Buju Banton’s guilty verdict … now everyone has sum’n fi seh

So as the reactions continue to come in days after the verdict was given in Buju Banton’s second trial for his narcotics case for cocaine in Tampa Florida, interestingly many of these voices were noticeably missing during the early days of Mr. Myries’ case even during the mistrial of the first instance where there was a hung jury we heard nothing now all of a sudden everybody talking, one wonders if it is to get mileage due to the feeling he Buju was supposedly set up by the gays which is an impossibility in and of itself when the very investigating agency the DEA Drug Enforcement Agency nuh tek talk from others worse yet minority groups such as the lgbt activists. We know that the agency has some Christian conservative leanings so that wouldn’t make it fi gays fi infiltrate.

Here are the two latest additions to the rant as carried by the Jamaica Observer today February 27th. Sizzla and Queen Ifrica, Sizzla of course is no stranger to his own share of problems with the Stop Murder Music Campaigns in Europe, The UK and the USA with his songs attacking homosexuality. Meanwhile Queen Ifrica “fish song” also took a hit at the supposed stigmas and perceptions of gay male life. Check out this post from GLBTQ Jamaica on “Keep it to Yuself Mentality”

Also see: Dancehall Community Mum from Buju’s woes began

Steven Jackson wrote in the Observer:

ON THE BUJU VERDICT – Sizzla, Ifrica comment on the deejay’s incarceration

DEEJAYS Sizzla and Queen Ifrica have expressed divergent views on the guilty verdict of reggae star Buju Banton. Sizzla has called for Banton’s release from ‘Babylon’ whilst Ifrica has warned wayward artistes to take heed.

“Free Buju Banton, burn up di wicked and trod a Mount Zion/ Red yuh nah ready and mi tuff like iron,” sang Sizzla in an adaptation of Trod Mount Zion at the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) Black History concert series on Thursday morning in Kingston.

.Deejays eager for crowd response now toast Banton similar to the Free Jah Cure slogan in the mid-2000s.

“Buju Banton, they just can’t stop you now, even though they set their traps they just can’t stop you now,” was another Sizzla adaptation.

Sizzla referenced Banton five times during his 45-minute set which included 24 songs: Holding Firm, Git it Right Here, Mash Dem Down, Trod Mount Zion, Simplicity, Why Should I, Praise Jah, Guide Over Us, Good Ways, Words of Divine, Woman I Need You, Thank You Mama, Can’t Keep a Good Man Down, Dry Cry, All the Best There Is, Get to the Point, Karate, So Lovely, No Way, Pump Up, Give Me a Try, Be Strong, Black Woman and Child and Take Myself Away.

“If yuh love Buju Banton seh Gargamel,” stated Sizzla whose empathy for Banton runs deep. In 2005, Sizzla was one of 33 persons arrested — but never charged — following a police find of six AK47 rifles, three sniper rifles, one M16 assault rifle, two shot guns, one Intratech 9 submachine gun, 23 AK47 rounds of ammunition, 31 rounds of 9mm rounds, four M16 rounds, two bullet-proof vests, 11 assorted magazines, and a silencer buried in a bag in a chicken coop at Judgment Yard — a Rastafari compound to which Sizzla is affiliated.

Queen Ifrica alluded to Banton in her commentary and the crowd howled at the inference.

“It’s a lesson to us all, look before you leap,” stated Queen Ifrica mid-song she later added: “When you see an artiste behaviour stray, tell them to stop it before it’s too late, if you see them a do wrong, save them from the atrocities.”

Banton was found guilty on three charges by a 12-member panel of jurors at the United States Sam M Gibbons Federal Court in Tampa. The artiste was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five or more kilogrammes of cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offence and using the wires to facilitate a drug-trafficking offence. However, he was found not guilty of attempted possession with intent to distribute cocaine. The artiste hugged his lawyer David Markus when the verdict was read. Many of the artiste’s supporters left the courtroom crying.

On February 13, one day before the start of his second trial, Banton, born Mark Myrie, won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album for the project, Before the Dawn. A US industry accolade for the artiste plagued by cancellations of the tour to support his previous release, Rasta Got Soul. Buju Banton said the win signified that his music was being played and understood by those in the US.

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Threat issued to letter writing activist …….

