concerns from the gay community. But not this time, "We've never censored anyone else; any other artist before. I don't see a reason to do so now.

Never in the history of booking the shows have we censored anyone because of their lyrics and what not. So, we're sticking to our guns on this," says Victor Torza, one of the managers of this family owned business.

"Harlow's breeds hate!" across the street from Harlow's a crowd of three dozen protestors made sure CAPLETON fans heard their message. "There's a man in there that's doing comedy against gay people and the thinks that it's funny and he doesn't care" says protestor Erin Lawrence.

But those on the front lines of the gay movement have more serious concerns; concerns that words will lead to violence. "We've had a lot of suicides; youth suicides because of hate speech that kids are inundated with sometimes" says Ken Pierce of Equality Action NOW, a gay rights organization.

According to published reports CAPLETON is opposed to homosexuality; it's a Rastafarian religious belief. But CAPLETON'S manager claims critics have mistranslated his lyrics. Outside Harlow's fans of the reggae artist were either unaware or unimpressed by the protest, "So many things in this world are wrong in the world, really. People starving, there are so many other issues that I would probably be a more a part of in protest" says Desiree W.

When Harlow's cancelled CAPLETON in 2009, it was the first time the in the long history of the nightclub that management had pulled an act off the stage. "Do you regret cancelling him last year?" asked FOX40's John Lobertini.

"I don't regret anything at this point now," says Victor Tarza, "There's enough people who want to come out and see it and support it. So, we're going to go and go with it."

For his part CAPLETON extended an Olive Branch to his critics. Since last year's controversy he has signed a pact with other reggae artists promising to stop so-called "Murder Music."

Some more notes:

The struggle continues however artistes need to understand that they are responsible for what is spoken out of their mouths even years after as it is a permanent record of their legacy especially in today's digital age as things do not die so easily. One of the best ways I see in dealing with this issue is artists such as Capleton, Sizzla and Buju Banton who have anti gay songs in their repertoire advocating death for LGBTQI people when on the face of it in a religion that proports peace and love in its teaching is to withdraw the tunes from the public domain and disassociate themselves entirely from such materials. Given the macho-ism and grandstanding that accompanies dancehall music no artist is going to simply do that as to do so would be to capitulate or "bow to battyman" which is unacceptable to the masses on the ground who are their fans.

Vybz Kartel is feeling some heat for allegedly signing a "battyman contract" as interpreted by his detractors and rivals from other DJ camps but he will ride that out soon I feel as his popularity is on a high now so that will act as some immunity to the backlash. He had signed the Reggae Compassionate document in France in order to perform there recently.

Watch and see where all this goes folks.

Peace and tolerance.



Unite Against AIDS says National HIV Programme Director

Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer

Amid talks of financial cutbacks to international funding of Jamaica's fight against HIV/AIDS, National HIV programme director, Dr Kevin Harvey, has called for Jamaicans to adopt a unified approach to tackling the challenges created by the infection.

Harvey made the appeal during the annual World AIDS Day proclamatory church service held at Andrews Memorial Seventh-day Adventist temple in St Andrew on the weekend.

World AIDS Day, which is observed each year on December 1, is being held under the theme 'Universal Access and Human Rights'.

"By combining our resources and competencies, we can have even greater success. We continue to call on organisations to join the fight, particularly in the environment of dwindling resources," he said, while highlighting the roles faith-based organisations can play in helping to tackle the virus.

Intense discussions

Harvey's comments come at a time when private sector groups and other entities have been conducting intense discussions on the likely impact on productivity of expected cuts to funding from agencies such as the Global Fund.

He said, "Particularly, we call on faith-based organisations to encourage and facilitate a supportive environment for persons living with HIV/AIDS so that we can all get on with life."

Harvey noted that while the data reveal an estimated 27,000 people in Jamaica living with the virus, the country has seen an 18 per cent decline in reported cases between 2006 and 2009. He added that since the country started its public access programme for antiretroviral drugs in 2004, the results have been favourable.

"The country has also achieved a 43 per cent reduction in AIDS-related deaths when comparing 2009 and 2004."

According to Harvey, approximately 50 per cent of persons living with HIV and in need of treatment are receiving same. More than 90 per cent of HIV-positive infants receive antiretroviral medication, and more than 85 per cent of HIV-infected pregnant women received medication.

"Today, the life expectancy of persons living with HIV who are adherent to their antiretroviral medication is equal to that of those who are HIV-negative," he said.

In addition, Harvey said the abolition of the user-fee policy at government-run hospitals has provided an opportunity for HIV/AIDS, infected person to have greater access to services and drugs.

