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Jamaica law chief slams ‘disrespectful’ US embassy for flying Pride flag after Orlando massacre

Nick Duffy June 16, 2016

Jamaica’s Attorney General has hit out at the US Embassy for daring to fly a Pride flag after the shocking massacre in Orlando.

49 people were killed and 53 injured in the shocking terrorist hate crime attack over the weekend, which saw a gunman open fire inside The Pulse gay bar in Orlando, Florida.

Across the world, countries mourned the victims by flying the Pride flag at half-mast and lighting up buildings in rainbow colours.

In Jamaica, where homosexuality is illegal and extreme homophobia is still commonplace, the decision of the US embassy to fly a rainbow flag has stirred up anti-gay sentiment.

The official US Embassy Twitter account had posted: “Across the globe US Embassies flying our flag half-mast in memorial & rainbow flag in solidarity w LGBT our citizens.

“Our flag at half-mast in memory; we fly the rainbow flag in solidarity. Thx u to all Jamaicans sending condolences.”

The country’s Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte had responded: “I strongly condemn #OrlandoNightClubShooting but find it disrespectful of Jamaica’s laws to have #RainbowFlag flown here. #MyPersonalView.”

The US Embassy diplomatically replied: “We’re listening. Explain the legal reasoning? It was an attack of terror and hate, targeting the LGBT community”.

After being challenged over her views, the politician claimed her comments had been “misconstrued”.

She told the Jamaica Observer: “Among the multiple issues are gun control, radicalisation, treatment of differences – be they religious, sexual orientation or otherwise. These are tough issues to handle.

“Here in Jamaica we have so much work ahead of us to reorder our society. We need everyone on board. Personally, I respect and celebrate our differences as people and see them as reflective of our humanity

“Professionally, I’m sworn to uphold and defend the constitution and laws of Jamaica. In both spheres I remain a sincere advocate for fair and proper treatment of everyone. And I will never condone the use of violence to deal with our differences.”

Senator KD Knight condemned the comments, telling the newspaper :”I thought that in all the circumstances, whatever one may think in terms of the gay community, the fact is that it was insensitive to speak the way she did.

“The US Government will be surprised that the attorney general of Jamaica does not know that the land on which the embassy is built or located is regarded as a part of US soil. They are free to do as they wish there.”

More: Americas, Jamaica, Orlando Massacre, US

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