Gay & Bisexual Intimate Partner Violence, Homophobic Incidents & Crisis Communication

Crisis communications

Crisis communication is not intended to answer all questions or fill all needs it is just a basic outline of options you might consider if and when you are in the midst of a crisis and need help.

Crisis is any situation that threatens the integrity or reputation of your company or NGO, usually brought on by adverse or negative media attention. These situations can be any kind of legal dispute, and misrepresentations that could be attributed to your company. It can also be a situation where in the eyes of the media or general public your company did not react to one of the above situations in the appropriate manner. This definition is not all encompassing but rather is designed to give you an idea for the types of situations where you may need to follow a plan.

For purposes of this post the omission of same gender loving women in large part is not intentional or meant to exclude them but as there are hardly any documented records of such instances but more so on the side of MSM in my archives, men who have sex with men in the broader context. Exploitative same sex relational matters do often result in some injury from an unconfirmed standpoint when the grapevine system gets wind of them but when jealousy is the reason those conflicts tend not to often lead to a murder, it seems that there has been a preoccupation with more powerful or middle class victims whose cases are used to legitimize homophobia as if only such persons suffer same.  A discussion of sorts has carried on in response to a Gleaner letter some days ago where the writer implored LGBT persons to report incidents to predominantly JFLAG while trying to differentiate intimate partner violence from genuine homophobic cases.

There is more than enough evidence to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt homophobia in Jamaica

Here is the letter firstly: Gays Should Report Violent Encounters

THE EDITOR, Sir:

One of the more unnoticed effects of living in a heteronormative society is the lack of information on, and services for, victims and perpetrators of violence in gay relationships.

This issue is almost as taboo in the (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) LGBT community as homosexuality is in the wider society. There are already so many negative stigmas attached to gay couples that no one wants to publicly voice that there are instances of violence in many gay relationships.

In the same way that men and women abuse each other in heterosexual relationships, they abuse each other in gay relationships, too. Such violence has come to be known as intimate partner violence (IPV) and is defined as physical, sexual or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse.

Due to the nature of gay relationships, especially in Jamaica, many victims and perpetrators of such violence are reluctant to seek help or report incidents of violence in their relationships to the police. IPV can have devastating effects on LGBT people who are already prone to other types of violence at the hands of homophobic people, especially in conservative societies. Many are also reluctant to speak out about it because of the lack of shelters for victims, the general negative sentiment towards gay people, and for some, the fear of being ‘outed’ as gay.

counselling

While this fear is understandable, it is important that victims report incidents of violence, and that perpetrators seek help through counselling to reduce and eliminate IPV. I am encouraging all LGBT people to report all incidents of violence, whether as a result of bullying or IPV, to the police as well as to Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG). And I want to use this opportunity to reiterate that J-FLAG does not condone any type of violence against any person regardless of their sexual identity.

The LGBT community and allies need to be a support system for those in need – both victims and perpetrators – and encourage people to speak out against all types of violence, both in and out of relationships.

P. ANDREW, pgjen_13@hotmail.com, St James

Sadly it seems as implied in this letter a fall in reporting from persons affected by homophobic violence or is JFLAG now finally trying to get its act together when it comes to proper data collection and archiving with evidence of same. I have been openly critical of the incident reporting mechanism they had when I went there as Admin Finance Officer doubling as Crisis Intervention and the poor record keeping of files and incomplete reports of some serious incidents at times, I had to do some major overhauling of the forms and files at the time, examples include persons with injuries yet no photos, police station reports (even rejected visits or cop service number and times) or supporting pictures or documents such as receipts from clinics or prescriptions for injury treatment or dressing and drugs added to the file to make it substantive, the follow up visits that the form calls for at the end before the file is closed or handed over to the relevant person is often blank for many cases. This poor recording keeping or data collection has had and seems to continue to have a serious dent on the all important crisis communication when it comes to public advocacy.