Bad news has once again hit us as one of the more open voices in the national agitation to counter the homonegative and homophobic space that is Jamaica has been hit by an open threat sent to him via email, of course no threat in his case can be taken as a joke and must be treated with all seriousness, Mr. Maurice Tomlinson Atty-at-law based in Western Jamaica and a consultant to AIDSFREEWORLD and a former Board member of a local AIDS organization was sent an email to this effect:

From: sydney dixon <dkjuice40@gmail.com>
To: maurice_tomlinson@yahoo.com
Sent: Fri, February 25, 2011 12:22:16 PM
Subject:

listen battyman we in Jamaica wont endorse r accept you faggots no matter what the fuck u guys try 2 say r do…..get that through ur thick skulls!!!!!!!!!!!!
we have different culture n upbringing fr north americans or whomever else …..you should consider moving sumwhere there……in the meantime shut the fuck up r you will fucking die!!!!!!!!

ENDS

Of course he has by now reported the infraction to Google as this is how Google’s policy on offensive emails outlines:

Harassment from a Gmail user

Gmail’s Terms of Use do state in Section 3 that:

“You shall not, shall not agree to, and shall not authorize or encourage any third party to: (i) use the Service to upload, transmit or otherwise distribute any content that is unlawful, defamatory, harassing, abusive, fraudulent, obscene, contains viruses, or is otherwise objectionable as reasonably determined by Google.”

First, if you feel that you are in danger, we suggest contacting your local authorities. For nuisance emails, we suggest setting up a filter in Gmail to send mail from the sender directly to your trash. If you have a Gmail address, please read How do I set up filters? for instructions.

Because message headers and senders can be spoofed using a variety of means, we’re unable to take action on any user without further verification. In accordance with state and federal law, it is Google’s policy only to provide information about a specific Gmail user pursuant to a valid third party subpoena or other appropriate legal process. You can report a Gmail user who is violating Gmail policies here.

We apologize for any inconvenience, and we’re sorry that you’re receiving such messages.

updated 01/24/2011

ENDS

Mr. Tomlinson at this time of the struggle in Jamaica operates openly using his full name in his letters to both major newspapers and the email apparently is a response to a letter published in the Observer to a recent incident in Montego Bay where police officers raided a club and injured several persons as was carried here on this blog entitled:

Big Blow For Homeless/Displaced MSMs In Western Jamaica …

here is the letter entitled Battle Royal:

Battle royal

Dear Editor,

Reports reaching J-FLAG are that just after midnight on February 20, four police pick-up trucks and a van normally used to transport prisoners swooped down on the only gay club along Montego Bay’s tourist Hip-Strip. About 20 heavily armed officers jumped from the vehicles, kicked in doors, aggressively accosted patrons, indiscriminately beat and pistol-whipped them, and chased everyone from the venue.

During the operation, homophobic slurs were hurled and this seemed to have encouraged patrons of nearby clubs to join in the melee by throwing bottles, stones and other missiles as individuals fled for their lives. One patron described it as a mob scene, and another who asked an officer, “If this is how you as a law enforcement officer treat us, how do you expect other people to behave?” was rewarded with several kicks for his effrontery. He later took refuge for several hours in an abandoned building.
At least ten people are reported to have been treated at hospital for injuries received during the raid while others decided to nurse their wounds at home.

This latest attack follows a similar one in Kingston in early February when police without badges were reported to have raided a gay club in Half-Way-Tree, pointing guns at patrons and shining powerful flashlights in their faces. On neither occasion did officers disclose the purpose of the raids, but they clearly have one intent, namely to intimidate and remind lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) Jamaicans that their kind are not welcome here and they certainly don’t have the right to assemble and socialize peacefully.

Maurice Tomlinson

Montego Bay, St James 

maurice_tomlinson@yahoo.com

ENDS

Speculation is that the letter may have come from elements in the police or even the cops allegedly associated with the party promoter in the story above who are upset that the matter has reached the public domain via this letter and that possible strong disciplinary action is forth coming following the incident in Montego Bay at the lgbt club in question also the coinciding guilty verdict of the Buju Banton trial and the perception that the gay community overseas “set him up” for him to have been found so. Certainly we have to be vigilant be it as it is now as with threats whether through inter community linkages to outsiders or an ignorant homophobic hot heads who feel even more justified in harming GLBTQ people in retaliation for Buju’s problems overseas forgetting or ignoring the fact that he Buju got himself in his own mess by virtue of his own words.

