Justice For All? writer complains of ‘gay rights” superceeding other issues

Eldira Neil, 

Justice For All?

A spectre is haunting Jamaica – the spectre of injustice.

Jamaica Gleaner Company

How else can one describe the series of recent court decisions where unjust sentences have been handed down and bail given in very questionable circumstances!

The case of the rapist who went through all the processes and was found guilty by a jury of his peers and was only handed a sentence of 12 years is one that has evoked the vitriol and bitterness of society.

The circumstances of the case, as carried in the media, involved a young girl who was brutally raped, then placed in a grave to die. The victim, a young girl, armed with the strong will to live, clawed her way out of her grave and was able to save her life. Then we have a judge who, for reasons known or unknown, taking the decision that 12 years was sufficient payback for such heinous, premeditated crimes. This is an injustice! Praises are accorded to the director of public prosecutions and the police for pursuing this case and for, according to news reports, presenting an airtight submission for the courts.

More pathetic

What is even more pathetic is the response from our human-rights watchdog organisations. Thus far, Jamaicans for Justice, which in the past has sought judicial reviews on decisions it believes to be unjust, has not said a word. JFJ cannot claim it does not rant against the decisions of the courts. It has done so many times in the past.

What is the difference now? Is it that JFJ is only concerned about human rights for some, those it represents, or is it human rights for all? Maybe the international donor agencies which support the work of JFJ and other such entities are only concerned about the human rights of persons they select. Who speaks on behalf of the victims?

The minister of justice seems to be taking every initiative to make the prison life of convicts easier. I have never heard Delroy Chuck, since his elevation to justice minister, speak about the horror victims of crime have to endure. It is sad, it is wretched, but who speaks on behalf of this girl who suffered, is still suffering and who will continue to suffer? Where is her justice? Certainly, the decision of the judge is a statement that justice within the hallowed halls of our courts is but a fabled myth.

Not for a second is this writer saying the brutalisation of citizens by agents of the state should be condoned. Justice and human rights are must be applied to all. Our judges are failing us. Who speaks for the victims? Not Carolyn Gomes, not Yvonne McCalla-Sobers.

It seems supporting the rights of homosexuals is of more importance now than the rights of the young girl who was raped. Or, maybe international donors are more likely to provide funds to organisations which support the repeal of our buggery laws than giving support for the victims of rape. By the way, our buggery laws are antiquated and should be repealed.

The families of Khajeel Mais, the young man who was brutally murdered in a taxi and a man who was shot and killed in Manchester recently, must be in shock and fear following the decisions of two different judges to grant bail to the persons charged with the murder of these individuals. In the case of the former, the person charged has even refused to hand over his licensed firearm to the authorities. .

Remember Tesha Miller? This individual was known for his leadership role in the Clansman gang in Spanish Town. He was charged at least four times, for murder, yet almost every time he faced the courts he received bail. There is also a recent case where a man was granted bail and the next day he went home and murdered his father.

These judges, who are supposed to be the great levellers in our system of justice, are leading us on a rather precipitous path.

Let us, therefore, remember the victims of crime. Let us speak for all injustice and let us join the movement for human rights for ALL.

Jamaica should refuse British aid – Families Against State Terrorism convener ………………

The convenor of the lobby group Families Against State Terrorism, Yvonne McCalla Sobers, said Jamaica should refuse UK aid if the Government is as concerned about legalising homosexuality as it claims.

British prime minister, David Cameron has threatened to withhold British aid from several Commonwealth countries with anti-gay legislation.

Cameron made the comment at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Perth, Australia.

Last night, the justice minister Delroy Chuck said he could not comment on the issue because he had not seen the report.

However, successive governments have indicated that Jamaica will keep the buggery law.

Last night the convenor of FAST, Yvonne McCalla Sobers, said it was time for the Jamaican Government to respect the rights of all it citizens.

Human rights reform in the Commonwealth was one issue that leaders failed to agree on at the Commonwealth summit.

Ending bans on homosexuality was one of the recommendations of an internal report into the future relevance of the Commonwealth.