Crisis communication is such as important piece for Jamaica LGBTQ advocacy and more details of cases (barring names or use of pseudonyms) must be brought forward. Nearly 80% of the clients I interviewed who came into the JFLAG office to file reports the session(s) were recorded on audio, unfortunately those were lost as my successor I gathered did not monitor the files and the systems crashed with the files lost forever, so much for simple good administration.

The cynicism and disbelief from anti gay groups, religious fanatics and even legislators is clear over the years with support from media, public commentators and even the police high command dismissing prominent cases as lovers’ quarrels and these major cases are used to justify dismissing any others that have a homosexual involved while not taking into account every case on its own merit. The deceptive use of non homophobic cases by some LGBT lobbyists over the life of the struggle has not helped any either as it only seeks to reinforce the resolve by anti gay voices as we are viewed as liars when such public agitation takes place. Uncompleted court cases for example that of the John Terry matter from 2009 though the stalling at the preliminary hearing level has already revealed some familiarity with the accused and the deceased despite a note was left suggesting death for homosexuals, alleged used condoms were also said to have been found in the home, whether they have evidence of the persons therein is still unclear. The Dean Moriah matter as well sadly who was murdered earlier this year yet long before the investigations were completed some overseas based advocates rushed to judgement and paraded the matter as a homophobic incident even as the trial creeps in our court system, by the time the police high command responded the blanket dismissal of homophobic killings was the subtext of the response hence implying dishonesty by LGBT advocates and a feeling that Jamaica has been falsely labelled as homophobic.

see: September 18 for Dean Moriah Matter 

The mistrust of local advocates I fear still seems to exist in some 7 reports I have received by phone, social media and through other groups when persons are asked to engage JFLAG for example persons simply refuse and even go as far as to label the group as classist and not interested in assisting certain types of persons or feeling that their matter won’t be dealt with as they think it should. This mistrust challenge has been a concern from long before my time at the entity as while there I had a serious task gaining the trust of persons to release their inhibitions and make their reports, this leads to gross under-reporting. This is where our same gender loving sisters come in where there is a feeling that JFLAG is only for males and hence many women who are the subject of abuse, violence (corrective rape) and increasing forced evictions do not come forward.

Exploitative same sex relations as hinted above are also of significant import as men who do not identify as “gay” in the Jamaican context as “bad man” feel threatened in some way as the description (fear of feminization of any sort) for some and power differentials that obtain in this unions of sorts played out in violence for purposes of control. A constant in most of the cases over the years is the class issues right before us, there is usually a middle to high income or relatively comfortable gay man who ends up being the deceased versus a hyper-masculine type from the lower socio economic classes who often do not take any personal items of the victim after the fact and sometimes ends up using the gay panic defence strategy to suggest some sort of implied sodomatical attack to justify the self defence response to kill the person. These same hyper-masculine types have a real fear of exposure in their own class or community so the relations with other more powerful or resourced men is crucial which is also pegged on the belief gay men are more resourced and will pay for such sexual relations.

There maybe is some truth to that as to maintain stealth/secrecy some exchange may occur but the misogynistic view pegged to masculinity by Jamaican standards men do not want to feel subservient to another or in a weakened position so when something changes in that union riddled with a constant power struggle (the so called monied or resourced gay man controlling the union or sex versus the masculine prowess of the hyper-masculine brother maintaining his ground) leads to some violence as the lower resourced man responds the way he knows how that is violence as we are well taught in Jamaica so to do. Any form of disrespect is often met with a violent reaction and seeing that gay men aren’t seen as real men by general social standards the aggressor feels justified in carrying out the attack even using homophobic slurs in doing so despite the intimate familiarity between the parties. These types of cases have factored in the public domain more so than others especially owing to the fact that the victims are prominent citizens or foreigners such as UK Consul John Terry or local Ambassador Peter King, Julius Nelson (son of oppositions spokesman on National Security Dwight Nelson),

Philanthropist, community legend and party promoter Michael Melbourne victim of a trick by a hyper-masculine type
Philanthropist, community legend and party promoter Michael Melbourne victim of a trick by a hyper-masculine type

Micheal Melbourne (community influential) murdered at his apartment on Worthington Avenue or Brian Williamson whose killer “Wingee” was a part of the MSM population who also died in his own apartment. The Brian Williamson case though the motive turned out not to be a homophobic one directly the response from the public is where the evidence is strong of the homo-negative feelings that run in the Jamaican psyche, persons literally rejoiced the morning outside the building as the undertakers and police cordoned off the area to collect the body and process the crime scene. Most of those cases above have remained in the public domain for so long while not having direct homophobic causations that they inform how members of the public judge new cases as non homophobic matters.

