UNAIDS Director says the PNP offers hope for the repealing of the buggery law …… but some concerns exist

UNAIDS Regional Director of the support team in the Caribbean Dr Ernest Massiah says the return of the Peoples National Party PNP in Jamaica offers hope that the tide will turn where the repealing of the Buggery Law is concerned this he interprets as a pre-election commitment by the then opposition leader now ruling Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to review the legislation which I still see as a suggestion by her in answering the question posed by Dionne Jackson Miller in the leadership debate in 2011 in the run up to the general election in December last. He spoke at one of the sessions at the AIDS 2012 conference in the US.

He also said the organization had received encouraging feedback from three unnamed Caribbean Prime Ministers in private discussions and that when the time is right Mrs Simpson may be named as one of the three then.

I and some others in the community are unclear as to Mrs Simpson Miller’s answer and her real position (see audio below) as at the leadership debate and subsequent followup comments by her along with press releases from the PNP itself denying it promised to repeal any buggery laws. Have I missed something?

also see my post on December 30, 2011:
PNP Wins …………….Hope for LGBT People ???

here is one of the press releases hinted to above where the PNP had denied allegations from the ruling party then turned opposition now the Jamaica Labour Party JLP as they lost the election:

NO REPEAL OF BUGGERY ACT, SAYS PNP

December 27, 2011: The People’s National Party (PNP) has labeled as deliberate mischief making by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), suggestions that it supports a repealing of the Buggery Act. The PNP says that is not its position.
The PNP says the JLP has been circulating the false assertion about the Party’s position on the matter in a desperate bid to make the matter an issue of contention to gain political advantage.

PNP Campaign Director, Dr. Peter Phillips said at a press conference to wrap up the party’s campaign today that the PNP has no position to repeal the Buggery Act, and that the issue arose out of a question posed to party leader Portia Simpson Miller during the recent national debate with prime minister and JLP leader, Andrew Holness.

“This arose out of a question and there is no position taken by us of a repeal. We recognize that there are some persons, who for their own partisan political reasons, would wish to distort the Party’s position as it relates to the Buggery Act,” Dr. Phillips said.
He adds that the Party Leader has proposed a review of the Act, and not a repeal of it.
“During the review, every Member of Parliament will be required to bring to bear on the discussions, the views and the opinion of his or her constituents. At the end of the review, if a vote is to be taken, the vote will be a conscience vote, which means each Member of Parliament will vote according to the directive of his/ her constituents,” Dr. Phillips says.

This is in keeping with the position taken by the PNP President, who indicated at the national debate that the people of Jamaica should let their voices be heard on the matter through consultations spearheaded by Members of Parliament, so that a Parliamentary debate and vote on the issue would not be confined to the views of Parliamentarians alone, but rather, would be reflective of the views and will of the people in constituencies across the country.
Responding to questions posed by journalists about accusations leveled on the campaign trail by Daryl Vaz that the PNP had received funding from overseas-based gay rights groups, Phillips said such accusations were not true and a “total fabrication” as the party had in no way supported “any gay agenda”.

“This is a total fabrication of Mr. Vaz and his very active imagination and speaks to the desperation in that (the JLP’s) campaign,” said Phillips.
The PNP will end its election campaign today with a tour of western parishes and culminate with a meeting in the South West St. Andrew constituency of Party Leader, Portia Simpson Miller, followed by a gospel concert at the party’s 89 Old Hope Road headquarters.

Executive Director of JFLAG Dane Lewis at the time had said that the Prime Minister missed an opportunity to make a bold declaration on securing rights for all Jamaicans, he continued on a telephone interview that “We’re very encouraged by the bold statement from a Jamaican politician the opposition leader Miss Portia Simpson Miller, I am very disappointed that the Prime Minister with an opportunity to make as bold a statement chose the lower road. It is going to take a conscience vote it’s gonna take the leaders of this country to make some bold steps to recognise the rights of all Jamaicans.” He also said he trusts the sincerity of the opposition leader, he doesn’t think it’s a ploy to win the votes of the gay community days before an election.  He said too that it was not about threats on withholding aid by UK and US governments who have now tied aid to LGBT rights.

Here is the other press release that came on December 21st from the PNP denying they made any promises to repeal Buggery.

