Minister within the Ministry of Finance Juan Edghill has strongly rejected calls made by the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) for his removal from his governmental position.
SASOD’s call came in response to what the organisation considered hate speech expressed by the Government Minister on the radio programme “Hard Talk”.
Bishop Edghill told a News Conference on Wednesday that he does not intend to give attention to a matter that is undeserving, noting that his attitude to the matter will be guided by a scripture from the Bible; Mathews 5:11: “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
He said the facts will show that he was invited in his capacity a Christian leader, thus his opinion, to which he is entitled like anyone else, was expressed in that context. “It’s strange that they didn’t attack my theology,” he stated.
Edghill reiterated the fact that Guyana is a secular state, and whilst he may not share the same ideology as many others, he was not about to force his views on anyone.
Dismissing SASOD’s statement that his comments were tantamount to “hate speech”, he challenged anyone to listen to the programme and point out where any such facet of his remarks were indicative of the accusation. “Let Guyana judge me, Let the tape roll,” he stated, adding that SASOD should have the decency to be accurate in reporting what he said.
Describing the homosexual lifestyle as “un-natural”, Minister Edghill said his words should not be twisted by a group that is seeking to move from being a Non-Governmental Organisation to one with political aspirations. The church, he said, has always maintained its belief of the sanctity of marriage as a union between a male and a female, hence the unwavering view that homosexuality is un-natural, given the fact that, in the case of humans, two of the same sex are unable to reproduce. “It is biologically impossible”.
He said that while he has never witnessed nor had evidence of any discrimination or abuse against gays in Guyana, he has personally been abused by a homosexual for simply expressing his views. “I want to know what name you would give to those persons, they call us homophobic, but I want to know what you call a homosexual that abuses a heterosexual.”
Those who make the claim about him promoting discrimination are either ultra-sensitive or mischievous, he added. He said he has hired, and knows persons who are practicing alternative lifestyles and has never shown any ill-will or harsh feelings towards them.
SASOD said the Government Minister was adamant and unapologetic for his “hateful comments which were clearly intended to incite and ill-will against LGBT people, which is a violation of Article 146 (3) of the Guyana Constitution”.
Managing Director of SASOD, Joel Simpson at a Tuesday press conference was adamant that “Edghill’s inflammatory edict amounts to hate speech as described by Article 146 (3) of the Guyana constitution as “speeches or other expressions, in whatever form, capable of exciting hostility or ill-will against any person or class of persons.”