The Prime Minister of Jamaica has said that the country will not decriminalise homosexual acts and that he has a duty to “protect” the country.

Bruce Golding was speaking in Parliament in support of a new sexual offences bill.

“We are not going to yield to the pressure, whether that pressure comes from individual organisations, individuals, whether that pressure comes from foreign governments or groups of countries, to liberalise the laws as it relates to buggery,” he said.

The British government has raised the issue with Mr Golding.

Gareth Thomas, minister of state at the Department for International Development, told PinkNews.co.uk last November that tackling state and cultural homophobia is vital to the fight against HIV in the Caribbean.

He said he was concerned that “things are not getting better on either front, and more change is necessary.”

The dancehall music scene on the island is notorious for its homophobia, with many artists taking pleasure in calling for gays and lesbians to be murdered.

That widespread hatred is evident in the wider culture, with reports of gay men and lesbians being attacked by gangs and murdered.

International human rights organisations have described Jamaica as one of the most homophobic places in the world.