He, however, noted that, while all these gains are commendable, the stigma and discrimination attached to certain lifestyle practices are hampering gains made.

"We are still lagging behind in improving access to treatment and prevention programmes for vulnerable groups such as commercial sex workers, and men who have sex with men," Harvey said.

"Let's work together to uphold the rights of individuals living with HIV and realise the millennium development goal to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS by 2015."

According to United Nations estimates, there are 33 million people living with HIV/AIDS, including 2.1 million children. Last year alone, some 2.7 million people became infected with the virus while two million people died from AIDS.

My notes:

Pity it had to take "money" or the impending lack thereof to get a message like this to come forth, not that his predecessor Dr. Peter Figueroa didn't hint to it as his calling for the coming together of LGBTQI voices in a documentary in dealing with HIV in the marginalized groups especially the Men who have sex with men cohort as evidenced in the last known study from 2007 where 31% of this group are HIV positive.

Please see the throwback video below

see also:

Bad News For HIV In Jamaica: HIV/AIDS Programme Hit By Funding Woes


Peace and tolerance


Friday, November 26, 2010

Pope Benedict: Even If Homosexuality Is Biological, It 'Remains Contrary To The Essence of What God Originally Willed'

Just because Pope Benedict XVI won't make male, female, or trans prostitutes say 15 Hail Marys and 20 Oh Fathers for wearing condoms during their sex work doesn't mean he's reversed his position on homosexuality.

Thank goodness he spelled it all out there in his book then!

Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times, a collection of papal interviews published Tuesday, is quick to call homosexuality "disordered" and "incompatible" with becoming a priest. Skillfully dodging German reporter Peter Seewald's questions about whether there are gays in the church, the pope says,

"Homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation.

Otherwise, celibacy itself would lose its meaning as a renunciation. It would be extremely dangerous if celibacy became a sort of pretext for bringing people into the priesthood who don't want to get married anyway." If there are gay priests, then "that is just one of the miseries of the church. And the persons who are affected must at least try not to express this inclination actively."

But what about the church's teachings that gays, while being monsters, deserve respect? Doesn't that conflict with the church's position that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered"? "No," the Catholic leader responded. "It is one thing to say that they are human beings with their problems and their joys, that as human beings they deserve respect, even though they have this inclination, and must not be discriminated against because of it.

At the same time, though, sexuality has an intrinsic meaning and direction, which is not homosexual. The meaning and direction of sexuality is to bring about the union of man and woman and, in this way, to give humanity posterity, children, a future."

And what about the basically accepted fact that sexuality is not a choice, but something you are born with? Tough luck for your homos, who must embark on a "great trial" to deny your innate desires. And if sexuality is biological, "this does not mean that homosexuality thereby becomes morally right," says the pope. "Rather, it remains contrary to the essence of what God originally willed."

Sure sounds like a wonderful way to live.

thanks to

A contradiction of sorts?

Anything biological I would assume God made it so if we are to go by the teachings of Christ and the church over these many years then is the Pope overstepping his bounds here as human being conflicting and damning God's handy work to justify his and his church's dictates, call me simplistic but that how we have been taught, that is those who have gone through early church life, never question or condemn "God's work"

Who is he and the other papists to judge?

Who does the Pope think he is though, he speaks and it becomes an edict? why do we have to be kissing the ass of this old tired absolute monarchy holding on to power and influence to remain relevant. Move your rosary from my posary I say.

Peace and tolerance


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

African, Caribbean & Pacific issue declaration to EU "To refrain from any attempts to impose its values which are not freely shared"

A group of 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific states recently issued a unilateral declaration “on the peaceful co-existence of religions and the importance given to the phenomenon of homosexuality” in their partnership with the EU.

ACP logoThe Joint Parliamentary Assembly between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific states recently signed the revised Cotonou Agreement (PDF), delineating the trade and political relationship between the two parties. Despite the EU’s insistance, ACP states refused to include sexual orientation in the list of grounds on which discrimination should be banned.

Following these negotiations, the ACP group of states adopted a unilateral declaration in September. The declaration calls on the European Union to “refrain from any attempts to impose its values which are not freely shared”, linking homosexuality to incitement to religious hatred.

ACP unilateral declaration

Download the unilateral declaration (PDF, English and French)

The European Parliament officially received the document late October. In a partial response, it adopted a resolution on the work of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in 2009. In the resolution drafted by MEP Eva Joly , the European Parliament “reiterates the principle of the universality of human rights and non-discrimination as the basis upon which to enhance legitimate democratic governance and the political dialogue at the Joint Parliamentary Assembly”.

The next ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly will meet in Kinshasa, DRC, from the 2nd to the 4th December 2010.

