Clinton Pickering – Freelance Writer
St. James councillors are in one accord that the Montego Bay Cultural Centre should not be used as venue to promote homosexual propaganda.
Senior member Charles Sinclair, a former mayor of the city and Government Senator, who is also an Attorney-at-Law, cites that as a government body, the municipal corporation could not go against the Jamaican constitution by appearing to be facilitating the promotion of homosexuality.
Leading the argument at yesterday’s regular monthly meeting of the St James Municipal Corporation, Senator Sinclair drew reference to an advertisement identifying the Montego Bay Cultural Centre as venue for a number of activities in a week of events from October 13 to 20, this year, being promoted by the organization, Montego Bay Pride, which he identified as a LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) group.
While speaking to the freedom and right and anyone “to enjoy what they want to enjoy whilst they abide by the law,” Sinclair noted that one of the functions advertised by Montego Bay Pride is a public forum entitled “Is Jamaica ready for same-sex marriage?” Sinclair said he was concerned that this and other events were advertised to be held at Sam Sharpe Square, declaring, “I am not opposed if Montego Bay Pride is to have an event to promote same-sex marriage, they can have it, but it should not be held at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre.”
With other councillors banging in unison, Sinclair said if the group wished to have such an event, they should go and rent a hotel or church meeting hall. He said he was opposed to the use of the Cultural Centre because it was under the management of the municipal corporation, which is a government agency and “the Jamaica Constitution and in particular Section 18 says, and I’m going to quote, ‘No form of marriage or other relationship other than the voluntary unions of one man and one woman may be contracted or legally recognized in Jamaica’.”
He said it was the same Constitution that speaks to freedom of expression and as a government entity the corporation “must ensure that we uphold the Constitution of Jamaica.” Sinclair questioned why then would they allow a government building to be used promote gay marriage, or same-sex marriage. “It is not consistent with the mandate that we have and I stand in opposition to it,” he declared.
With other councillors chiming in, Senator Sinclair also strongly rejected the Cultural Centre being used by the Montego Bay Pride as a place of amusement, questioning whether the plan was for “a gay party; is that what we’re talking about, in the Montego Bay Cultural Centre?”
Senator Sinclair is also opposed to Montego Bay Pride being granted police permission for its advertised “Walk or Ride event” on October 20, recalling that last year, the same group of people, dressed up in skimpy outfits, blocked off Sunset Boulevard (now Godfrey Dyer Blvd) with no notice being given and businesses and commuters inconvenienced. He lamented that at that same time last year, a women’s organization was refused a permit to stage a sensitization march against abuse of women.
Sinclair asked that the police be informed that the municipal corporation will not support any roadway being obstructed for this event as there was nothing to gain from it.
Both the Chairman of the municipal corporation, Mayor Homer Davis and Chairman of the Civic and Community Affairs, Dwight Crawford, said they were unaware of the intention to use the cultural centre as indicated.
Mayor Davis said nothing must be done to disturb the sacredness and purpose of why the Cultural Centre building is in Sam Sharpe Square. He acknowledged that the corporation stood in solidarity with the position taken by Senator Sinclair and denied rumours that last year it was he who gave permission, asserting, “Well, I can speak now that I will not give no permission.”