“Steve” Lenford Harvey matter just ended with sentencing shortly but the motive is still a bit unclear as robbery seems as the original causation but upon discovery of photos on a laptop it morphed into something else with an added homophobic feature. Also see: 2 Found Guilty Of The Murder Of AIDS Activist, Steve Harvey, Sentencing September 26

Gully Queen
Transgender murder victim “Gully Queen” whose case was labelled as a homophobic case …. misdirected homophobia towards a gender non-conformist should be the correct sub-text in describing this one I suggest

also see: Female cisgender imperative thwarted: 17 year old pre-op transgender woman murdered

The Dwayne Jones murder mistmatch in its reporting has not helped either as (s)he was a transwoman but mistakenly took for a gay man crossed dressed in  a public space with a deceptive motive to trick straight males at an outdoor entertainment event in a rural district. Some activists said he was gay and used that to justify the public advocacy while others said the correct gender identity which confused some folks so some Jamaicans and public commentators simply dismissed the whole as a another gay deception with a satisfactory outcome believe or not.  The outrage that was to have been displayed was not evident except by sections of the LGBT populations.  A recent television special one year since the murder shows up the carelessness frankly of Gully Queen herself and friends that faithful night but who is going to say it openly? that in a sense she gave her own life away in a sense as they clearly thought they understood how to “pass” in public which clearly they didn’t.  See that documentary HERE …….. Host Dionne Jackson Miller takes a look at the issues of the murder of Dwayne Jones aka Gully Queen one year ago and some other related issues to do with homelessness, displacements and forced evictions of LGBT youths with guests, issues to do with passing in public, honesty & integrity about one’s real gender scream for attention in this presentation which warrants better programs from LGBTQ advocacies & interventions specific to transgender individuals navigating public life in Jamaica as misdirected homophobic violence can lead to more incidents such as the tragic murder of Gully Queen,

Other genuine cases also having persons of lesser ilk have not been put to good use to prove the active homophobia in Jamaica when it occurs in more meaningful ways, the cross dresser beating in Trelawny have been overplayed that it has no impact anymore in a sense, the JFLAG listing of cases it did some years ago only show numbers, no outcomes in terms of which were solved. There are several other cases that can be made to help the public to differentiate genuine crimes with a homophobic motive versus crimes of passion as the others are called by detractors.  Cases such as the Manchester mobbing in January 2008 comes to mind complete with photos I took of the victim when I took the report, the lesbian picketing matter in St Catherine some years ago also has photos, the stabbing incident of a transman in Half Way Tree in full view of persons is also another with strong evidence. He now resides in Canada.

LGBT History - Hated to Death Report 2004, Human Rights Watch
Now deceased man who was chopped in Trelawney in November 2002 and featured in the Human Rights Watch Report “Hated To Death” 2004

There are several points reports can be made:

The Police in some instances do take reports the problem is there are still old feelings of hate and stereotyping in the force that needs removing.

Aphrodite’s P.R.I.D.E Jamaica catering to lesbian, transgender and bisexual persons but does engage MSM via crisis intervention and has aided persons in resolving matters.

GLBTQ Jamaica of which this blog is apart continues to receive, engage persons and make referrals to those who make reports or know of incidents for the past 7 years via yours truly, Tel: 1-876-813-4942

I still recommend JFLAG despite their issues.

Quality Citizenship Jamaica, QCJ which is a lesbian, bisexual women entity more so for advocacy but they do some crisis intervention.