So African Caribbean and Pacific states are fighting back it seems given the relaxed nature of the negotiations before during the Cotonou Agreement talks, was this a hint to what was to come on the vote to remove sexual orientation from the list of judicial killings at the recent United Nations meeting where several Caribbean states including Jamaica and Cuba surprisingly voted in favour of it?

There seems to be a collective move behind the political, diplomatic and economic scenes on this vexed issue of orientation conflicted with homosexuality and that foreign states are somehow "imposing" as it were this on so called sovereign nations when these same nations are parties to treatises that include protection of rights for all and respecting the main Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This bit of news is indeed surprising, this is a section of regional activity on the European and by extension world stage we must watch carefully.

Peace and tolerance


A response to Jamaica's error on the UN Vote: "No Policy To Protect Gays"

So the silence has been broken not via a press release from JFLAG or an entry on their website but this letter from one man activist Maurice Tomlinson who is also a Consultant to AIDSFREEWORLD some eight days after the infraction has been committed against LGBTQI people worldwide and which our government gladly participated in, we essentially supported the removal of sexual orientation from the realm of judicial killings: (Jamaica votes In favor of the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (79))

A gentleman who we have come to respect greatly Mr. Tomlinson seems to be doing the damned thing publicly putting his career and life on the line but the JFLAG group hasn't done a good job of educating or communicating with the LGBTQI communities the very rights spoken of in this letter, how much do the ordinary folks out there really understand? so they can speak alongside the rights group that speaks on behalf of us all these years bearing in mind their 13th anniversary comes up in December. More "ordinary" voices need to be added to the mix now, this idea that only "qualified" people are the ones to do it all is not good enough, more voices, the louder the message. In fact it is widely viewed that it is JFLAG's presence that impedes Mr. Tomlinson's positions from getting better public support from sections of the LGBTQI community itself, hence the low turn out at public agitations when they are organised.

Have a read of the letter below as published in today's Gleaner and also see the recent snub the organization experienced from the Jamaica Pegasus where they tried to book meeting space.

The letter reads:

At the Universal Periodic Review of Jamaica's human-rights situation, held before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on November 9, the head of the Jamaican delegation, Senator Marlene Malahoo-Forte, misinformed the world about Jamaica's human-rights record with regard to gays.

One of her more glaring inaccuracies was that Jamaica has a documented policy to protect women, girls and homosexuals! No such policy exists.

Her statement that "Jamaica does not condone discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation" was startling, in light of our prime minister's very public statement to the British Broadcasting Corporation that no gays will form part of his Cabinet.

She also said that in Jamaica "there is no legal discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation". This belies Section 79 of the Offences Against the Person Act, which discriminates against gays by criminalising any form of intimacy between two men, whether done in private or public.

As a lawyer, a former member of the director of public prosecutions' office and resident magistrate, Senator Malahoo-Forte must surely know about this infamous section.

A fanciful notion

She also denied the existence of "credible" evidence of continued human-rights abuses against gays. Yet, when the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays requested a meeting with the prime minister to discuss these abuses, they were denied.

From the senator's presentation it would appear that effeminate gay Jamaican men can now walk openly downtown Kingston without fear of attack. Truly a fanciful notion. No wonder 11 countries were unimpressed with her presentation and called on Jamaica to end its homophobic laws and policies.

I am, etc.,

Maurice Tomlinson


Anyway thanks to Maurice for putting it out there. I never really expected the Minister to do any thing seriously regarding LGBTQI rights despite the election promises and artificial concerns shown by the Prime Minister in previous correspondences with the J.

Peace and tolerance


Monday, November 22, 2010

United Nations vote will lead to more LGBT murders, activists claim

A vote last week by the United Nations General Assembly Human Rights Committee has LGBT and human rights activists outraged over the decision to remove sexual orientation from an anti-execution resolution.

The UN’s main assembly normally passes similar resolutions, condemning extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions and other killings every two years, and the most recent resolution in 2008 declaration had contained an specific reference to LGBT killings.

Representatives from the African nations of Morocco and Mali had introduced an amendment on behalf of other African and Islamic nations calling for deletion of the phrase “sexual orientation” and instead substituting the phrase “discriminatory reasons on any basis” in its place.

The amendment narrowly passed 79-70, and then was approved by the committee, which includes all 192 U.N. member states, with 165 in favor, 10 abstentions and no votes against.

The resolution will now go before the entire UN General Assembly in December and is expected to be adopted — it does specify other types of violence, including killings for racial, national, ethnic, religious or linguistic reasons and killings of refugees, indigenous people and other groups.