PNP HAS GIVEN NO COMMITMENT TO REPEALING THE BUGGERY ACT

Kingston, December 22, 2011: The People’s National Party notes that following Tuesday’s leadership debate, some persons have been suggesting that PNP President Portia Simpson Miller, has given a commitment to “repealing” the Buggery Act. The PNP uses this opportunity to state clearly that Mrs. Simpson Miller gave no such commitment.
The PNP President said it was time that the Act be “reviewed” and all members of the House of Representatives provided with an opportunity to vote on the matter based on their conscience.
It would be expected that in such a vote, Members of Parliament on both sides of the House, would take into consideration the views of their constituents.The PNP President remains committed to her pledge to make appointments to a Cabinet led by her on the basis of competence.

here is New Nation Coalition Founder Betty Ann Blaine questioning the PM’s on buggery earlier this year among other audio including my response as well:

Bear this in mind as well, after digging my archives I found the presentation by Mrs Simpson Miller in 2009 (poor audio though) where she sided wholeheartedly with the then Prime Minster Bruce Golding (his speech linked) on the banning of gay marriage, gay marriage rights by the way was never asked for by the LGBT advocacy structure at that time but it was dishonestly pushed on the agenda during the Charter of Rights debate then as a smoke screen to deny us recognition in the Charter. The clause that had discrimination as an infraction then was also removed from the draft prior to this speech after successful lobbying by none other than the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship with support from none other than reverend Al Miller.

She said on October 20th 2009 – Mr Speaker when we accepted the final report from the joint select committee that were looking at the bill we were completely satisfied with their recommendation of a provision to restrict marriage and like relationships to one man and one woman within Jamaica and that the provision should be specifically spelt out so that there could be no ambiguity ………. yes one man one woman (laughter in the house) and if you are Jamaican and go overseas the same applies ………..

Has Prime Minister Simpson Miller changed her mind or is evolving as President Obama did and is moving towards having the review done and will she get the need support as per conscience vote to make the repeal possible or at best decriminalization from her 59 members of parliament especially folks such as A.J. Nicholson and first time MP Lambert Brown who opposed condoms in prisons saying it was homosexuality being snuck through the back door? Mr. Brown said. “Those who are promoting condoms in prison are using the back door to promote homosexuality which is illegal.”

also see these two posts I had done where another first time MP poured cold water on the buggery review suggestion: PNP’s Damion Crawford on Homosexuality’s legality ………. and
PNP’s Damion Crawford says it’s highly unlikely buggery review will happen …….. it’s not important now he concludes

for your review here is the actual debate video below and her answer to Dionne Jackson Miller also click here to see her blog: http://newsandviewsbydjmillerja.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/jamaica-and-gays-are-we-homophobic-or-not

here is a follow up video from TVJ where Mrs Miller defended her answer in the debate and the JLP’s accusation of the PNP repealing buggery originally aired December 24, 2011:

Who will assist with any backlash that may occur (if any) especially on the ground in terms of violence and frontline activists not to mention persons perceived to be gay who may be targeted?  we must expect anything I say as previous experience has taught us such as the Canadian group EGALE tourism boycott suggestion which led to some resistance and incidents towards LGBT citizens and a spike in the numbers of homo negative episodes, I am not comforted by the revelation by UNAIDS this should have been kept close to their chests and proceed with the talks.

Time Magazine while naming her as one of the 100 most influential for 2011/2 said on their site: “………Portia is promoting full civil rights for gays and lesbians, a courageous move in a country with a violent history of homophobia”

0,32068,1567265756001_0,00.html

Just come clean and done nuh and mek we know what is what Portia. I do not see it as a commitment or a promise as others do but instead just her opinion at the time of being questioned and a good political tool at the time to win the election given the lethargy to politics after the drawn out JLP run with the Manatt Dudus commission of enquiry in particular.

Peace and tolerance

H

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‘Taboo Yardies’ director wants conversation on homosexuality

by Geisha Kowlessar from the Trinidad Guardian

At the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival to be held in September the documentary Taboo Yardies will be shown. Although it was filmed in Jamaica, director Selena Blake is confident it would send a clear message to citizens of T&T. Blake was one of the hundreds of delegates manning information booths yesterday at the Washington Convention Centre during the 19th International Aids Conference.

