Haywards disown AME committee statement
A statement purporting to be the AME Church’s official position on Government’s proposal to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination was not issued by Rev Gilbert Hayward and his wife Joyce Hayward.
Rev Gilbert Hayward admonished
The Royal Gazette to “get your facts right” yesterday, saying it was incorrect to state that the May 17 statement was issued by him and his wife Rev Joyce Hayward.
“My wife knows nothing about this statement, so you better be careful as to what you are printing,” he said. “That statement was issued by the social action committee of the church.” He said he is a member of that committee, but his wife is not.
The statement, headed “The AME Church Opposes Human Rights Act Amendment”, was sent to the media by Rev Lorne Bean, understood to be the chairman of the church’s social action committee.
It listed as media contacts Rev Hayward and his wife, describing them as “reporters to the press”.
The Royal Gazette left messages at the number provided but our calls were not returned. Rev Hayward said he had been off the Island and did not receive any messages.
Asked why the statement claimed to be the church’s position, he referred us to the social action committee. Asked who the members of the social action committee were, he said he did not know.
Rev Hayward also refused to discuss whether he agreed with the statement sent out with his name on it.
We also attempted to discuss the matter with Rev Bean but he did not return e-mail and phone messages.
The May 17 statement said the church did not support Government’s proposal to amend the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
It later emerged that the statement was unauthorised, and the church has yet to agree on a unified position.