“It’s a step backwards and it’s extremely disappointing that some countries felt the need to remove the reference to sexual orientation, when sexual orientation is the very reason why so many people around the world have been subjected to violence,” said Philippe Bolopion of Human Rights Watch, in a statement.

Veteran UK LGBT activist Peter Tatchell in an interview with Britain’s pinknews.uk, Jessica Geen, said, “The move was a “shameful day in United Nations history” and would give a “de facto green light to the on-going murder of LGBT people by homophobic regimes, death squads and vigilantes.”

Tatchell said homophobic countries would “take comfort from the fact that the UN does not endorse the protection of LGBT people against hate-motivated murder,” and added, “The UN vote is in direct defiance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees equal treatment, non-discrimination and the right to life. What is the point of the UN if it refuses to uphold its own humanitarian values and declarations?”

“Many of the nations that voted for this amendment want to ensure that their anti-gay policies are not scrutinized or condemned by the UN. Even if they don’t directly sanction the killing of LGBT people, they have lined up alongside nations that do,” Tatchell said.

He also criticized the nations of South Africa and Cuba, who voted in favor of the amendment.

“Presidents Raul Castro and Jacob Zuma should hang their heads in shame. They’ve betrayed the liberation ideals that they profess to uphold,” Tatchell said.

In a statement from Stonewall, the London based UK LGBT Equality Rights organization said, “The vote by a UN panel to remove sexual orientation from this significant resolution is deeply disturbing. Lesbian, gay and bisexual people face violence, abuse and in some states, execution, because of their sexual orientation. This is a worrying and regressive step. We call on the UK government to lead from the front foot to end the persecution of gay people in other countries.”

A spokesman for U. S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, en route to a NATO Arms Summit in Lisbon on Thursday, expressed disappointment at the panel’s actions, noting that the U. S. delegation had opposed the change to the resolution and abstained from the final vote.

The Line in The Sand for the JLP part 5

see also: As the JLP emerges from its conference
Since the last entry on the Jamaica Labour Party's possible one term life ending in the next election, apart from the national happenings such as the current in fighting (as captioned in the cartoon above) if one can call it that and their National Conference yesterday there are other happenings in as far as Human Rights and LGBT rights are concerned.
Of note the Charter or Rights which the Prime Minister promised would have been fully implemented by now has been delayed yet again. Please bear in mind that the Charter of Rights has no language or recognition of Sexual Orientation in it's content as those were removed in a cleverly and artificially created debate on Gay Marriage to justify gays' not having any rights at all.
See the Charter of Right tab for previous entries HERE and Amendments with other related Acts:
The participation recently at the United Nations Assembly meeting where we sanctioned the removal of sexual orientation from the extra judicial set of principles and laws see more here:
bearing in mind this administration promised to seriously look at human rights for all. What a joke? see: JFJ complains gov't not taking issue seriously
The Pink Report Jamaica in a poll it conducted said:
"......Significantly, if the poll numbers are read as being analogous or indicative of an approval rating, Golding enjoys a higher approval rating among the Gay and Lesbian population than the general population. A recent, CVM/Don Anderson poll had placed the Prime Minister’s approval ratings in the low 30s.

Jamaica’s gay and lesbian population has often been overlooked as a key voting demographic by pollsters and political parties alike, owing to legislative marginalization and incoherence as to the actual numerical composition of the group. However, a 2003 research conducted by Heather Royes: HIV/AIDS Risk Mapping Study of Men Who Have Sex With Men In Jamaica. Kingston: MOH projects that the gay male population numbers approximately 110,000 with heavy concentrations in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (inclusive of Portmore, Spanish Town and Old Harbour) and Montego Bay. Indeed, on the face of it, given the closeness of the last General Elections, the Gay Vote could determine the outcome of election results in certain key constituencies and ultimately the composition of the island’s parliament ........
The Prime Minister’s relatively strong approval ratings among the Gay community come in spite of homophobic comments attributed directly to him and the bungling of the handling of the Manatt Phillips, Dudus affair. There is nothing to indicate that the results are indicative of strong partisan support for the Jamaica Labour Party within the community, however, such analysis is not all together unlikely."
Thanks to The Pink for allowing me to publish the above caption from their blog.
Clearly LGBTQI rights and recognition are nowhere in sight anytime soon.

