Boycott Jamaica to push for an end to anti-gay attacks?

Published: August 25, 2013

 Boycotts are very blunt instruments that one uses to get attention. They should be used sparingly or they can do more harm than good. I only recommend that they be resorted to when there is no other way to get the intended party to take you seriously.

Jamaica was the first country to impose sanctions on South Africa over apartheid. And while our financial impact on bringing about the end of that dreadful system must have been minuscule, a boycott of Jamaica by Global North countries over our treatment of LGBT persons would be devastating. The country is right now in a very precarious financial situation and a lot is riding on the upcoming winter tourist season. That much was made clear by the Jamaican High Commissioner to Canada when I met with her [Aug. 23]. I understand that Canada is Jamaica’s fastest-growing tourism market and very soon Canadians will start researching their winter vacation destinations.
The Caribbean region has certainly seen some territories make amazing strides regarding inclusiveness and tolerance. Cuba (always a very popular destination for Canadian tourists and only 90 miles from Jamaica) has held very flashy gay pride parades. Curacao will hold its first Pride march soon and all the Dutch Islands recognize same-sex marriages, even if a few still will not perform them. The French islands now perform same-sex marriages, and the British territories (Bermuda, Cayman, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, etc.) have very progressive anti-discrimination laws. Puerto Rico is also set to pass sweeping anti-discrimination legislation. All of these islands still have a ways to go in terms of full LGBT equality. However, the governments have laid the foundation for this equality to be realized.
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