Miss Sobers among other things said:

“It might have been possible that some of those monies may have been earned by people who are gay, who to tell? perhaps we really ought not to take it if we are so concerned, on the other hand do we really need to be so involved with what happens in the bedrooms of consenting adults that it interfers with our ability to help our budget along?

The people of this country can make that choice if they care so much about a law that cannot be enforced therefore is really useless.”

She was speaking recently at a press briefing along side Lord Anthony Gifford to launch an action to challenge the law overseas via the Inter American Commission for Human Rights. Can it be that they have deliberately decided not to send anyone since the issue of homosexuality will be discussed? If so that’s very cowardly.

MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Dr Kenneth Baugh says that Jamaica “will not suffer any detriment by virtue of its absence” from the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting now on in Perth, Australia.

Baugh, responding to concerns raised by the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) on Wednesday, in a statement later that day said Jamaica’s non-representation resulted from the resignation of Bruce Golding as prime minister. Golding resigned on Sunday, hours before Andrew Holness was sworn in as the country’s ninth prime minister.

He said that it was the intention of the former prime minister to lead the delegation to the meeting and arrangements were made to facilitate the participation of the Jamaican delegation.

“The resignation of the former prime minister and hence all Cabinet ministers, inclusive of the minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, would be at around the same time as the meeting and consequently no one would be qualified to participate at that time. The proposed date of appointment of the new prime minister and Cabinet therefore precluded arrangements being made for participation by Jamaica at that level,” Baugh explained

According to Baugh, consideration was given for the permanent secretary in his ministry representing Jamaica, but the nature of the meeting would not allow her participation in the plenary or caucuses of the Heads’ meeting.

He said a letter of apology and regrets were written to the Australian government and the Secretary General of the Commonwealth and that the Caricom Secretariat “was communicated with to convey Jamaica’s concerns about issues on the agenda, especially migration and development, which were proposed by Jamaica”.

Meanwhile Justice Minister Delroy Chuck said that any such legislative change must be driven by the public interest, “It is a matter that parliament should have the opportunity to debate, looking at the pros and cons just like the capital punishment individual parliamentarians can take a position as to whether or not it should be changed that is it should be repealed or modified as the case maybe,” he continued ” I am not too sure that the homophobia is caused from the laws, these laws have been in existence from time in memorial I think it is fear to say that um Jamaicans do not consider homosexual behaviour to be acceptable the question is whether these views can be changed over a period of time.”

The timing of all this to me is foolhardy as clearly we were not watching the political landscape on a larger scale albeit the snap resignation and unusually smooth transition of the Jamaica Labour Party’e leadership came as a ball from left field. Challenges like this usually take inordinate length of time to process and argue so we may be looking at another three to four years. If we were interested we should have launched this from way back in the Not in my cabinet rant from the previous Prime Minister Bruce Golding. I find it also very interesting that yet again no full consultation was done with the ordinary folk of the LGBT body politic and there seems to be a not a care in the world attitude about those most exposed or susceptible to homophobic violence on the ground or are they the bait to be used as martyrs involuntarily so as to make subjects for the cases to be presented? The constant lack of engagement with the general population is glaring yet still with decisions made for us by the advocates and for us to endorse them without dissent. Is it convenient not to help the most at risk MSMs in particular whilst spending millions on this action so as to present an image of doom for that group in presentations?

One wonders what have we here, when no frontline work is being done to address the homeless matter that is pressing while all eyes are transfixed on the search for superstardom supposedly at the expense of a few dutty battyman.

And to think all the other non gay allies have joined the throng while they are far removed from the real advocacy issues that attend to displaced or homeless persons.

Does anyone notice that The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays is silent on this matter/action???

Incestuous mess.

