STATEMENT FROM SENATOR THE HON. BURCHELL WHITEMAN MINISTER OF INFORMATION ON THE REPORT RELEASED BY HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH


The Government has taken note of the views expressed by representatives of Human Rights Watch by way of a press briefing to present a recently concluded report of their research activities in Jamaica.
We find the approach of this organization unacceptably insensitive for the following reasons:
To link the homophobia issue to the response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic is inappropriate. The Government of Jamaica through various Ministries and agencies has taken measures to arrest the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
We are concerned that the policy of HRW as stated by them is to release their report to the public at the same time as they release it to the government authorities. This government is open to the sharing of public information, but proper procedures, rules and courtesies must always apply. HRW seems not to accept that the duly elected government of a sovereign nation has a right to hear and respond to the views of those who are accommodated by our country and claim that they wish to improve the quality of life of our citizens.
The government welcomes dialogue in these circumstances rather than public confrontation.
We also as the duly elected representatives of the people feel that it is the people who must set our agenda in respect of the legislation which we pass or the repeal of any existing laws. We are certainly not about to respond to any organization, external to this country, which may want to dictate to us how and when to deal with the laws of our land.
We are opposed to violence against all persons and will continue to protect the rights of all citizens.

JIS Social