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On Tuesday, October 29, 2019, CAPRI with the kind support of the European Union, launched its study on the Economic and Societal Costs of Sexuality Based Discrimination in Jamaica at a public forum titled, Paying for Prejudice. CAPRI brought together Dr. Damien King, Executive Director, CAPRI; Dr. Terri-Karelle Reid, TV Host and Social Media Influencer; Mr. Jaevion Nelson, Executive Director, Equality for All Foundation Jamaica; Ms. Donna Duncan-Scott, Group Executive Director, Culture and Leadership, JMMB; and Dr. Michael Abrahams, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, to discuss the think tank’s findings and recommendations.
Dr. King, in his presentation, shared that discrimination against LGBT people could be costing Jamaica US$79M annually. He further added that the total cost of treatment of HIV due to discrimination is an additional US$424 million.
Two of CAPRI’s recommendations coming out of this research is for sections 76, 77, and 79 of the Offences Against the Person Act, which criminalize consensual same-sex conduct, be repealed. This discriminatory law violates Universal Human Rights and is a symbol of state-sponsored discrimination against LGBT people in Jamaica, thereby justifying the violence they often experience. CAPRI believes that the matter should not be put to a referendum, allowing the majority to vote on the rights of a minority. Instead, the case should be resolved through the legislative process in the Parliament. The second recommendation is for the gender-specific definitions of sexual intercourse and rape from the Sexual Offences Act 2009 be amended.
The launch event was held at the Knutsford Court Hotel (Blue Mountain Suite).