 

“The documentary deals with homophobia in Jamaica and will be shown on September 23,” said Blake. “The documentary is like a cookie-cutter in that you can use and relate it to Trinidad and all the other Caribbean countries, because homophobia is homophobia…it is intolerance towards that someone that’s different.”

 

She added that while there may be Trinidadians and Tobagonians who may not agree with the documentary, she hoped the majority would stand up and applaud her work. “I don’t have any preconceived notions. I know there are going to be people who would say, ‘I hate this film,’ but I hope the majority of them stand up and applaud and understand …but whatever I get, I welcome it, because it is about bringing awareness and having a conversation. Homosexuality is there, but nobody talks about it, and this does not mean it is going to go away, because it’s not.”

 

Blake added that many of the other themes could also be related to T&T, as the documentary seeks to capture a wide audience. “Because even though Trinidad is less intolerant than Jamaica, there is still a level of hostility towards the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community. It is a matter of educating people (to) understand we all have the right to exist on this planet, regardless of your sexual orientation, colour or religion,” Blake said.

 

Blake said the concept of Taboo Yardies gives a voice to those Jamaicans and by extension those in T&T who dare to speak up and out about the intolerance and violence towards LGBT people, particularly as they pertain to an individual’s human rights. In Jamaica as in T&T, Blake said, it was integral to find a “space where we respect each other.”

 

“We have to really think about…what if you were gay, black or white? How would you like to be treated? So it goes back to humans rights, racism and all of that. We really have to step back for a moment and ask ourselves if that was your child, or that was you, how you would like to be treated,” she added. Religion is also a key factor which has sparked heated debates on homosexuality, she said.

 

“We talk about religion and we base homosexuality as being an abomination, but at the end of the day God is love, and who gives you the right to judge? Who died and made you God?”

 

 

About Selena Blake

Selena Blake was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She grew up in Old Harbour, St Catherine, the youngest of six girls. In 1979, she migrated to New York with her mother, and finished her education there. Her first big break came as a model. Blake thereafter became interested in film, and had small roles in such films as Third Watch, Changing Lanes, and The Best Man.

 

“We hope Taboo Yardies becomes a vehicle that spurs an open an honest conversation that ultimately promotes respect and tolerance for all people regardless of sexual orientation,” Blake said.

 

Human Rights Watch on Combating Homophobia in Jamaica

The following is a press release from Human Rights Watch

(New York) – The Jamaican government should repeal the anti-buggery law and protect people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller of Jamaica.

The Jamaican media reported two homophobic incidents in June 2012 in which violence was threatened or used to injure innocent civilians, simply because they were suspected of being homosexual. On June 21, in Jones Town, Kingston, the police had to intervene  as an angry crowd gathered in front of a house where five homosexuals were staying as reported on CVMTV News (3:15-5:35 of the footage). “Homophobia is so bad that human rights defenders advocating the rights of LGBT people are not safe in Jamaica,” said Boris Dittrich, advocacy director in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. “Jamaica needs to act now on its international obligations to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.” Jamaican nongovernmental organizations have pressed the Jamaican government for years to repeal the anti-buggery law and to pass anti-discrimination legislation to protect LGBT people.

According to Section 76 of the Jamaican Offences Against the Person Act of 1864, a maximum sentence of 10 years can be issued for the committing the crime of buggery. Simpson-Miller made a courageous stand before she took office in January, speaking out against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and suggesting a review of Jamaica’s anti-buggery law, Human Rights Watch said. During the leadership debate she also indicated a willingness to review the country’s buggery laws. Homophobic threats, including death threats, caused one of the most outspoken campaigners for the rights of LGBT people, Maurice Tomlinson, to flee Jamaica in January.  He told Human Rights Watch and the Inter American Commission that he had asked police in Montego Bay to protect him, but that the police officer in charge responded by saying,  “I hate gays, they make me sick.” He fled to Canada, where he received two more death threats by email, in February and March.