Peace and tolerance

H

 

When Arrested and taken to a Police Station you have the right to:

a. Make a phone call: to a lawyer or relative or anyone

b. Ask to see a lawyer immediately: if you don’t have the money ask for a Duty Council

c. A Duty Council is a lawyer provided by the state

d. Talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police

e. Tell your lawyer if anyone hits you and identify who did so by name and number

f. Give no explanations excuses or stories: you can make your defense later in court based on what you and your lawyer decided

g. Ask the sub officer in charge of the station to grant bail once you are charged with an offence

h. Ask to be taken before a justice of The Peace immediately if the sub officer refuses you bail

i. Demand to be brought before a Resident Magistrate and have your lawyer ask the judge for bail

j. Ask that any property taken from you be listed and sealed in your presence

Cases of Assault:
An assault is an apprehension that someone is about to hit you The following may apply:

1) Call 119 or go to the station or the police arrives depending on the severity of the injuries

2) The report must be about the incident as it happened, once the report is admitted as evidence it becomes the basis for the trial

3) Critical evidence must be gathered as to the injuries received which may include a Doctor’s report of the injuries.

4) The description must be clearly stated; describing injuries directly and identifying them clearly, show the doctor the injuries clearly upon the visit it must be able to stand up under cross examination in court.

5) Misguided evidence threatens the credibility of the witness during a trial; avoid the questioning of the witnesses credibility, the tribunal of fact must be able to rely on the witness’s word in presenting evidence

6) The court is guided by credible evidence on which it will make it’s finding of facts

7) Bolster the credibility of a case by a report from an independent disinterested party.

Reactive – Human rights group says legislation won’t guarantee catching criminals


But McCalla Sobers said she felt more comfortable with the Government’s proposal to detain criminal suspects for 72 hours instead of the 28 days that was being considered.
However, she wants to know whether the Government would prescribe penalties for police personnel who breach a detainee’s rights.


Click Text above/below or post title for full article

Prime Minister Bruce Golding outlining the new crime-fighting measures in the House of Representatives yesterday.
PRIME Minister Bruce Golding yesterday promised tough new legislative measures to reduce crime, including a minimum 10-year sentence for gun crimes.

Peace

Preventive detention wrong

Dear Editor,
Preventive detention has existed in Jamaica for centuries. The colonial British, for example, detained thousands on plantations, in an effort to prevent them from exercising rights as human beings.
Since Jamaica’s independence, we have had preventive detention in different forms for much the same reasons as in colonial times – to restrict rights of those deemed to have no rights in the first place.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding, supported by people such as Professor Don Robotham, seems to be planning to enshrine in law the practices that have exacerbated social divisions for the past 500 years. Preventive detention has for years followed a pattern that looks like this:
. The police raid a community and hold 30 to 100 or more youth. The police may know they are looking for someone called “Fishface”, for example. However, they have no further information on this person, and no description.
. Most of the youth are released after “processing”, but two or three are further detained.
. The police say the youth are detained in connection with “crimes committed in the parish”, but provide relatives with no specifics on charges.
. Weeks or months pass during which the detainees remain in lock-up, often “awaiting identification parades”.
. The detainees may face several identification parades till one is finally identified, usually on charges of illegal possession of a gun or ammunition.
. The detainee is transferred from the police lock-up to the Horizon Remand Centre. He remains there for two or three years while trial dates are deferred because no witnesses turn up in court, or no gun or ammunition is produced.
. At the end of the lengthy detention, the judge may throw out the case because of absence of evidence, or the detainee may be found guilty despite lack of evidence.
One of the effects of preventive detention is to tarnish an innocent youth’s reputation and cause him to lose his job if he has been employed. Another effect is to convince a young offender that the police are not competent to ferret out his crimes, and that he can outsmart them because they seem too often to throw out a net and hope for an incidental catch.
Preventive detention had very limited impact on the plantation – lowering fear a bit between slave rebellions while increasing the hostility that arose from the social injustice in the first place. Some members of our present government have far more recent experiences of the trauma of preventive detention.
Hopefully, before our decision-makers yet again try to use gas to put out fires, they may realise the insanity of re-introducing past mistakes and expecting different results.
Yvonne McCalla Sobers
sobersy@yahoo.com