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JAMAICA Labour Party (JLP) candidate for West Portland Daryl Vaz says he has received death threats after asking the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) to state whether it has got funding from the international gay community.
According to Vaz, he got two calls on Sunday in which the callers, he said, admonished him for "fighting against" gays after threatening his life.
"Yu mus' dead before election," Vaz reported one of the callers as saying. The other, he said, told him: "Yu gwine cause PNP fi lose."
Yesterday, the police confirmed that Vaz had reported the threats to them.
"We have received a report of threats on the life of a candidate," a senior police officer, who requested anonymity, told the Observer.
"The threats are being investigated by the National Intelligence Bureau and the Criminal Investigation Branch."
On Sunday, Vaz was reported as asking the PNP to state whether it received funding from the gay community and what, if any, commitments were given in exchange for that funding.
Vaz suggested that PNP President Portia Simpson Miller had injected homosexuality into the election campaign when, in response to a question in the national leadership debate last week, she said that a future PNP Government would review the buggery law and initiate a conscience vote on the issue in the legislature.
Vaz, who made the query in his personal capacity, said he was trying to ascertain whether there was any truth to claims that the PNP had received money from the international gay community.
"We would like to know if this is true; and more importantly, what commitments the PNP has made in exchange for that funding, because we know that is how it works," he said.
"We are not happy about the opposition leader introducing the issue of homosexuality into the campaign and we are wondering how deep it goes and how much involved the international gay community is with the PNP. We have been hearing of the interest that that community has taken in our elections since her pronouncement," said Vaz. "It is the first time that we have seen such strong interest from the gay community in any Jamaican election," he added.
Vaz was referring to a report last week on gay website, Gaystarnews.com, praising as "positive" Simpson Miller's promise to review the buggery law and not to discriminate against homosexuals in appointing her Cabinet.
The Gaystarnews.com story also said that the PNP has at least two gay candidates contesting the upcoming election and one of them is being targeted by the governing JLP in a homophobic campaign.