Suckoo defends motion, apologises for offence

| 21/08/2015 | 152 Comments
Cayman News Service

Alva Suckoo, Bodden Town MLA (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

(CNS): Backbench MLA Alva Suckoo has apologised for offending anyone with the comments he made in the Legislative Assembly last week during the controversial debate on the preservation of marriage but has taken aim at the chair of the Human Rights Commission, James Austin-Smith, and the letter he sent to the premier Thursday. Suckoo claims he was not attacking anyone for their sexuality but was stating his position on marriage and the reasons why he “did not think it was acceptable to change the Constitution of the Cayman Islands to ensure this right for same-sex couples”.

“I am sorry if what I said offended anyone. It was not my intention. I was making a point about the Constitution, not the gay community,” he told CNS, as he acknowledged that unfair discrimination was wrong. “I have lived overseas and know what it is like to be a minority and it is unfortunate people thought I was discriminating.”

Suckoo sent a statement to the press Friday morning (posted below) suggesting that Austin-Smith “needs to stop sensationalising the issue” and accused him of a political agenda. Suckoo did not criticise the speech delivered by his Bodden Town colleague and veteran MLA, Anthony Eden on 13 August, but he also said he supported the position taken by Wayne Panton who declared his full backing for the LGBT Community on Tuesday.

“Let me state that I am not distancing myself from my colleagues in Bodden Town. Mr Eden made his points and I support and defend his right to do so on the floor of the House. I also support and respect the Hon. Wayne Panton for his position and subsequent comments,” Suckoo wrote, before taking aim at Austin-Smith who has called on the premier to condemn the comments made in the LA and introduce same-sex unions.

Suckoo said he was suspicious of Austin-Smith’s to “attack” on his parliamentary privilege, as he accused the HRC chair of being silent “on the much larger issues”. Suckoo claimed he was being attacked because he took a position contrary to the agenda to legalise same-sex marriage but denied engaging in hate speech.

However, in his short contribution seconding Eden’s private member’s motion Suckoo had made a number of discriminatory remarks himself and offered support to Eden after he finished his shocking presentation. Suckoo stated, “”I think my colleague covered all of the important points and I want to thank him …”

Suckoo had also claimed that the Cayman Islands had “different cultural values” and same-sex marriage was “not reflective of our cultural values”. He also implied that he believe that homosexuality was a lifestyle choice or a “concept” that he said he could not support, describing it as a sin and asked who would legislate to allow sin, as he spoke about drug addicts and adulterers.

Talking to CNS about his position on the issue Friday after releasing the letter to the press, he admitted that when it comes to preaching morals from the floor of the Legislative Assembly, politicians are in danger of making themselves targets. But he denied that he had committed adultery, in the face of numerous allegations being made about him in relation to his own private life.

Suckoo also took aim at same-sex couples as parents, and said such unions were not healthy for raising children, as he accused lesbians of rearing masculine girls based on what he claimed was a social study. However, he dismissed the body of scientific evidence now pointing to the occurrence of same-sex relationships in the natural world.

Indicating he did not want to discriminate against gay people, he dismissed the need to legislate for same-sex unions, saying he had received no representation for it and did not think his constituents wanted it. He accused the campaign for marriage in the LGBT community and the promotion of gay lifestyles as “suspicious” because “heterosexuals don’t promote their lifestyle” and gay behaviour was “creeping into our part of world”, as he wondered what the agenda was.

Despite his own discriminatory comments, Suckoo said he opposed the oppression of human beings and even after offering his support for denying LGBT people the right to marry, he said they need not fear he was attempting to ”restrict rights”, suggesting that, like drug addicts and adulterers, homosexuals should be helped.

Suckoo is not alone, however, in his apparent confusion over what constitutions discrimination.

Winston Connolly also released a statement Thursday to The Cayman Reporter stating that he opposes discrimination in any form but did not condemn Eden’s comments. He said he did not agree with some of the comments made during the debate but he supported the motion. Hovering between articulating the need for an end to discrimination against everyone and opposing marriage for same-sex couples, he pointed to the real issue at the heart of the current controversy.