meanwhile here is a short precise letter from the Jamaica Observer speaking to the hypocrisy of it all.
Dear Editor,
I cannot understand why so many people continue to display such blatant hypocrisy in their continued support for Buju. Most of those who support him continue to think that he was set up by certain interest groups. Few consider the possibility that he is actually guilty.
Many say that he was tricked into committing a crime. This is total rubbish. Buju himself admitted that he was stupid for allowing himself to get involved in this drug deal. Too bad for him – that is no excuse for committing a crime. Now he is going to do the time. What’s wrong with that?
Unlike Jamaica, the American justice system, with all of its imperfections, does work. We need to grow up. Justice must be for all, including reggae stars like Buju.

Michael A Dingwall
Kingston
michael_a_dingwall@hotmail.com
ENDS
Also see this post from Gay Jamaica Watch:
Get the full 62 paged document or Buju Banton speaking to the then informant here:http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2010/PDFs/banton.pdf

I will be keeping close tabs on this one and we hope it was just a spoof although we as activists may not agree on the ways forward or have our own strong opinions on issues one thing is clear for all there must be the preservation of life, love and liberty.

My prayers are with you Mr. Tomlinson

Update march 28, 2011

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has granted Precautionary Measures against Jamaica in relation to the death threat I received for reporting on police raids of gay clubs in Jamaica.from the desk of Maurice Tomlinson:

“The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has granted Precautionary Measures against Jamaica in relation to the death threat I received for reporting on police raids of gay clubs in Jamaica.”

Peace and tolerance

H

Boom bye bye? (Observer Editorial)

WE share the immense feeling of disappointment and pain that has met the sad pass to which Mr Mark Anthony Myrie — ‘Buju Banton’ to his legion of fans — came Tuesday in a Tampa, Florida court.

Through his first trial, and the second, we had hoped that the gun and drugs charges against him would have been proven false, and we desperately wanted to believe that his boastful talk about drugs was just him running off at the mouth and nothing else. Clearly, the 12-man American jury felt otherwise.

The artiste was found guilty of three charges — conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five or more kilogrammes of cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offence, and using the wires to facilitate a drug-trafficking offence. He was found not guilty of a fourth charge — attempted possession with the intent to distribute cocaine.

We are in wonderment at the complexities of fate, that Buju Banton should be so brought low at the height of his musical career, his moment of triumph winning the coveted Grammy Award for his Before The Dawn album, from which some creative soul at the Observer quoted on the front page of yesterday’s edition.

Banton means much to reggae as a musical genre. The ‘Gargamel’ as he is also fondly called, had often been spoken of in the league of artistes named to bear the standard after the late great Jamaican reggae superstar, Mr Robert Nesta ‘Bob’ Marley. His charisma, articulation, stage presence and penchant for hit-making songs, have endeared him to many here and overseas.

This has added to the pain of his guilty verdict in the Sam M Gibbons Federal Court where supporters wept openly.

Of course, not everyone is in tears. It is widely known that Buju Banton was regarded as the arch-enemy of gays and lesbians, following the release 15 years ago of his song, Boom Bye Bye, which is treated by the gay community as the anthem of the perceived campaign by reggae artistes to advocate violence against them.

The gay community, led by a radical group calling itself Outrage! has staged protests against Banton and several other Jamaican artistes, some of whom have since been refused American visas.

It is difficult to convince some Jamaicans that the gay community is not behind the alleged entrapment and eventual conviction of Buju Banton.

If any good can come of this bad situation, we hope that its important lessons will be learnt. Mr Myrie, after all, admitted what was caught on tape, that he “talked the talk” about drug dealing to someone who turned out to be an informant and he tasted a white substance said to be cocaine. Even if all that was done in innocence, juries are not mind-readers and they look at the evidence presented to them.

Drug dealing has wreaked havoc in this world, particularly in the United States where they go aggressively after suspected dealers. If you have no intention to become involved in the drug trade, stay away from people who are. And especially do not brag about something as serious and dangerous as drugs.

We sincerely hope that Mr Myrie will win his appeal, if he follows through on what is not going to be an easy road. Otherwise, we hope that his sentence would not be too onerous and that he will return to Jamaica to continue to thrill his fans.

