Chik-V crashes buggery showdown in Parliament

Kingston, Jamaica — Suspected cases of the chikungunya virus has postponed an expected showdown on the buggery legislation in Parliament Wednesday.

The Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS), a prominent church group leading demonstrations against repealing buggery legislation, and the Sistren Theatre Collective, a group of women actively promoting the repeal of the legislation, should have opened the floor, as the joint select committee of Parliament started to review a number of sex offences bill.

However, both groups reported ill and unable to attend the meeting, triggering discussions around Gordon House, as to whether they were really victims of chikungunya, or were simply influenced by fear of a physical confrontation.

The JCHS had been using the theme, ‘Half-Way-Tree Goes to Gordon House’, recalling its very successful demonstration against changing the buggery laws in Half-Way-Tree in July, on urging members to be at Gordon House for the clash.

“Let’s send a powerful message to Parliament that God’s values must be Jamaica’s values,” their website said.

Sistren Theatre Collective (Sistren), which began in 1977 as a group of working-class women using the theatre to explore social, political and legal issues, has, on its Facebook page challenged former UWI Professor Brendan Baine’s assertion that gay men are big contributors to HIV/AIDS.

Sistren has also insisted that “policies which criminalise homosexuality, notably in the Caribbean, are associated with increased prevalence of HIV infection in black MSMs”, men who have sex with men.

With the two competing institutions apparently flattened by the flu-like virus, the door was left open for the less passionate Jamaica Coalition of Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) to take charge.

Christine Hendricks, executive director of the JCPD, said that there was a clear case of discrimination when penalties for abuse against a person with a disability are less than those for abuse against other persons.

She also called for modern technologies to be acquired to assist in obtaining the necessary evidence for conviction of sexual offenders.

The committee will meet next on October 15.

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