“When a politician refuses to answer a question, they feel that whatever they say they will lose. Especially on this topic, as you feel trapped between appeasing socially conservative supporters and being painted as a ‘bigot’ by opponents,” Connolly said.

Following the debate, Wayne Panton remains the only politician to roundly condemn the comments made in the LA. The premier has also remained silent on the issue and has not yet responded to the HRC chair’s letter.

Alva Suckoo’s letter to the press regarding HRC criticisms 21.08.15

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Category: Government oversight, Politics

Comments (152)

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  1. My Belief. says:

    All, just a little order here.

    1) I respect Mr. Eden and his comments for what they are. His opinion. At least I know where he stands. It doesn’t mean I agree with them.There are those in society that talk outta both sides and never really take a stand. He did. It’s his right. It’s his mouth. You don’t want to hear it. Don’t listen. What he did was follow what he believed and what his constituents wanted and he voiced his opinion. To say it is wrong to state ones opinion, wether you agree with it or not, is the suppression of free speech.

    2) There are those in society that are what are known as opportunists.They take the opportunity (usually a bad thing occurring to someone else) and attempt to skue it to their agenda. These are the dregs of society. They climb on the backs of real hard working people. They need to be called out for what they are.

    3) CNS: As noted previously, you’ll have to send me some kind of proof of this claim before it gets posted.

    4) I know several persons of differing positions in the LGBT community locally. Besides a few bad apples, most understand that the term Marriage is a religious term. They don’t want to be married. What they want is to be able to have a legal union regonized by government which would afford them the same rights as a couple married or unioned under the law.

    As for my stance on the matter, I wouldn’t discriminate against a person.
    I have a belief of nature. I believe in the Bible, though I am not a fanatic.
    But what one person wants to do with themselves is their choice. It’s their body, not yours.

    Nor do I expect to capitalize on matters for my own benefit. I believe those that do that are scum and are the worst people around.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, everyone is entitled to free speech. However, when you state all homosexuals are evil and start talking about man-boy love, and sucking the brains out of a baby skull while using the bible to support those opinions then you lose respect.
      If he said all black people we’re evil because it says so right here in this book then ya’ll would think he lost his mind. But say all homosexuals are evil because it says so right here and no one bats an eye. It’s bigotry, hypocrisy and discrimination at it’s finest so don’t try and condone it as free speech.

      • Anonymous says:

        He also abused his privilege as an MLA to hide behind as he made threats of physical violence against other people. So add coward to the list and abuse of his government position.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hey Al,

    Its called the Human Rights Commission. Just to help you; that means that it is a ‘commission’ which deals with ‘human rights’ – the clue’s in the title.

    The issues that you refer to are not human rights issues. They are matters for the Legislative Assembly (or possibly the labour board). Know anyone in the LA who’s not too busy worrying about what other adults do in their own bedrooms to spend some time sorting them out? The 11 years “since Hurricane Ivan” does seem to be quite a long time to have done nothing.

    Interesting that you accuse Austin-Smith of “sensationalizing” the issues. The record does rather reflect that it was Mr Eden who did that – you remember – by likening homosexuals to child rapists and people who f*** animals. You’re right that you didn’t explicitly say that yourself (although you did second the motion and thank him for making “all the important points”), what you did was liken gays and lesbians to “adulterers”, “alcoholics” and “drug addicts”. If you’re hoping for congratulations for the moderate terms you used or your forward-thinking stance you might need to think again.

    I guess when you have no response on the issues you just have to attack the person instead?

    • Anonymous says:

      The following come ts attributed to MLA backbencher shows that we need more maturity in the House of Assembly, for the issues he seeks to describe as issuesof Human Rights , in fact, pertain to the responsibility of every sky Larkin MLA who has been voted in by the people. it is your job ,MLA Suckoo yours and that of your ZM/C4C coalition as well as the opposition members to solve. Grow up politicians get a grip, reead more, work for your pay and stop with the vitriolic bullshit, your country is dying slowly because of lack of focus, vision and direction. Earn ya keep politicos.