Peace and tolerance

also see more crisis communication related posts from sister blogs:  So Dean Moriah’s murder was NOT a homophobic killing ……. ethical issues in advocacy arise yet again

Gay Lobby May Have Lost Potential Allies (Gleaner Letter) Indeed

NO GAY RAGE – Homosexuals Are Not Targeted For Violent Crime, Say Experts

Gleaner claims new backlash towards the gay lobby due to MSM homelessness in Kingston

Jamaica Observer deliberately aiding the further discrediting of the remaining LGBTQ credibility in public advocacy……

Police crack College of Agriculture, Science and Education lecturer murder

Betty Ann Blaine on the big gay lie ..

Betty Ann Blaine on Poverty, children and the Buggery Law …. and that awful confusion of homosexuality with pedophilia 

Questions on murder/buggery case in court

The failure to address or tweak the crisis communication aspect of public advocacy is what has slowed our progress greatly in public advocacy that could have been made.

H

Former Miss LGBT World on being Transgender in Jamaica

Transweek-header-web-l-625x333

The following is a post done earlier this year with Miss LGBT World 2009 and dancehall queen winner Tiana Miller who granted an interview. Also see other posts for the week:

Transgender Awareness Week 2013

Transgender Awareness Week 2013: Internalized Transphobia

Tiana Miller. (Photos courtesy of Tiana Miller)

Last week, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, 16-year-old Dwayne Jones was shot and stabbed multiple times for turning up to a party in women’s clothing. Jones was reportedly transgender and the murder has once again highlighted the awful reality of life for Jamaica’s LGBT community. And it really is fucking awful.

In 2006, TIME magazine called Jamaica “the most homophobic place on Earth,” and the anti-gay sentiment prevalent in the country’s media and most popular musical genre, dancehall, has been well-documented. The Jamaica Gleaner, one of the country’s largest newspapers, regularly publishes stories about the gay community with a homophobic slant. Last month, it referred to a group of men who were evicted from an abandoned house as a “gay clan” and ran an op-ed (in the year 2013) that rubbished the idea of being born gay, saying people who are attracted to the same sex actively decide to do so, in much the same way that they decide to “eat snails (like the French)” or “like the taste of jackfruit.”

In the wake of Jones’ death, I got in touch with Tiana Miller, a transgender Jamaican, who hopes that her openness about her gender and sexuality will inspire others to display similar levels of bravery.

VICE: Hi Tiana. So, back to the start—at what age did you first realize that you were transgender?
Tiana Miller: It was at around age five when I first started thinking like a female. Then I gradually came to the realization that I felt more comfortable in a female skin. It was difficult. Because of the social norms of my country, I really felt as if I was doing something wrong.

Were your family and friends supportive?
Yes, they were, especially my dad.

That’s good. What about Jamaican society as a whole? Do you agree with the description of the country as, “the most homophobic place on Earth”?
Yes, I do. The challenges that we face are difficulties in surviving, as they relate to jobs, education, and housing. High school was OK for me because I hadn’t transformed yet, but it’s hard now education-wise because I would love to get a college degree, but can’t because they won’t allow me in college.

That’s awful. I’d imagine gay people in Jamaica are quite economically disadvantaged if they are unable to get a decent education or find work.
Yes, they are forced to be poor. The lucky ones are those who find rich partners and dedicate their lives to them.

There have been a few high-profile cases of police brutality towards gay people in Jamaica. Do you feel that the police give transgender people the protection they deserve?
No, they definitely don’t. Homeless transgenders are on the street, and the police—who should be their protectors—have literally run them down and chased them because of their lifestyle.

Is homelessness a common problem for transgender people?
Yes, and they are homeless because they have difficulties in sourcing income to rent houses or locate safe houses to live in.

Have you been physically attacked due to your gender?
Yes, I have been attacked before. I ran, so I didn’t suffer much harm. But naturally this had a traumatising effect on me.

So I take it there are a lot of areas that are out of bounds for gay and transgender people.
Naturally there are. This applies to anywhere where there are slums.

Some of the homophobic attacks over there have been horrific. I remember hearing about a gay rights activist who was killed before people celebrated over his body. Doesn’t stuff like that make you fear for your safety?
Yes, it does. I put myself out there, but I’m still aware of how vicious these homophobic homosapiens are.