Too bad for what has happened, but it certainly is not the end of the road.

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Boom-bye-bye_8423522#ixzz1EsyZqsQk

Also see:

Bustamante and Buju Banton

By his own account, national hero Sir William Alexander Bustamante was born on February 24, 1884, which would be 127 years ago today. He died on August 6, 1977 at the age of 93. This national hero who was Jamaica’s first prime minister in political independence was decorated with British, Jamaican and other honours, and is arguably the most decorated Jamaican in history.

Two days ago, Mark Myrie who goes by the stage name “Buju Banton” was found guilty in Florida, USA, of dealing in cocaine. Is he really guilty or has he been framed? I do not know, but in any case it is another sad episode in the life of a popular entertainer. In the now defunct Jamaica Herald, on November 2 1992, some 18 years, three months and three weeks ago, my column was entitled, “From Busta to Buju”. At the time, it was in the news that Buju Banton’s song Boom bye-bye was causing a furore in the powerful gay communities in North America and Europe. It all happened when someone translated the lyrics into the sort of English that would be understood in North America.

(Left) BUSTAMANTE… most decorated Jamaican in history. (at Right) BANTON… didn’t seem to learn from earlier experience

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Bustamante-and-Buju-Banton_8419470#ixzz1Et06Sbmx

Also please see Caribbean Law TV’s interview with Professor David P. Rowe following the guilty verdict in the second trial of Buju Banton’s narcotics case. CLTV talked to Professor Rowe about the federal government’s process in bringing its second case, the way the defense made its arguments and the substance of the verdict.

Also see Barbara Gloudon’s opinion piece that appeared in the Jamaica Observer and posted on Gay Jamaica Watch –

Barbara Gloudon: “It isn’t the gays who’ve sent him to prison, despite all the Boom-Bye-Bye controversy. It wasn’t because he’s a black man from Ja”

As taken from the transcripts themselves in the conversation between himself and the informant (Buju didn’t know it at the time) he seems clearly interested in doing business, get the full 62 paged document here:http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2010/PDFs/banton.pdf he referred to snitches and that he didn’t event trust the privacy of the very conversation he was having then with the man named CS.

Peace and tolerance

H

 

Ruling “Not in My Cabinet” JLP politician suspected of buggery

According to the Jamaica Observer on February 23rd 2011

A Jamaica Labour Party politician has been charged with buggery.

Police report that the politician and another man held down a man at his St Andrew residence and sodomized him. The injured man reportedly made a report to the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) and was examined by a medical doctor.

The doctor reportedly found that the male victim had signs of sexual trauma and filed a report with the police.

The politician was questioned by CISOCA detectives and is still in custody along with the other accused man.

Read more: HERE

Of course by now we know it is, none other than Mr. Garnet Reid caretaker for South West St. Andrew for the ruling Jamaica Labour Party, a post on my sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch had hinted to it with was forthcoming from sources close to the happenings. Pity the Observer was afraid to publish his name. Oh well such is politics in Jamaica.  In a post from the series The Line in The Sand for the JLP installment 6 the story was briefly looked at, here is an excerpt:

Meanwhile the JLP may just face another one of those bumps which may turn out to be a bigger obstacle with the possible legal troubles of South West St. Andrew caretaker Garnett Reid (photo above) who was referred to on February 20th as a person of interest by the police for a sexual crime. He turned himself in on February 21 accompanied by his lawyer Valerie Neita Robinson according to the Gleaner. Usually when we hear designations of such eloquent wording leveled at officials or someone designated of good repute we can guess it has something of a same sex tinge to it and so we thought so it is. Allegations are so far as we know suggest he was involved in a sexual assault with another male of a young man from rural Jamaica some time last week, reports suggest Thursday February 17th.
If this one gets out there in a big way it could mean the end of the Jamaica Labour Party or at best serious damage to the JLP I fear as Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s early pronouncements on the Hardtalk Program on the BBC of “Not in My Cabinet” is fresh in the minds of many gay or straight alike. From what we were able to gather the young man was introduced to the caretaker who was captured by his look and wanted a sexual liaison to take place, however the young man did not reciprocate the affection and he was allegedly held by both Reid and another friend and acts performed on him on the faithful day, this is after spending several days at his home.
It is further alleged that the young man wanted a sizable sum of money not to pursue the matter but when the demanded sum was not produced the matter was reported to the police who have since questioned Mr. Reid.
The Jamaica Labour Party is said to be deeply disturbed by the allegations (maybe not as outlined above) but to have one of their own with such a cloud of same sex assault hanging over his head given the fact that it is the opposition that the public perception is strongest of having homosexuals in its midst then could that be a nail in the coffin for the JLP to aspire for a second term, I am sure they are doing their best to keep this one down as much as possible.