      ““Perhaps he can also write a letter about the growing issue of families losing their homes due to … the inability to secure employment because of the unscrupulous and illegal hiring practices of persons in the same industry that Mr. Austin-Smith has made his fortune,” Mr. Suckoo said. “Perhaps he can write a letter about the growing concerns that migrant workers and Caymanians are now living in substandard, unhealthy and inadequate housing …. Why doesn’t he write a letter about the high incidence of spousal abuse suffered by our women, or how foreign dead-beat fathers here as permanent residents have abandoned their Caymanian wives and children and left them to the mercy of the world after getting residency? “

  3. Anonymous says:

    So, let me get this straight: its OK for Suckoo, Eden and Archer to waste time making speeches in support of a motion over a provision that is already enshrined in Cayman law, rather than spending time on more important issues. But its not OK for Mr. Austin-Smith to waste time rebutting them?

    I never thought I’d say this about Al, but his logic is starting to sound more and more like Big Mac’s.

    • Fiyah says:

      Spoken like a true xxx, leave the man alone he is representing the Caymanian people and he is doing a good job, much better than the rest of them

  4. Big whopper says:

    So..peoole that condem homosexuality are bigoted?…ok let’s have a discussion on legal brothels and allow me to have my two wives..and then we can see who is the bigot. God help us we are up S.. Creek..(no pun indended)

    • Anonymous says:

      Same old arguments made about whites having sex with blacks 50 years ago.
      You all would be very comfortable with Isis and other religious bigots. You are on the wrong side of history and are embarrassing your future generations.

      • Anonymous says:

        One has nothing to do with the other. False equivalence. There have always been interracial marriages. Moses had a black wife. No one is pure anything.

  5. Anonymous says:

    That is some ignorant stuff coming out of your mouth Mr. Suckoo.

  6. Anonymous says:

    WHO- we are disregarding and disrespecting you, please allow us to do so in silence, and stop dropping pins.

    • Southsounder says:

      Accusing James Austin Smith of having a political agenda, is ignorant, diversionary nonsense….he’s not even a voter!
      Stop backtracking and trying to excuse your Neanderthal thought process and please engage your brain, the next time you intend to open your mouth on the public stage.
      Your opinions are offensive and you should know better, just for once, say sorry and shut up, nobody is interested in your archaic sexist opinions.

  7. Anonymous says:

    When did asking for the same rights as everyone else become “promoting your lifestyle”? The LGBT community isn’t asking everyone to become gay. They’re merely asking to be accepted as they are.

    • Anonymous says:

      Am I the only skeptic who sees Tony and Alva jumping under the bus in order to relieve the rest of the LA from the ongoing criticisms of the port, the environment etc ? All these major projects have been relegated to last weeks back pages.
      Typical deflections from the major problems hanging over the Cayman Islands.
      The HRC Commissioner has had his say, he has recommended that the law be enacted. The constitution doesn’t need to be altered.
      Well done Tony. You have given your colleagues and the opposition time to regroup and with a big broom shove all the real matters under the carpet once again.
      A real martyr for the cause!

      • Anon says:

        Ha Ha – last week when I read what was said in the L.A. the thought did cross my mind that perhaps Mr Eden is a sly old fox who is actually pro marriage equality and that he was playing devil’s advocate and attempting to marginalize the “anti” campaign to bible thumping lunatics who would also like to see the criminalization of adultery, wearing mixed fabrics, eating shellfish or whatever other nutty “sins” are listed in the bible. i.e. a position that 99% of people would never support

        Whether he intended to do so or not it looks like that is what he has achieved. Poor old grandpa needs to keep his rants out of the L.A. and firmly inside is potting shed (his grandchildren must be mortified!)

        • Anonymous says:

          Indeed, Tony and Alva and me like to debate the writings of Sun Tzu and Machiavelli and how their techniques can apply to modern politics. I keep trying to explain that “The Prince” is a satire, but they out-reason me.

  8. Anonymous says:

    So to summarize Al’s comments: “I don’t want to discriminate against anyone…..well except those people, they don’t deserve the same rights as me”.

    I’m extremely disappointed in Al.

  9. Anon says:

    Oh My! Brilliant…….

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