Sarah Speaks Out and Marcus Day has his Say!

Viewers of Sunday TALK with Rick Wayne got way more than they anticipated when they tuned in to Choice TV last Sunday. The show, which started out with the usual calm and calculating Wayne discussing issues ranging from the government’s unfulfilled $100 million election campaign promise to the unresolved Black Sigatoka outbreak, ended prematurely during a heated exchange between Wayne and guest Sarah Flood-Beaubrun.
A former minister and Caricom representative at the UN, Flood-Beaubrun made several statements which Wayne considered “vague” and “self-serving.” While referring to the issue of same-sex marriages and gay lobbyists, Beaubrun said: “They want to have free sex. They want to legitimize every possible sort of sexual perversion you can think of.”
Of course the host did his usual thing: he interrupted to have her rephrase her response. But the adamant Beaubrun seemed determined to continue her passionate assault on gays. From this point, it became an uphill battle for both host and guest, creating the perfect show. Doubtless people around the country must’ve been glued to their TV.
“The laws are already sufficient to protect every human person, including gays,  the  former gender affairs minister insisted.
“I’m not saying you’re right or wrong,” the host interrupted. “I am saying the gay person may feel that the laws that protect you from battering may be encouraging attacks on gays. They have the right to petition their government for a change in the law that would not leave them open to attacks based on their sexual preference.”
“But they are already protected,” Flood-Beaubrun insisted.
“You’re sounding so unfair,” said the host. “You are saying, look, as far as I’m concerned, they are already protected, the heck with them. But they are lobbying because they disagree with you. Because they feel unprotected by existing laws.”
His guest suggested that the host move on to something else. He refused.
“You’ve given me the argument of a religionist while refusing to hear me out,” Wayne said. When finally Wayne moved on to another topic, Beaubrun insisted on giving her side of an incident she claimed had taken place while she was representing Caricom at a UN meeting.
“In June of last year,” she said, “I was the lead negotiator for Caricom
on the political declaration
on HIV and AIDS. Basically, there was this high-level meeting that was
supposed to take place
where heads of governments and presidents were supposed to come and after 30 years evaluate the progress we have made in HIV/AIDS. They would have signed this declaration that would pave the way to keep this epidemic under control. Caricom had agreed, as a negotiating tactic, that it would not accept at the outset language relating to ‘men who have sex with men, sex workers’ in the document.”
Midway into the negotiations, she claimed, she had received an email from Caricom Ambassador Noel St Clair indicating that he had also been sent the email from Dr Marcus Day out of St Lucia.
According to Flood-Beaubrun, the email stated that she was a conservative and that she had opposed language relating to men having sex with men (MSMs) in the document.
She added: “He wrote that I support the Holy See, that I support the positions of Egypt and, as a conservative, I should not be negotiating on behalf of Caricom and should be removed from the negotiation. Marcus Day claimed that I was using Caricom to advance my personal views.”
Following the negotiations, she said, she was sent on leave as a result of the email.
Dr Marcus Day is the director of Caribbean Drug and Alcohol Research Institute. The STAR spoke with Dr Day who had this to say: “Mrs Flood-Beaubrun was not putting forth Caricom’s approved position on sexual and reproductive health rights for women but in fact was putting forth her own personal beliefs and supporting the beliefs of the Vatican on these issues.”
Day claims that Caricom heads of governments have stated their policy towards sexual reproductive health and towards HIV “and it’s in the PANCAP Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework 2008, 2012, 2013.”
“When anybody represents themselves as representing Caricom,” he went on, “they have to represent Caricom at the approved framework that the heads have approved. Mrs Flood-Beaubrun did not do that. She gave her own personal views.  What I did was write to Caricom, making it clear that Caricom was not being very well represented in New York, and that the position being put forth by the Caricom representative was not that of the community, therefore needed to change.”
While on Sunday TALK, Beaubrun also accused NGOs in St Lucia of having a financial agenda: “This is all about money . . . after the incident happened at the UN where this email was published about me, PANCAP and Caricom called a number of us to a meeting and they said openly that the funding agencies, the funding partners, the EU and the US had told them that unless they got the language relating to men who have sex with men and sex workers in the document, there would be no money or any of the AIDS programs. I guess that’s why they were so anxious to have me removed from the negotiations.”
On Wednesday Dr Day and Dr Stephen King both disagreed. They were still being funded, they said, regardless of any language conditions.
“My opinion is that civil society provides the lion share of the work that is done around HIV/AIDS,” said Dr Day. “All the other issues that take place . . . government only has the ability to do so much and it’s for civil society organizations to take an interest, for whatever reasons.   I personally fund out of my pay.”
After trying desperately to voice her opinion during the last segment of the show, a visibly frustrated Flood-Beaubrun demanded time to react to a caller. “Two minutes have passed and you have not allowed me to make my point about the common good,” she said. “I would like to make my point. Either you allow me to make my point or end the show.”
“Okay, then,” said Wayne “We’ll end the show. That’s it.”
Television screens across the country went blank but the mics remained on. The explosive exchanges between host and guest continued for another 30 seconds. Sunday TALK, like its DBS predecessor, remains predictably unpredictable!

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