Are there many people who dare to be open about their sexuality?
The gay and transgender communities aren’t united, as people fear for their lives, so not many people actually identify themselves with the communities.

So do you consider yourself brave for being so open about your gender and sexuality?
Yes, I am brave. If I wish to see a change, I myself have to inspire it. I had to put myself out there and make myself seen so that people know that transgenders do exist and see that we are normal people trying to live our everyday lives like human beings. We need people like myself who are willing to challenge this country and its government.

The media often hold dancehall culture responsible for the homophobia in Jamaica—what’s your view on that?
I think the main contribution comes from the church and their social ethics concerning what is right and wrong. It puzzles me how cruel human beings can be and how biased they are because the church claims that we are demons and bashes us instead of trying to counsel us.

Yeah, it seems a little illogical.
I know, right? But, like, seriously—I care zero.

So I take it there isn’t much of an LGBT nightlife scene where you are? 
Well, there was, but there’s nothing now—just regular venues that they rent to us.

Do you think Jamaica will ever get round to changing its anti-sodomy laws and modernizing its stance on homosexuality?
Well, it actually seems to be on the verge of doing this.

Because gay culture is growing or because of pressure from other countries?
Both. But time will tell, and I don’t wish to make predictions.

Where do you see yourself in that battle?
I see myself as being the first transgender to be an ambassador for the country. I want to advocate for human rights, be a feminist choreographer and also be a whole lot of other things.

Great. Thanks, Tiana.

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.

International Sex Workers Rights Day ……………

Today is such a day and is marked worldwide by conferences, sessions, some public education activity to sensitize persons as to the need to view this part of our community as human beings as well not to be ostracised and scorned as we are good at doing. The term sex worker rights encompasses a variety of aims being pursued globally by individuals and organizations that specifically involve the human and labor rights of sex workers.

The goals of these movements are extremely diverse, but generally aim to destigmatize sex work and ensure fair treatment before legal and cultural forces on a local and international level for all persons employed in the Sex industry. In most countries, even those where sex work is legal, sex workers of all kinds are stigmatized and marginalized, which can prevent them from seeking legal redress for discrimination. Not to be confused with the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers which is observed annually on 17 December by Sex workers, their advocates, friends, families and allies.

First celebrated in 2003, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers is the brainchild of Dr. Annie Sprinkle and the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA (SWOP-USA), an American Sex Worker’s Rights organization.

Originally conceived as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle Washington, it has evolved into an annual international event. The day calls attention to AIDS, hate crimes committed against sex workers all over the globe as well as the need to remove the stigma and discrimination that is perpetuated by custom and prohibitionist laws that has made violence against sex-workers acceptable.

The red umbrella has become an important symbol for Sex Workers Rights and it is increasingly being used on December 17: “First adopted by Venetian sex workers for an anti-violence march in 2002, red umbrellas have come to symbolize resistance against discrimination for sex workers worldwide.”

Sex Workers Association of Jamaica the Kingston Chapter has been doing ground work in bringing the issues to public attention, in 2010 PANOS released a report on CSW: ORAL TESTIMONIES OF JAMAICAN SEX WORKERS

The lure of easy money, peer pressure, economic difficulties and lack of education and training seem to be the factors which prompted most of the interviewees to begin sex work. Boy Blue regards his entry into the industry as responding to a higher calling although he hints that none of his previous jobs was as lucrative as sex work. A few of the oral testimonies reveal that early sexual abuse combined with economic hardship helped drive some young women into sex work,

The sex workers have had mixed experiences regarding working conditions
in the sex industry. Some of the women lived on the same premises where they worked. Most have worked in bad conditions as well as in good places where they were satisfied with the treatment they received. Violence is mentioned as a constant threat to sex workers and some shared their experiences of this. They also speak of exploitation at the hands of both club bosses and clients, and of some employers who keep strict control over their actions. Some sex workers feel the police make no effort to protect them as citizens or to respond seriously to any complaints they make.Boy Blue’s oral testimony is in stark contrast to those of the female sex
workers. He sees himself as the star of his own show. He says he negotiates what he does and where. He travels as he likes, chooses what acts he will perform and most importantly enjoys the sexual intercourse (unlike most female sex workers interviewed who said they were careful to separate business from pleasure).