Upon the request of the former assistant police commissioner, he returned briefly to Kingston for the investigation, but the police have not followed up with him. “It is a shame that such a prominent LGBT human rights defender has been compelled to seek safety elsewhere,” Dittrich said. “The government’s failure to comply with international human rights standards while public officials like the police officer in Montego Bay look the other way when hate crimes are committed leaves LGBT people vulnerable and unprotected in their daily lives.” In 2004 Human Rights Watch published a report about the treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS and the situation for LGBT people in Jamaica, “Hated to Death: Homophobia, Violence, and Jamaica’s HIV/AIDS Epidemic.” The report, which documented a grim landscape of human rights abuses against LGBT people, was undertaken at the behest of local Jamaican advocacy organizations.

Since the Human Rights Watch report, attacks on homosexual people or people perceived as being homosexual or transgender appear to have remained commonplace, Human Rights Watch said. Jamaica is a party to a number of international human rights treaties, but does not live up to those standards, Human Rights Watch said. The Organization of American States (OAS), of which Jamaica is a member,  adopted five resolutions between 2008 and 2012 condemning “acts of violence and human rights violations perpetrated against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity,” and urging states “to adopt the necessary measures to prevent, punish, and eradicate” discrimination. The protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is part of Jamaica’s binding obligations under international law and standards, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Jamaica ratified without reservations in 1975, affirms the equality of all people in articles 2 and 26.

Likewise, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, the international body of experts that monitors compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to which Jamaica acceded without reservation in 1991, has affirmed that all children are entitled to protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. “We call upon Prime Minister Simpson-Miller to act swiftly and to bring Jamaica’s laws and policies in line with international human rights standards, in particular as they relate to the rights of LGBT people,” Dittrich said. “We encourage the prime minister to publicly and unequivocally affirm that all Jamaicans, including LGBT people, will be equally protected by the law, the state, and all its institutions and that no discrimination will be tolerated.”

more audio

TVJ on the 25/07/12 carried the story in their Prime Time News feature

Thankfully HRW did not make the same mistake as the IACHR did by including the June 13th murders of the homeless men in the New Kingston area and also that of ‘Ronica who was also killed on the same day. Those murders were not homophobia related but more to do with inter/intra community issues and homelessness coupled with hypermasculine power differentials.

see the Jamaica Observer Vox pop on crimes towards homosexuals where some persons still do not believe there are homophobic murders.

also see: IACHR Condemns Murder of Two Gay Men in Jamaica …….. an open response

and listen more

also see:  Murder, Homelessness and fallouts ……………………………. which looks at the Trafalgar matter and the previous homeless MSM murder that took place sometime between May 23 and 24 this year as well, his mutilated body was found but this story did not get the coverage as the others except in the Star News on May 25 and is considered a homophobic murder for now.

Peace and tolerance

H

St Thomas men relocate with police protection after they’re forced to move .

 

As members of the LGBT displaced and homeless communities continue to spiral and meet homo-negative with homophobic abuses/issues in Kingston mostly here comes some positive news of sorts to a case that has come to light and was hinted to in a previous audio post I did over the last two weeks in eastern Jamaica namely St Thomas where a brethren had tried to accommodate two displaced MSMs while they were seeking employment via sending out resumes. The man who had assisted another former member of the displaced community  and was asked by the same man to assist two others who he deemed not trouble makers related the issues to me. Thanks to him for sharing this as well.

The men who had been temporarily housed at the home of the St Thomas man for two weeks had settled in and remained low as per instruction of the man (from now on called the household head) offering temporary shelter.

However neighbours had become nosy and suspicious according to the man as he had been noticing persons passing more often than usual even as the men stayed in and use the internet and other diversionary entertainment such as cable TV to occupy their free time.

First signs of trouble came as one evening one of the men who travelled home from Kingston stopped at a nearby shop to purchase items when he noticed persons were making comments subjected with homosexual references, the man upon reaching home complained to the head of the household and he in turn reportedly asked the men to avoid using the town centre when travelling but come home directly. The helpful man had not had any run ins before with other community members and when I pressed to find out if any of the men he was assisting may have been the cause of the unneeded attention he said no or he would have evicted them as soon as he saw any signs of that as he was protective of his space while concerned about assisting those who may need it and show some sort of desire to improve themselves. Other one off skirmishes occurred with passers-by and persons farming on a plot of land some distance behind the home.