In case you missed the last comments by the PM on homosexuality in Jamaica here it is:

go here if you can't see the video: Is Jamaica Homophobic, Bruce Golding's answer
While the financial and fiscal situation looks good for now and with us passing the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) test for October projections and soundings from some financial experts suggest there maybe trouble ahead especially with oil prices set to go up we may not be able to hold strain for long with negative growth forecast yet again. Many persons feel disillusioned by just the rapid pace of scandal after scandal, the seeming inability of the administration to settle after more than two years in power and a Prime Minister who credibility swings like a swing song in a playpen, frankly I used to support the Jamaica Labour Party strongly from family tradition but now I am in a daze as well as Mr. Golding's utterances now when compared to his positions while he was in the National Democratic Movement are so far apart. One gets the feeling though in fairness to him that he does not have the full support of the JLP which he now heads and that they use him as he attracts support to have won the election and stay in power. They lost my support on the utterances by the Prime Minister on the invented discussion on gay marriage during the Charter of Rights Debate.
I am not sure if the JLP will stand in another election as recent polls suggest ... the CVM TV Poll conducted by Don Anderson showed the JLP trailing the Opposition People's National Party by a mile.
PNP has commanding lead
Meanwhile, the Anderson-CVM polls show the PNP with a 10-point lead over the JLP. Asked how they would vote if the election was called now, 24.6 per cent said they would vote for the PNP while 14.5 per cent would vote for the JLP; 8.3 per cent were not sure; 6.5 per cent said they would vote for the new party recently formed by Betty-Ann Blaine and 5.3 per cent said they did not know how they would vote.

Of those who voted JLP in 2007, only 46.9 per cent were ready to vote JLP again; a significant 24.6 per cent said they would not vote; 12 per cent were not sure; nine per cent said they would switch to the PNP while six per cent said they would vote for the new party.
By contrast, a whopping 69 per cent of people who voted PNP last time said they would do so again; 15 per cent would not vote; 10 per cent were not sure; five per cent would vote for the new party and only one per cent would switch to the JLP.

The numbers suggest that the PNP has held its support base. The Anderson-CVM poll of May 2007, in the run-up to the September general election showed both the JLP and the PNP at 25 per cent each, with another four per cent 'probably' leaning PNP and six per cent leaning JLP. The actual vote mirrored these findings.
Why has the JLP slipped so badly in three years as government? There are clear pointers from the latest poll.
Do you think the line is extended in the sand for the JLP now and would you vote for them?
Please see the previous entries in this series as in the LINKSWITHIN captioned below this and all posts.
Peace and tolerance


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Protection for gays promised in Bermuda .... Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity currently omitted

Minister hints at protection for gays
Government touches on a range of issues in post-Throne Speech media briefing

Sexual orientation could be added to the Human Rights Act by Paula Cox’s government.
Minister of Youth Affairs and Families Glenn Blakeney today said the Ministry of Youth, Families, Sports and Community Development would work with community stakeholders with a view to tabling a legislative amendment to the 1981 Human Rights Act.

It currently omits sexual orientation, denying protection from discrimination for homosexuals, lesbians and those of transgender.

Mr. Blakeney told a Cabinet press conference this afternoon: “We feel we’re going to be prepared to address that issue.

“We’re hoping it will be brought forward before the end of the (legislative) session.”

Legislation to bring women’s pay in line with that of their male colleagues is also expected.

Kim Wilson, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, said an Equal Pay Act would focus on gender.

“When you have a disparity in the salaries for the exercise of the same skills between men and women, that is not only unfair, it’s confusing as well as inequality,” Mrs. Wilson said.

Mrs. Wilson also commented on the expansion of Economic Empowerment Zones to include St. George’s and Somerset.

“We will further our economy by further encouraging entrepreneurs and start-up businesses,” she said.

In Education, Minister Dame Jennifer Smith admitted the continuing reform of public schools would be challenging.

“We have our work cut out for us,” she said.

A joint initiative with the Ministry of Health will encourage school leavers to enter healthcare careers.

Dame Jennifer said there was a shortage of nursing staff and senior care nurses.

The new Health Module in senior schools will encourage direct training, while Government is also ready with financial help.

“Once they get involved there is also financial assistance and further training,” Dame Jennifer said.

“We hope that (healthcare) will provide another avenue for our young people to excel in.”

Mr. Blakeney also set out the vision for his ministry, which he described as “the social conscience of Bermuda”.

Speaking on the issue of gang violence, he said: “We have the energy, commitment and passion in our ministry to move the country forward in facing these daunting challenges.”

Mr. Blakeney said Government would encourage more recreational facilities on the island through Public Private Partnerships.

This will include a boxing facility, which he believes will bring young people on the verge of anti-social behaviour “back to the fold… I’m hoping to introduce a boxing centre. I’m working to encourage corporate citizens to assist, as that is going to achieve some budget,” he said.

“To change behaviour first and foremost we have to change attitude, and to change attitude, you have to resonate in hearts and minds.”