In as far as LGBT persons are concerned especially homeless Men who have sex with men (MSM) this issue of commercial sex or transactional sex in Kingston mostly but also seen in St Catherine, Clarendon, St Ann and Montego Bay is worrying as many of the brothers mostly have been thrown out of their homes and communities have had to resort to sex work to survive along with other illegal activity including the illegal lotto scam allegedly. With the treatment meted out to this group of persons by the LGBT community itself through rigid stigmatization and discrimination, classism and literal scorn and outright overlooking by the advocacy groups with no serious intentions for street based interventions thus far one wonders where and when will this group get the attention they desire urgently? As someone who was temporarily displaced in 1996 through to early 1998 by virtue of my public case and family ostracism sans the existence of any advocates at the time I now all too well the struggles to find bread and temptations to engage in sex work with the ugly sides of such activity all too real with the loss of friends or police interventions/harassment on those who were caught in the act leading to all other kinds of problems that bedevil them for years on end in a few cases.

The civil disobedience some homeless men had to resort to against the advocacy structures albeit their own behaviour was not squeaky clean is not to be forgotten in August 2011 which came from some of the men who were displaced by the advocacy structures themselves after the closure of a shelter project due to so called bad behaviour bearing in mind no proper psycho social support mechanisms, tweaking of the original project or keeping the facility open were entertained or kept in place and no attempt was made to correct it instead the men were put to pasture. The we wonder why members of the population resort to commercial sex work? while putting their very lives at risk. Since 2012 alone several instances of chases, attempted beatings/mobbings and more join the homeless as they find themselves put out of their family homes, influentials in the community have limited resources to assist and can only do so much. As for the buggery law that too has caused some problems in proper outreach for msms involved in commercial sex work, we are told for example government through the Ministry of Health cannot be seen directly engaging msms since buggery is illegal and or the misconception especially overseas that homosexuality is illegal when it is not.

also see from sister blog Gay Jamaica Watch: Rowdy gays banned by J-FLAG, JASL ………. (Jamaica Observer)

Damage Control from the establishment on the Homeless MSM issue:

Doing ‘business’ in New Kingston … Jamaica Observer on MSM Homelessness ….. JFLAG should be ashamed

I implore persons to seriously consider this section of the community who have been overlooked for decades as funds are spent on HIV/AIDS interventions supposedly to include this group without any rehabilitation effort or psycho social support yet we have ended up with an infection rate of over 31% as the new study conducted last year seems over the original 31% rates in 2007. Homeless MSMs and CSWs are only good for statistical dartboarding more so than helping these persons to improve their living situations it seems.

Peace and tolerance

H

Gleaner Editorial – JCF In Shadow Of SSP Bailey

And here we thought the issue would have died by now and we can move on quietly, yes we know that there maybe fall out but working this story to the bone might be the reason that leads to that after we are keeping the issue in the public domain for so long even after an early apology from the Jamaica Constabulary Force…

Have a read of the editorial and see what you make of it, I still belive we should let this one go but since the supportive stance may also be good for the advocates JFLAG it may go wrong for the ordinary LGBT folk on the ground, but who cares?

Source

Jamaica Gleaner Company

Quite sensibly, the police commissioner, Mr Owen Ellington, has distanced the constabulary from the declaration by one of his key lieutenants, Mr Fitz Bailey, that gays were the major players in organised crime, and led in the one that leeched money from foreigners in lottery scams.

As we have stated in these columns, the inanity of the comment lies in the senior superintendent’s failure, even assuming his statement were true, to prove that sexual orientation has some bearing on criminal involvement.

Also, Mr Bailey and his other officers have not informed the public of their foolproof systems of establishing sexual orientation, whether of heterosexual or homosexual criminal suspects. And if so, perhaps the constabulary will soon publish its sexual-orientation profiles for all criminals – from murderers and housebreakers, to scrap-metal thieves, and even corrupt cops.