With a disgruntled lgbtq community when it comes to the JLP they most certainly won’t get a lot of pink votes. Several social network sites dedicated to removing the JLP and heavily criticizing the Prime Minister’s tenure over the years are up and running full steam.

ENDS

We all remember how Ernie Smith behaved on gays in Parliament calling gays all kinds of names and the whole nine yards.

Jamaica, never a dull day here.

The problem with cases or allegations such as these is that when they get out to the public domain the feelings of persons not supporting same sex relations and activities we are viewed as predators or paedophiles even though this case does not involve a child or teen. Already on other forums, blogs and network pages are firing off with negative comments reflecting the aformentioned perceptions coupled with the anger and disappointment of the Buju Banton cocaine trail in Florida delivered on February 22nd 2010.

UPDATE March 4, 2011

The Observer since has removed that headline of the gentleman being charged for buggery to a new entry on the matter where Mr. Reid is said to be not yet charged for is still under police arrest for the past two weeks.  The story now reads:

Garnet Reid still not charged

Attorney to file habeus corpus application for JLP councillor

DESPITE spending two weeks in jail, Jamaica Labour Party councillor for South West St Andrew Garnet Reid, has not yet been charged by the police.

Reid turned in himself to the Constant Spring Police after being named as a person of interest in connection with a sexual offence.

But according to his attorney Valerie Neita-Robertson, detectives at the Centre for Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) have not charged her client and have him languishing behind bars.

“We don’t know what is going on. There has been a grand silence,” Neita-Robertson told the Observer.

She said she will be making a habeus corpus application in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court today to seek a magistrate’s order that Reid be either charged or released.

A magistrate had ordered that Reid be brought to court yesterday but the matter hit a snag after disgruntled magistrates staged a sick out. This has forced Neita-Robertson to renew her bid to have her client released.

Reid underwent an identification parade on Tuesday but it is not clear whether or not he was pointed out.

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Garnet-Reid-still-not-charged#ixzz1FeiNTZD2

Since this news Mr. Reid is said to have tied the knot with a female some months after with speculation being that he may have come under pressure to do so so as to remove any perceptions of his sexuality.

Peace and tolerance

H

Big Blow for homeless/displaced MSMs in Western Jamaica …..

Another big blow was dealt to the Jamaican GLBTQ community this time in Montego Bay western Jamaica as a controversial police raid involving more than 20 officers some with badge numbers covered happened on Sunday morning of February 20th around 2am at a popular lgbt entertainment spot, this coming on the heels of another mainstream exotic club in Kingston being raided by cops where an exotic dancer was raped by five officers of the law who are sworn to protect and serve. They have since been removed from front line duty while investigations proceed.  According to well placed sources the police raided the premises inflicting blows to patrons consisting of drag queens, lesbians, other patrons, displaced and some homeless lgbt persons who are sheltered at the facility and are a part of a private emergency crisis intervention program funded out-of-pocket by the owner/manager of the club. The more than twenty or so mostly males had to beat a hasty retreat while an event was in session. The cops reportedly ransacked sections of the main club, offices and displaced several electrical items including a flat screen television on the main bar area, destroying furniture and other items in the process. The bar was said to have been raided as well where some stock was consumed.

The doors were forcibly removed and kicked off, according to a victim present there were more than 20 officers who arrived in three open back police pickups and a truck all shouting anti homosexual rhetoric and asked for the owner/manager by the alias before unleashing the horror for more than an hour then leaving the premises and attendees in disarray.

At the time of this post no badge numbers or vehicle numbers were available to identify the police personnel.

