Friday, March 7, 2014

Gay rights debate heats up in the Bahamas

(L-R) Bradley Roberts, Dr Myles Munroe and Hubert Chipman

The last time I looked at our neighbours to the north was a post on gay rights there called Bahamas backed gay rights, then in 2011 The Bahamas supported the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution passed that affirmed equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Brent Symonette.

The resolution, which narrowly passed in the council in Geneva, Switzerland, expressed “grave concern” about discrimination against gays throughout the world and affirmed that freedom to choose sexuality is a human right.

Then Miss Bahamas won the Miss Gay Caribbean pageant in the US last year as well as carried on Gay Jamaica Watch

are in order of appearance for 2013 Miss Gay Caribbean winner - Bahamas, 2nd Place - Puerto Rico, 3rd Place - Guyana.(left)

Now comes a major row with leaders there as carried in The Nassau Guardian:

By Travis Cartwright-Carroll
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts on Monday defended Bahamas foreign affairs minister, Fred Mitchell, after Bahamas Faith Ministries International president Dr Myles Munroe called for the prime minister to replace him over recent comments he made in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues.

“If Myles feels very strongly about it, he knows what he can do; he can go form a political party and he can try and win the government and he can try to attempt what he wants to change,” said Roberts when called for comment.

Munroe told The Guardian that he believes Mitchell does not “represent the majority of the convictions of the Bahamian people”.

In a recent speech he gave in Trinidad and Tobago, Mitchell said his political career has suffered because of his position on LGBT issues.

He also urged tolerance and spoke of the general rights of all people.

Munroe said Mitchell should keep his personal convictions to himself.

Former foreign affairs minister Brent Symonette said on Monday that when someone becomes a minister of the government, that person loses his or her personal opinions.

“A minister of foreign affairs should be very careful when expressing those views,” he said.

But Roberts said successive governments have endorsed the position taken by Mitchell.

“I don’t understand what the discontent is,” he said.

“We have signed on with all the accords and so forth with regard to that matter.

“It is quite clear. Some people may have different views on the matter but they are entitled to that opinion, as Myles is.

“You can’t kill someone for having a different opinion.

“As far as I am concerned it is a non issue.”

In 1998, then Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham lamented public vehemence to a gay cruise ship that was to dock in Nassau.

Ingraham said it is a right for people in a democratic society to expect to be respected by their government.

In 2011, then foreign affairs minister Symonette said that the government supported the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution that affirmed rights for LGBT people.

Shadow minister of foreign affairs Hubert Chipman said on Monday that he has nothing against LGBT people.

Chipman previously told The Guardian the he did not think Mitchell should have shared his views on LGBT issues while on the public dime.

Mitchell retorted in the House of Assembly that when he spoke in Trinidad, he did so as the minister.

He added that before he pronounces on any policy, he checks with the government.

Chipman said, “At the end of the day I said what I had to say. Now he did circulate what he said in Trinidad. I just thought the forum was wrong.”


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