But while we welcome Mr Ellington’s action, the failure of Mr Bailey himself to apologise, and the lack of censure against him are matters of grave concern that raise questions about the culture of the police force and whether the police chief’s statement was merely a sop to the critics.

Up to last week, Mr Bailey was head of the police unit that investigates organised crime. Coming to his last day in the post, he told reporters that gays were responsible for a large portion of organised crime in Jamaica.

Potential targets

To this newspaper, and to many people in the society, Mr Bailey’s remarks, especially in the context of a generally homophobic Jamaica, could potentially cause gays to become the targets of violence, of which they are too often victims merely because of their lifestyles.

What was particularly sad is that Mr Bailey did not appreciate the folly of his gay-criminal correlation. So in attempting to explain his position he only exacerbated the ridiculousness of his position.

So, in came Mr Ellington with damage control.

Confoundingly, Mr Ellington had a word with Mr Bailey, a senior superintendent, who shared information, including discussions with the gay lobby J-FLAG, “supporting his assertion”.

Mr Bailey, it appears, has not changed his position, but according to Mr Ellington, “fully understands the basis of concern for the safety and well-being of members of the gay community, who may be targeted by misguided individuals simply because of the statements under reference”.

Concerned what partners think

Mr Ellington has some practical concerns, including the possible reaction of countries – where the rights of individuals, lifestyle regardless, are esteemed – that provide economic and other support to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

“The JCF, therefore, withdraws the statement and expresses regret to all Jamaicans and our international partners for any concern, anxiety and any appearance of unfair labelling which may have been construed from the message,” Mr Ellington said.

It is moot whether the statement was the JCF’s or Mr Ellington’s to withdraw in the absence of a retraction by Mr Bailey – unless it is to be assumed that the senior superintendent had spoken on behalf of the Police High Command.

The episode speaks to the retrograde culture of the JCF that still has little regard or tolerance for ideas such as the rights of individuals and equality under the law. ‘To Serve, Protect and Reassure’, the JCF’s motto, is for narrow application.

With corruption almost endemic in the police force, Mr Ellington, assuming he believes in the mission, has much work to do to reform the force.

The opinions on this page, except for the above, do not necessarily reflect the views of The Gleaner. To respond to a Gleaner editorial, email us: editor@gleanerjm.com or fax: 922-6223. Responses should be no longer than 400 words. Not all responses will be published.

ENDS

Also see:

Apology Accepted JCF but some questions linger on many fronts

Stereotyping from Police

 

 

JFLAG Welcomes JCF Apology

 

 

 

J-FLAG Responds to Police’s Assertion About Gays & Organised Crimes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kingston, Jamaica —July 12, 2011

J-FLAG notes with great concern the assertion made by Senior Superintendent Fitz Bailey, on TVJ’s Prime Time News on Monday, July 11, 2011, that young homosexual men are the main perpetrators of organised crimes in Jamaica.

While J-FLAG is concerned about increasing levels of crime across the island, we question this statement and its validity and caution the police from using stereotypes, such as dress and material lifestyle in their pronouncements regarding perpetrators. This is an irresponsible and incendiary pronouncement, coming from a senior police office. Furthermore, this broad brushing feeds directly into assumptions about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons, an already marginalized and vulnerable group, and perpetuates social prejudice, inequality, harassment and violence.

Like all Jamaicans, J-FLAG is concerned about the high levels of crime and violence that exists in our country with organised crime being a major problem facing Jamaica over the last fifteen years. Furthermore, based on reports by the police, criminologists and other experts, Jamaican organised criminals function through gangs whose activities exploit the human condition, utilise extortion and protection rackets, supply illegal goods, and attempt to maneuver and camouflage their ill-gotten funds. This is a feature of a broader societal problem and limiting this to gays appears to diminish the intensity of the problem.