Several persons had to seek medical attention following the attack and up to the preparation of this post the owner/manager who was not present at the time of the assault was held from Sunday morning at the police station where he went to inquire what had happened, he is to go to court today to apply for bail on charges yet to be made public, apparently there are outstanding charges of other infractions before that were used to justify holding him overnight. The club which opened it’s doors only in the latter part of 2010 was to serve western Jamaica as persons there felt they had to journey too far westwards to central Jamaica and Kingston to get to parties was home to very good events so far and female impersonation shows. According to my sources many of the displaced persons who were beaten and gun butted in some instances were forced into the path of members of the public who were nearby at an event on a parallel road, men reportedly joined in the assault alongside the cops, several of them sustained blows and one popular party person’s face was severely bashed. Fortunately there were some amongst the public who did not support the assault in this latest homophobic incident which has come as a shock to everyone even to the area police as they were aware of the spot they made frequent patrols and had an agreement of sorts with the owner/manager to operate within the confines of the law specifically closing time of 2am or 4am where an extension was sought as the club is not near any residences to breach the Noise Abatement Act, it is surmised the cops came from elsewhere.

Several of the guys tried to run to the nearby hotel but were refused by the management the police arrived after following them, others hid where they could, others were flogged or beating mercilessly with batons. A security guard also alerted the cops to where some of the guys where hiding while the cops handed over several cross dressed persons to members of the public who also participated in the assault. A crowd had gathered who demanded the cops hand over those who they had in their possession at another location most of whom were young scared MSMs who never experienced this harrowing ordeal. The more experienced persons and divas knew what to do and did try to defend themselves by either verbally out maneuver the approaching bad agents or otherwise literally running and dodging the cops between cars and buildings nearby, the trouble with all of this was many of the patrons though from that section of the island were not familiar with the surroundings hence the running in circles with no proper place to hide themselves. The offending officers were also critical of the area police saying they were upholding slackness and battymen in the community.

People vex bad

Meanwhile persons in the community are up in arms as to the reasons for this latest attack, party/club promoter rivalry is said to be the main cause behind this latest problem with the police. Patrons and other party promoters are hell bent on sticking to this reason, the accused promoter/club manager in question is said to be associated with a female cop whose questionable standing is of major concern to many, a party planned in early February on the eastern part of the island also mysteriously found itself shut down even before proceedings could have commenced while another new venue in Kingston also has had problems with unexpected visits by police who use terms such as “the boss sen wi fi lock it dung” (the boss sent us to close the events down). This latest assault is really a shocker as while an event which was not heavily supported was in progress at the rival promoter’s venue it took place leaving many speculating.  Patrons have vowed not to ever support this particular promoter’s events anymore in direct protest to the alleged set up. Reports also suggest the cop herself has said she is going to close down the other rival venues while patrons have vowed they would rather take the chance and go to mainstream straight parties instead. There was some agreement between the party promoters earlier in the year following a meeting in which the accused promoter/club manager was present that permanent clubs would take turns hosting events as a form of round robin to accord fairness but this seems to have been broken down leading to the present impasse. The accused promoter/club manager has complained bitterly that they had initially closed their facility located in the north central part of the island to facilitate the Kingston club to open its doors as many patrons do not wish to trek all the way to the former with high gas prices and gate admissions as major deterrents there was even a name and image change in order to attract business by the out-of-town club’s team but it hasn’t seem to bear the desired results, they also complain that the other promoters are unfair and over promote on dates in strong competition leaving their club eventless for long periods. Other long time and new individual lgbt promoters are also up in arms as well, many who were once friends with the accused promoter are taking a different position when it comes down to business. Sad that this internal rivalry maybe the cause of this awful incident and to think lives could have been lost bearing in mind our GLBTQ community does not have a good relationship with the police force despite the noted improvements over the past two or so years. Allegations of threats and counter threats between the parties is also making an untenable situation even more stressing for some. The Kingston promoter allegedly in one instance has been told by the offending officer to dot all his “Is” and cross all his “Ts” when putting event together as he maybe targeted for future shutdowns, probably permanent if he should slip all together.

The cop incidentally is not a member of the lgbt community.

I do believe there is no need for all this violent rivalry in the marketplace in as far as GLBTQ entertainment is concerned has diversified and grown so fast that all promoters and parties involved old and new can survive despite competing for the more available pink dollar. Gone are the days due to fear and other reasons there were only one or two major party promoters or events, the younger GLBTQ cohort is looking for choices and new experiences.