Bermudians can also expect to see an overhaul of the Building Code in the coming year, to mandate renewable energy in new construction.

Environment Minister Walter Roban said: “More than ever, Bermuda requires a strategy of forward planning.

“Bermuda must sustain its development in a world of rapid technological change and extensive mobility of people and economic resources, but we must do so being very mindful of the impact of today’s changes on the Bermuda of tomorrow.”

Government is to launch an energy conservation campaign and will further encourage adoption of renewable energy technology in homes and commerce.

The new Building Code could stipulate new buildings must incorporate green technology.

Through cost incentives, homeowners will also be encouraged to fit micro renewables such as mini wind turbines, thermal solar panels and Photovoltaic (PV) panels.

“We want to make it easier for people to focus on these renewable technologies,” Mr. Roban said.

The Minister said he also wanted to nurture a “green economy… We want to promote business and this is certainly an area where we can grow some opportunities for people to get involved in renewable energy,” he said.

Premier Paula Cox today praised her new ministers for taking on their new roles.

She said the appointment of Dame Jennifer as Education Minister would “restore confidence” among the public.

Ms Cox said she meant no disrespect to any previous minister, but that, “sometimes you have to pull out your even bigger guns”.

Commenting on the new Cabinet, Ms Cox said: “They have been eager to get the work done and have been eager to get their feet stuck in and to hit the ground running.

“They do realize they have to perform, and are keen to deliver.”

She added: “I feel we have a team going forward to work for the betterment of the people of Bermuda.”

Bermuda Sun... Beyond the Headlines | Hamilton, Bermuda

Meanwhile Transgender Activist Brenda Lana Smith of UNIQUOTE pointed out that Gender Identity was not included in the proposed legislation, she said in a comment:

"Here we go again—gender identity gets no mention…. for the umpteenth time I would be grossly amiss… not on behalf of my own septuagenarian post-operative male-to-female transsexual womanhood that was driven beyond Bermuda's socio-economic pale with total impunity in 1989 by a few, but influential trans-phobic Bermudians… but on behalf of Bermuda's many mainly closeted gender-variant folk—particularly those transsexual/transgender folk who are bound to manifest on the island in the future… if I were not yet again to respectfully remind Bermuda's legislators that sexual orientation and gender identity are individually separate and distinct entities that need to be regarded and legislated as such in much needed amendments to Bermuda's present gay and gender-variant omissive Human Rights Law…"

Brenda Lana Smith, R.af D…
Cornwall, Britain...


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Capleton's booking upsets 'murder music' activists in CA ..... publicist resigns

Donna Tam Reports

The booking of another reggae star for a show next week in California has spurred the concern of “murder music” activists, and led to the resignation of a local publicist.
Bonus Entertainment sent out a press release Tuesday announcing a Nov. 27 show featuring reggae performer Capleton at the Red Fox Tavern.
Emma Breacain, who freelances for Bonus Entertainment, announced Thursday that she would no longer represent the company because of the response she received from friends who were upset that she was the author of the press release.

”Maybe it's because we are currently seeing what looks to be an actual epidemic of suicides among gay children that I feel OK being swayed by popular opinion and taking such an extreme position in leaving Bonus Entertainment, which has treated me wonderfully for the few short months I've been writing their press. I know that quitting will help no one and hurt only me,” she wrote in an e-mail to the Times-Standard. “The last 14 hours have taught me that people who know me have some high expectations of me and how I represent myself and with whom I affiliate.”
A call to Bonus Entertainment was not returned. E-mails to the Red Fox Tavern management and Capleton's management were not returned.

According to activists, Capleton's past songs had lyrics about burning, hanging and killing gay men and women.

Last November, the Red Fox Tavern canceled the show of another reggae performer, Bounty Killer,after activists threatened to protest outside the show. The show was one of several that prompted local activists to meet in February in hopes of keeping the performers out of Humboldt County.
Todd Larsen of Queer Humboldt, an organizer of the meeting, said the meeting was meant to educate venue owners about “murder music” reggae artists.
At the meeting, participants were presented with an informational packet listing reggae artists who have anti-gay lyrics in songs and/or have signed compassionate declarations but then broke or renounced those agreements. Those artists included Capleton, Bounty Killer and Buju Banton, all of whom have had shows scheduled in Humboldt County.

Larsen said several venues were very responsive to the information, so he was dismayed over the Red Fox Tavern's decision to book Capleton.
”We're really disappointed in the management of Red Fox Tavern,” he said. “That after having gone through education and having material sent to them on this subject of murder music that they would go ahead and do this.”