Days after however one of the men was taking a shower and singing when he reportedly heard movements outside the house and nearing the bathroom window, he looked out and saw 3 persons as if they were trying to pry into the home, the other two men were away at the time. He hailed the persons in the yard in a bid to let them know he saw them and they ran through the nearby bushes, bearing in mind neighbours are not nearby.

That afternoon the other men arrived and the lone man who saw the intruders alerted the household head, he said he became suspicious and nervous at the same time and decided to alert other friends while deciding whether to move from the area. The very afternoon being July 4th the three individuals returned with a small crowd introducing themselves as “concerned neighbours” introducing themselves and asking if the men lived alone etc? The household head who by this time was angry at the intrusion had a heated discussion with the prying concerned persons it was at this exchange the persons expressed that they knew the men were gay and that they should leave as soon as possible as they do not want any gays (battyman, fish) around.

The shouting match lasted for about more than half a hour and the ultimatum was issued repeatedly according to the man as I spoke to him, the men left the same night via a friend who came and picked them up and they slept elsewhere for the night. The house was under lock and key for several days and the landlord who was notified asked his tenant to stay low for a while and see if they persons would calm down. The men decided to move so as to avoid any unneeded violence and abuse so on July 11 they returned for the items and furniture, their first attempts to pack the items were interrupted by passers-by who snickered and later apparently returned with others some of whom were recognised at the set of “concerned neighbours” who lambasted the men with some of the usual anti gay rhetoric. The police were summoned and they already knew of the issue as the men had made a stop by the precinct without filing a report but alerted the cops. They did come and kept a safe distance between the jeering residents and the hastily packing men who moved items to the waiting truck, the driver of the truck was said to have made a comment that if he knew that was the situation he would not have taken the contract to move the men but since he was there they should hurry, the other side men were said to be snickering.

That they did and left with the persons described as “concerned neighbours” literally applauding as they drove away, the landlord was said to have expressed disappointment in the incident and the loss of a good tenant, the man was hailed as a reliable tenant and well paying one as well.

The household head is now at a friend’s home, the two others he was trying to assist are now re-displaced but some inquiries are being done to see how they can be accommodated. Meanwhile in Kingston two separate stabbings incidents took place in the business district both linked to homelessness and homophobic abuse. Another displaced man was run over deliberately on Knutsford Boulevard almost two weeks ago after dancing to music audible from  the street emanating from a popular nightclub which did not sit kindly to the men’s outward effeminate displays.

The recent murders as well is still fresh in the minds of some and all the other ones we might be aware of and those we may never hear of as well, the downtown populations as well have been going through stuff as well.

Meanwhile here is an audio post on recent killings and so on:

Big Lies, Crisis Archiving & More MSM Homlessness Issues 12.07.12

The Club Matter – Unprofessional Police Behaviour Must Stop

The following appeared in the Gleaner recently and I am not comfortable with the editor’s decision to call the writer a disappointed scammer as if to suggest the persons held at the recent raid in St Ann at a birthday event were all scammers in attendance. This has the looks of a certain Superintendent last year who castigated the gay community as scammers hence leading to an apology that came from the police high command.

Aren’t persons innocent until proven guilty?

Why did an entire event had to be shut down just to find supposed scammers?

Do the cops have a clear idea of who they are actually looking for? it doesnt seem so to me

I feel that the community is being used as scapegoats as well in a vieled homophobic move, yes there maybe guilty parties amongst the LGBT community but why broad brush an entire set of patrons at an event?

Here is the letter to the paper non the less, see what you make of it.

The Editor Sir:

I FEEL moved to give a detainee’s response to your article of Sunday, July 8, 2012 titled ‘Scammers party in drag’. It certainly appeared to have been an intelligence-driven operation as the raid was conducted with the support of the army. Further, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Leon Clunis came and hand-picked the persons who, in my view, he came for in the first place. For the record, this numbered fewer than 10 and all other persons were released. If this was in fact intelligence-driven, why then were all the 100-plus persons detained and transported to the station for “processing”? Was it a ‘name-and-shame’ moment? SSP Clunis did instruct persons not to hide from the cameras.

