Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, has been slammed for saying that he would refuse to allow a gay person to serve on his Cabinet.
His comments, made while being interviewed on the BBC programme Hard Talk, adds weight to claims that rampant homophobia in Jamaica is supported in the highest levels.
In the interview, Golding said that “homosexuals will find no solace in any Cabinet formed by me.”
He added that “Jamaica is not going to allow values to be imposed on it from outside.”
“A Prime Minister must decide what he feels would represent to the Jamaican people, a Cabinet of ministers who would be able to discharge their functions without fear, without favour and without intimidation. That’s a choice that I had and I made that choice,” said Golding.
Jamaica has seen a number of mob attacks on gay and lesbian people over the last year. The most recent, in February, left one man severely injured and another missing and feared dead.
According to reports, police regularly stand by and watch during these incidents without taking action.
“Gays and lesbians in Jamaica face violence at home, in public… and official silence encourages the spread of hate,” said Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, earlier this year.