Breacain, who describes herself as a “queer-friendly hetero gal,” said she researched the artist and tried to write a thoughtful press release that would let the public decide if they wanted to “see the show, protest it, or do something else that night.” The release includes a paragraph acknowledging the controversy surrounding Capleton's music.

”If as a publicist I can only promote acts that pass my personal moral sniff-test, I will have lots of research to do and very little to write,” she wrote. “After much internal debate I gave myself a test. I thought of other artists like Ice Cube and Ice-T and Eminem and Andrew Dice Clay and Guns N' Roses, thought of the immoral and illegal and horrific activities each has glorified. I asked myself if as a publicist I would refuse to write up any of those, and I would not.”
Donna Tam can be reached at 441-0532 or dtam@times-standard.com.

Meanwhile BRIAN SWISLOW Owner of Red Fox responded in the heated firestorm on the Willit's News discussion page where the story also broke.....

"---- I am an owner of The Red Fox Tavern. We are certainly not KNOWN as a tweeker bar!!! We also DO NOT sell booze to underage kids!!!! The Red Fox is operated by a Local musician who is known for doing good for this community. I have been part of this area snce 1997 and have done all kinds of good things to support music in our area. I am involved in the Rd Fox because of my desire to further MUSICAL EXPRESSION in this town that boasts diversity... This is a typical HATE MONGER who is trying to slander our establishment due to ONE show out of the MANY SUCCESSFUL shows we have had in our club.
TANYA STEPHENS is a well respected reggae artist who has lyrics that support gay rights, and is on tour with Capleton... I think that tells you exactly what the REGGAE COMMUNITY is up to.. They are bringing people together for the sake of music and healing.
It is difficult to respond to a person that goes under th name of hate... Why does everyone have an opinion but nobody can state their name?"

Supporters such as Censorship out of Humbold say:

"Since when do we censor and band art in this country because people are offended over interpret metaphors not literal words. Capelton like every one in America has freedom of speech.

The Red Fox is only a business who in the entertainment industry, a platform for music and art. People vote with there dollars in this free market. If people don't support this artist he wont be back here. But to ban an artist and affect peoples livelihoods seems selfish. When this artist has committed no crimes.

The Federal government isn't banning this artist. A group of people who don't like the interpretation of an artist lyrics want to. And have waged a campaign to demonize a man who brings much joy to many people all over the world, far more than are offend. Capelton is not a monster he is an artist.

Where do you draw the line with censorship. Capleton is not infringing on peoples rights. Censorship does!"

Let's watch this one folks.

Peace and tolerance.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jamaica votes In favor of the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (79)


Press Release
Governments Remove Sexual Orientation from UN Resolution Condemning Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions


Sara Perle, Ric Weiland Research & Policy Associate
International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission
phone: +1-212-430-6015;
email: sperle@iglhrc.org

John Fisher, Co-Director, ARC International
phone: +41-79-508-3968;
email: john@arc-international.net

(New York, November 17, 2010) –

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and ARC International are deeply disappointed with yesterday’s vote in the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly to remove a reference to sexual orientation from a resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The resolution urges States to protect the right to life of all people, including by calling on states to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. For the past 10 years, the resolution has included sexual orientation in the list of discriminatory grounds on which killings are often based.

The removed reference was originally contained in a non-exhaustive list in the resolution highlighting the many groups of people that are particularly targeted by killings - including persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, persons acting as human rights defenders (such as lawyers, journalists or demonstrators) as well as street children and members of indigenous communities. Mentioning sexual orientation as a basis on which people are targeted for killing highlights a situation in which particular vigilance is required in order for all people to be afforded equal protection.

The amendment removing the reference to sexual orientation was sponsored by Benin on behalf of the African Group in the UN General Assembly and was adopted with 79 votes in favor, 70 against, 17 abstentions and 26 absent.

"This vote is a dangerous and disturbing development,” said Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director of IGLHRC. “It essentially removes the important recognition of the particular vulnerability faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people - a recognition that is crucial at a time when 76 countries around the world criminalize homosexuality, five consider it a capital crime, and countries like Uganda are considering adding the death penalty to their laws criminalizing homosexuality."

This decision in the General Assembly flies in the face of the overwhelming evidence that people are routinely killed around the world because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and renders these killings invisible or unimportant. The Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions has highlighted documented cases of extrajudicial killings on the grounds of sexual orientation including individuals facing the death penalty for consensual same-sex conduct; individuals tortured to death by State actors because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation; paramilitary groups killing individuals because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation as part of “social cleansing” campaigns; individuals murdered by police officers with impunity because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation; and States failing to investigate hate crimes and killings of persons because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

"It is a matter of great shame that the responsible Committee of the United Nations General Assembly failed in its responsibility to explicitly condemn well-documented killings based on sexual orientation," said John Fisher, Co-Director of ARC international. "The credibility of the United Nations requires protection of all persons from violations of their fundamental human rights, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. We thank those States which supported the inclusion of sexual orientation in the text, and will redouble our collective efforts to ensure that Member States of the United Nations maintain the standards they have sworn to uphold."