I find that rather interesting as the senior superintendent was the one insisting that persons should not hide and, in fact, instructed persons to stand up and remove the covering from their heads. I recall him saying, “Why unu a hide, unu fi proud a weh unu be.” Ok, so he is not interested; for what purpose then was he facilitating the photographing and videotaping of the individuals to the extent that he was using/abusing his authority to instruct persons not to hide from the camera? Why then were the officers asking individuals questions like, what role do you play? Do your parents know that you are gay?

Operational protocol

Mr Commissioner, does operational protocol allow for aspects of operations to be videotaped by police personnel? I ask this because, according to SSP Clunis, the police is not interested in one’s sexuality or sexual preference, yet an officer armed with a camcorder and flashlight took video footage of the persons lying on the ground in the building.

I must commend the few officers (from both the JDF and the JCF) who acted in a professional manner throughout the operation. I recall seeing the disgust on one officer’s face at the manner in which another officer was behaving. It would appear, though, that the senior superintendent and his team need to better review operational procedures and ensure that all members of the team understand what these are, as well as what their individual roles are in the process.

Our police force needs to move away from media hypes and focus on real crime fighting.

DISAPPOINTED SCAMMER

Jaysean97@hotmail.com

Editor’s Note: The pen name, “Disappointed Scammer” was inserted by the editor because the letter writer requested anonymity.

Meanwhile

A proprietor of a nightclub in St Ann who was hauled before the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court on Friday for fraud was granted $150,000 bail.

He is Lorindo Powell from Kingston 13, who has been charged with conspiracy to defraud, obtaining money by means of false defence, conspiracy to defraud, possession of criminal property and involving in transaction that includes criminal property.

Powell is to return to court on September 6, when the matter will be mentioned for plea and case management hearing.

Allegations are that the accused conspired with other persons and defrauded a 75-year-old woman in the United States of several thousand dollars.

The court heard that the accused told the victim that she won US$5 million and she was to send money to him to process her winnings.

Sexual orientation

In applying for bail, Powell’s attorney told the court that his client desperately needs bail as he was beaten by other inmates while being detained because of his sexual orientation.

“Your Honour, I went to look for the accused while he was detained and the amount of “blanks” that were fired at me, if those were live rounds I would have been a dead man today,” the attorney told the court jokingly.

As a condition of Powell’s bail, he is to surrender his travel documents and report to the Hunts Bay Police Station on Mondays and Thursdays between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Thugs warn drag wearing scammers ……………

At least two of the over 70 cross-dressers detained in Saturday morning’s raid on a nightclub on the St Ann/Trelawny border might not be able to return to their inner-city homes in Montego Bay.

During the raid, which was carried out by the Leon Clunis-led Lottery Scam Task Force, 130 persons were taken into custody. It turned out that while the vast majority of them were clad in women’s apparel, only 11 were females.

“Dem caa come back yah, yuh mad? Come back weh? an obviously angry thug from one of the inner-city communities in Montego Bay told The Star. “This is not an aquarium. This is a proud ghetto community.”

According to the thug, while he hardly knew one of the men, he and other residents were taken by complete surprise when they saw the better known of the two in a video footage shown on television.

“We always si him a neat up himself and a gwaan ‘stush’ but me use to think him just boasy,” the thug told The Star. “Me neva know a dem thing deh him a gwaan with.”

Tough Laugh* a thug from another inner-city area told THE STAR that he had heard that a member of his community was among the cross-dressers.

“Yow, mi a hear seh di bwoy in a it. Mi get it from good source seh him did deh deh a try hide. Mi waan si him back bout yah. Yuh know wha, ‘im better tan weh him deh, cause dem bwoy deh caan come roun’ mi, mi ooman or pickney,” Tough Laugh said.

Another thug from central Montego Bay said he also knew of individuals from his community who were held.

“Yuh have one weh did always look like a pretty bwoy but we never too deh pree him. But, mi nuh think him can come round here again,” he said.

When the police swooped down on the scammers, the police said they thought it was females having a good time.

“When we entered the club, we thought most of the patrons were females but it turned out that only 11 were females, most of them were males dressed as females,” Superintendent Clunis told The Star.

hide their faces

While the men were being processed at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium, many desperately tried to hide their faces from the cameras.

