POLITICS

Jamaica’s Montego Bay Mayor And St. James Councilor Say NO To Pride Event

Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner reports that Montego Bay Mayor Homer Davis and St. James Councilor Charles Sinclair will not permit Montego Bay Pride to host a series of gay-themed events at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre, a landmark building managed by the government.

St. James Councilor Charles Sinclair stated: 

“I am not opposed if Montego Bay Pride wishes to have an event to promote same-sex marriage, but I believe it should not be held at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre… The cultural centre is a building under the management of the municipal corporation, which is a government agency. We, as a government agency, must ensure that we uphold the Constitution of Jamaica, and in upholding the Constitution, why would we engage a building controlled by the municipal corporation to be used to hold a function to promote same-sex marriage?… it is not consistent with the mandate that we have.” 

Following Davis and Sinclair’s statements, organizers for the event expressed frustration as many of the venues that originally agreed to participate in the event have cancelled. The police department also cautioned the organizers to take extra security measures.

Jamaica still upholds colonial-era homophobic laws like the “buggery” law which makes it difficult for the LGBTQ community to combat homophobia.

According to Wikipedia:

“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Jamaica, especially men, face legal and social issues not experienced by non-LGBT people. Sodomy and/or buggery are legally punishable by imprisonment, though these laws are no longer enforced and their repeal is pending. Sexual behavior between women is legal.” 

Tourism, on the other hand, welcomes and assures safety to LGBTQ visitors traveling to the island; however, we strongly recommended that you do your research in booking LGBTQ-friendly lodging and neighborhoods.

Thousands of people were expected to attend the 5th annual Montego Bay Pride now rescheduled to take place on October 20.

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