The amendment runs counter to other positive developments in UN and regional human rights systems where there is increased recognition of the need for protection from discrimination regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. At a September 2010 panel held in conjunction with a session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon unequivocally recognized "the particular vulnerability of individuals who face criminal sanctions, including imprisonment and in some cases the death penalty, on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity."

Sixty-eight countries have also signed a joint statement in the UN General Assembly on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity which calls for an end to "human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity … in particular the use of the death penalty on this ground [and] extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions."

IGLHRC and ARC International urge all States, regardless of their vote on this amendment, to sign the UNGA joint statement affirming support of the human rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity and to continue in efforts to decriminalize same-sex conduct and to end other discrimination, including violence, on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The votes to amend the resolution were as follows:

In favor of the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (79):

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Dar-Sala, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Opposed to the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (70):

Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Micronesia (FS), Monaco, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela

Abstain (17):

Antigua-Barbuda, Barbados, Belarus, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Fiji, Mauritius, Mongolia, Papau New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Absent (26):

Albania, Bolivia, Central African Republic, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Marshall Island, Mauritania, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Sao Tome Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Togo, Tonga, Turkey, Turkmenistan

The mission of The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is advancing human rights for everyone, everywhere to end discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. A non-profit, non-governmental organization, IGLHRC is based in New York, with offices in Cape Town and Buenos Aires.

Visit http://www.iglhrc.org for more information.

State Minister Senator Marlene Malahoo-Forte

The Jamaican Government Representative's Response
Senator The Honourable Marlene Malahoo Forte, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, has responded by saying the Jamaica Labour Party government does not condone violence or discrimination against gays, she says homosexuality itself is not illegal in Jamaica but Buggery which like the death penalty is a vexed issue on the Jamaican landscape.

"Sexual orientation is not criminalized ..... and all persons are due full protection under the law"
Honourable Marlene Malahoo Forte, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade on her feet November 16, 2010 at The UN Council Meeting - The Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly.

She also implied that dialogue is needed and a public education drive to get persons to fully understand the issues involved.

The government of the Netherlands had voiced concerns about the treatment of homosexuals in Jamaica and they also called for a repeal of the Buggery Law.

see also:
".........The representative of Jamaica, which voted in favour of the draft, was disappointed that operative paragraph 5 had not been further amended. The way in which the text had been drafted implied that the use of the death penalty automatically amounted to extrajudicial execution. The suggestion was that they were one and the same. Jamaica did not share that interpretation. Regarding operative paragraph 6(b), a more holistic approach was required. It was cumbersome and unwieldy; several categories of vulnerable persons could have been included. It was hoped that, in future, the co-sponsors would consider a more general reference to all vulnerable groups, without discrimination."

Commenting on the UN vote, gay rights and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:

"This is a shameful day in United Nations history. It gives a de facto green light to the on-going murder of LGBT people by homophobic regimes, death squads and vigilantes. They will take comfort from the fact that the UN does not endorse the protection of LGBT people against hate-motivated murder.

"The UN vote is in direct defiance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees equal treatment, non-discrimination and the right to life. What is the point of the UN if it refuses to uphold its own humanitarian values and declarations?
"This vote is partly the result of a disturbing homophobic alliance between mostly African and Arab states, often inspired by religious fundamentalism. LGBT people in these countries frequently suffer severe persecution.

“Many of the nations that voted for this amendment want to ensure that their anti-gay policies are not scrutinised or condemned by the UN. Even if they don’t directly sanction the killing of LGBT people, they have lined up alongside nations that do.

"South Africa and Cuba claim to support LGBT human rights, yet they voted to remove sexual orientation. They can no longer be considered gay-friendly states. Both countries have allied themselves with tyrannical, violent, homophobic regimes, like Saudi Arabia and Iran. Presidents Raul Castro and Jacob Zuma should hang their heads in shame. They've betrayed the liberation ideals that they profess to uphold," said Mr Tatchell.

Up to the preparation and subsequent updates on this post JFLAG has not made any formal response, while all of this happening despite IGLHRC's presence as a consultancy group within the UN apparatus, a foot in they fought hard to get.

also see:

Peace and tolerance