“A wha unoo a tek we picture fah”. A kill unoo want people kill we?” one angry ‘cross-dresser’ screamed at The Star’s cameraman. “Some a unoo have b … man inna unoo family. “A wha unoo a gwaan suh fah?”

However, while one of the irate men threatened to throw a bottle at one of the cameramen, others, including an individual said to be the son of a popular dancehall deejay, seemed totally unperturbed by early morning attention.

“Weh me come from everybody know that I am gay,” he said, striking a nonchalant pose. “Unoo can tek as much picture as unoo want.”

Hold on deh, mek me give unoo some real good %&$#@ pose.”

During the raid, the police seized drugs, machetes, knives, one imitation firearm, several cellular phones, four laptops and 11 vehicles.

It is suspected that in addition to its nightlife activities, the club, which is located in a secluded area, was also being used for lotto scamming activities.

Among the men detained were popular Montego Bay personality Kenrick ‘Bebe’ Stephenson, who the police said was wanted for absconding bail, and another man, of a Kingston address, who was wanted for housebreaking and larceny.

Name changed*

CARICOM heads of government urged to strengthen sexual rights

CARICOM heads of government urged to strengthen sexual rights

Regional civil society organizations have called on the Caribbean Community heads of government at their July 4-6 summit in St Lucia to implement an Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) that every state supported last month.

They were also urged to fully join the Inter-American human rights system, according to a press release from the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) yesterday.

CAFRA (Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action), CariFLAGS (Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities) and the CVC were joined by NGOs, Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) in Guyana, and United and Strong in St. Lucia, where the meeting is being held.

The annual OAS SOGI resolution has been supported by every Caribbean state for the past five years, the release stated.

Among several other actions, this year’s text calls on member states to “consider, within the parameters of the legal institutions of their domestic systems, adopting public policies against discrimination by reason of sexual orientation and gender identity” and to “consider signing, ratifying, or acceding to, as the case may be, the inter-American human rights instruments”. “Other citizens in the Americas have all these human rights protections guaranteed by Inter-American regional instruments and mechanisms that millions of CARICOM citizens simply do not enjoy,” SASOD’s Joel Simpson noted.

The release said further that SASOD helped to pressure the Guyana government through the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review process to undertake a national consultation on whether the state should continue to criminalize cross-dressing, and same-sex intimacy between consulting adult men in private.

“One has to wonder how committed our leaders are when the region is so underdeveloped in terms of human rights. Human rights protections are part of citizen security. We live in countries in the hemisphere where the state’s local protective mechanisms are the weakest and indicators of inequality, like access to justice and HIV rates, are the worst. And our citizens don’t enjoy recourse to regional bodies when our local protections fail,” Simpson stated.

Meanwhile, the advocates also protested CARICOM’s marginalization of civil society participation in regional governance and demanded a greater voice in contributing to the future of the Caribbean.

“CARICOM doesn’t yet have the simplest structures for routine civil society participation, unlike most other regional institutions,” said Trinidad-based Colin Robinson, who is leading the private-public partnership to develop a region-wide human rights advocacy network CariFLAGS.

CariFLAGS leaders include NGOs in Antigua, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The advocates noted, however, that PANCAP (the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS), is one of the few regional mechanisms that has genuinely sought to include civil society in its governance.

CARICOM’s Head for Human Resources, Health and HIV/AIDS, St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Denzil Douglas just last week “endorsed a new complementarity in mission between the new Caribbean Public Health Agency and PANCAP, with the latter sharpening its focus on human rights, vulnerability and social justice, the release added.

“If we’re serious about PANCAP’s commitment to human rights, what we are asking are these two concrete steps by Heads of Government to express that,” said St. Flavia Cherry of the St. Lucia-based CAFRA, which is also campaigning to strengthen protection of sexual and reproductive rights regionally.

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COALITION OF LGBTTTI ORGANIZATIONS WORKING IN THE OAS CELEBRATE THE APPROVAL OF THE FIFTH RESOLUTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY

The Coalition of LGBTTTI Latin American and Caribbean organizations, formed by groups belonging to more than 23 countries expresses in this communiqué its assessment of the activities of the 42nd General Assembly of the Organization of American States, which took place in Cochabamba, Bolivia on June 3rd-5th, 2012.