The fallout also for the displaced persons is also evident as many of them had to hit the streets last night until some short-term solution is found. For a member of the community to side with rogue cop(s) to inflict this latest round on the community is just awful.

Let us hope and pray this issue is resolved quickly, the police in the area have asked that reports be filed and photos taken of the damage done to the property and persons if possible as evidence to expedite the investigations.

My concerns go out to my friends in Montego Bay, sorry I couldn’t be there to assist but I am watching this one carefully with a large magnifying glass. I hope JFLAG despite their low performance these days are on to it as well.

Updates to come where available and thanks to my sources for alerting me to this early.

Peace and tolerance

H

On homo negative culture and Naked men in HWT

Posted by: To my amusement
In light of the article in the Star dated February 8 2011 titled Naked Drama in HWT, I wish to say a few words. I know this is like as the proverbial saying goes ‘beating a dead horse’ but let me add my two cents or sense as the case may be.
Now the summary of the story is two consenting adult males where spied on in the privacy of their dwelling and set upon by a large mob for hours. Thankfully four service police vehicles were on hand to rescue them from sure death.These kinds of stories are not new to us, in fact some people might only glance over it and may comment “yea man dem batty boi dey fi ded” and move on to the next sensational story. The reports are that the ‘group’ ‘accidentally’ stumbled on the room when ‘dem hear mourning and groaning inna one of di room.’ How convenient….
Several issues are highlighted for me in this article. The socio-cultural dichotomy, convenience of religion, the non-productivity of many Jamaicans and the preoccupation with peripheral matters as it relates to the better picture.
Jamaica is a anthropological dream and a epistemological nightmare. One of our first introductions to gender and sexuality is the total exclusion of same sex relations and then the vehement disapproval of any slightly resemblance of it according to our socialization. These include for men; bleaching of the skin, tight pants wearing, feminine behaviour (or what is classified as such), not having sex as soon as he is 16 at most among others. For women, these include, ‘manly’ behaviour, no boyfriends as soon as she is 16 at most, not interested in the ungentlemanly attempts of alot of Jamaican men at gaining attention, wearing men’s clothes among others. Anything within these realms are labelled batty-boi, chi-chi, fish, dyke, sodomite, man royal et al.
Socio-cultural dichotomy

Interestingly there is a proliferation of said stereotypical behaviour by so called straight men who will become violent if even implied as such. Apart from it is not any of their businesses what goes on in the privacy of a room between two consenting adults; we are glaringly hypocritical about sexuality. The fact that it happened in a tenement yard along HWT road would imply that it could be in a low income/garrison community which is considered to be uber gangster and definitely not homo-loving. According to A. Pinnock “the public and bitter denunciations of male homosexuality do not, by themselves, indicate the absence of homosexual practises amongst men.”

She continues to state that “male homosexuality, as a gendered identity appears to be of greater concern in the society rather than the actual practises of same.” This clearly shows that there is no room for the very obvious (public) male homosexuals who it is felt will compromise masculinity and also has as it intentions to destabilize the traditional systems of governance in the society. Therefore homosexuals and their sympathizers must burn in the hell fires which destroyedSodom and Gomorrah, according to Biblical inscription.

Convenience of Religion

Half the people in Jamaica confuse pedophilia with homosexuality; which coupled with religion is a dangerous formula for homosexuals.  We tend to violently uphold the passage that is believed to condemn homosexuality, but other biblical laws aren’t so strictly followed for e.g. casual sex between heterosexuals is considered a way of life. This salad bar approach to religious-sanctioned hate crimes is a slap in the face of the Bible I think and further cements the hypocritical stance on sex and sexuality. It is funny that there are as many rum bars as churches along with a myriad of other non – Christian like activities but homosexual gets singled out because “men shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind, that is an abomination.” My thing is if there is a list of things not to do, why single out one thing but have tons of reasons why the others are excusable. What about gay Christians? Isn’t love the ‘greatest of these’ to be right with God? Stop using religion as a scapegoat. No “sin” is greater than the other.

Non-productivity of Jamaicans & the preoccupation with peripheral matters

Now if the devil finds work for idle hands then a lot of Jamaicans are working for the devil. With the growing crime rate, the lessening job opportunities, IMF breathing down our necks and the Manatt trial, we really should not have that much time and energy to spend on who one chooses to sleep with. Again, apart from the fact that that is nobody’s business in the first place one would think that people would be more preoccupied with the aforementioned. Homosexuality will not be the ruin of Jamaica. What might do it first is Jamaicans who don’t want to work. What we need to focus on is firstly the antiquated and ridiculous buggery law that really does not specially speak to homosexuality in the first instance (see section 76 of that act). Second, start putting our heads down and find ways to stimulate local productivity especially agriculture. Thirdly, take a long hard look at our family values and how it has reduced to what we see manifesting.

In the end, it is disheartening that who we chose to have sex has taken precedence over basic human needs and rights. In a world where children are abused (90% of the times by heterosexuals), wars are raging in the name of religion, conspiracy theories are not so far fetched and apparently the world is coming to an end in 2012, we here in Jamaica are still up in arms about who we chose to have in our arms.

Record number of LGBT asylum victories for Immigration Equality, most from Jamaica

New York, NY – Immigration Equality, a national organization that helps obtain asylum for individuals persecuted in their home country based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV-status, announced today that its legal and pro bono teams won a record 101 cases in 2010.  An overwhelming number of those wins – 38 – were for clients from the Caribbean, with 28 of those for individuals from Jamaica.  Other cases included 24 asylum seekers from Central and South America; 16 from Eastern Europe (including seven Russian clients); nine from the African continent and five from the Middle East.

Immigration Equality maintains the largest pro bono network of attorneys – in addition to its in-house legal staff – dedicated solely to securing asylum for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender asylum seekers.  Firms providing pro bono representation for Immigration Equality clients include Dewey & LeBoeuf; Jones Day; Kirkland and Ellis; Latham Watkins; Ropes and Gray; Skadden; Weill  Gotshal; and White & Case. In addition to the 2010 wins announced today, the organization has 97 additional cases, filed in 2010, which are awaiting a ruling, as well as several cases filed prior to 2010.

“For too many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, the world remains a dangerous place,” said Rachel B. Tiven, the group’s executive director.  “In many cases, the clients who turn to Immigration Equality for help are literally running for their lives.  They have been mistreated and beaten by authorities in their home country, disowned by their families and ostracized by society.  By offering them safe haven, the United States is not only saving their lives, but benefitting from the talent, skills and service these asylees bring to our country.  We are proud, and honored, to help them begin life anew here in their adopted homeland.”

Since the mid-1990s, the United States has recognized persecution due to sexual orientation and gender identity as a basis for seeking asylum.  In the past five years, Immigration Equality and its partner law firms have represented more than 500 LGBT people fleeing persecution abroad.  Clients have hailed from some of the most notoriously homophobic countries in the world, including Uganda, Syria, Egypt and elsewhere.

“Every day, we hear from vulnerable LGBT people who desperately need legal help and have nowhere else to turn,” said Victoria Neilson, Immigration Equality’s legal director.  “Our in-house legal staff maintains an average open case load of more than 100 cases at any given time.  It is our generous network of pro bono firms, which donate so much time and energy to our clients, that make the breadth of our work possible.  With their help, we are able to tackle some of the most complicated, heart-wrenching cases and ensure that we help as many people as possible.”

For more information on asylum for LGBT people, or to join Immigration Equality’s pro bono network of attorneys, visit www.immigrationequality.org.


Immigration Equality 2010 Asylum Wins by Country
*

Jamaica                        28
Russia                          7
Grenada                       4
Peru                             4
Uzbekistan                  4
Venezuela                    3
Mexico                         3
Ghana                          3
El Salvador                  3

* Countries from which Immigration Equality had 2 or fewer wins are not listed.
Total 2010 wins include six individuals who won withholding of removal or secured relief under the Convention Against Torture Treaty (CAT).

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Immigration Equality is a national organization that works to end discrimination in U.S. immigration law, to reduce the negative impact of that law on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive people, and to help obtain asylum for those persecuted in their home country based on their sexual orientation, transgender identity or HIV-status. Through education, outreach, advocacy, and the maintenance of a nationwide network of resources, we provide information and support to advocates, attorneys, politicians and those who are threatened by persecution or the discriminatory impact of the law.

Read more: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gaysouthflorida/2011/02/a-record-number-of-lgbt-asylum-victories-for-immigration-equality-most-from-jamaica.html#ixzz1DTj3UMsI