Given that organised crime threatens citizen safety and security and undermines democracy, retards economic development and can contribute to government instability, J-FLAG strongly believes that improving general awareness is critical to Jamaicans understanding their role in combating the various threats and reducing the harms they cause. While we fully understand that an individual’s sexual orientation does not absolve them from being involved in any type of crime, this type of profiling does more harm than good to an already stigmatized, disadvantaged and marginalized community.

J-FLAG also calls on SSP Bailey to furnish more information on the research to which he alluded so that the public can be much clearer on the parameters around which this “research” was conducted and can determine for themselves the validity of the findings shared.

J-FLAG fully supports the efforts of the Government and police to arrest all crimes and mitigate its impact on Jamaicans. We stand ready to partner with the police to reduce the incidence of crime. We invite SSP Fitz Bailey and his team to meet with us to share the types of organized crimes perpetrated by homosexuals, in order that we can support the effort of the police.

ENDS

there is talk since that maybe Superintendent Bailey’s comments were edited as he meant to say that the homosexuals were involved in the infamous lotto scam but when one listen to the television clip the reporter actually specified that he didn’t specify what type of crime under the organized crime umbrella the homosexuals were in. This sounds like some damage control attempt here to tackle JFLAG’s pretty worded press release from the conveyor belt.


He was speaking at a handing over ceremony of the newly refurbished Organised crime investigations office. Just when the community was in a way settled or settling from problems with the security forces and a seeming cordial relations now reached, sadly the reality is there are some in the LGBT community who may be involved in illegal activities and that may put an ugly face to the community in the eyes of the police and by extension the public but to simply label generally gays as criminals I am not so sure the other non gay underworld bosses are going to take kindly to this assertion.

As for the J’s press release it’s far too wordy and leaves some doubt in my mind as well on the last paragraph where they said:

“J-FLAG fully supports the efforts of the Government and police to arrest all crimes and mitigate its impact on Jamaicans. We stand ready to partner with the police to reduce the incidence of crime. We invite SSP Fitz Bailey and his team to meet with us to share the types of organized crimes perpetrated by homosexuals, in order that we can support the effort of the police.”

I was expecting the word “alleged’ in “crimes perpetrated by homosexuals” how does Mr. Bailey know the men involved are gay? and is it JFLAG’s business to be helping agents of the state to out persons? One wonders if this is a sellout too as this sounds like they will point out if needed these alleged gay or bisexual men. Very disturbing posturings from the J here.

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon

Observer cartoonist Clovis weighed in with this some what damning piece, I am not aware that the JFJ Jamaicans for Justice were opposed or expressed any such opposition to the issues as expressed by SSP Bailey. Sadly this is what many maybe thinking now as well as profiling and stereotyping has always been an issue with associated the vilified effeminacy in males which is also not only a part of Jamaica’s homophobia but also a stinging effemophobia within the LGBT body politic.

This matter is not dying anytime soon it seems

UPDATE July 14

JCF apologises for ‘gay crime’ statement

Apology Accepted JCF but some questions on several fronts still linger …

Peace and tolerance

H

UPDATE July 26.07.11

Jamaica Observer Cartoonist Clovis has been doing some mixed pieces incorporating effeminacy with machosim or machismo and the recent murders possibly suggesting gay culture in the underground or underworld as well. The toons have been receiving mixed reactions from the LGBT body politic.

Drag queens double jeopardy

probably the world’s famous drag queen –  Rupaul in and out of drag

So the landscape gets more exciting as the girls’ adventures just makes for good entertainment but seriously we come too close to danger without realising how we can slip into something worse. I say we as I used to do some cross dressing in my early days. Incidents being two for this diva who drives without a license for some time found herself in hot water on the weekend last and panicked as she worked the phones to get some psychological backup, the cops thinking (s)he was a woman stopped the car in St. Catherine after for speeding but found out it was a group of divas coming from a party in Kingston the curious cops questioned the girls for a lengthy period before arriving at deciding to take them to the police station nearby, the notorious Spanish Town precinct with an enviable reputation of being one of the most homophobic set of cops in Jamaica, we do hope that has changed since the recent set of transfers as done by the Police High Command.

Call for help

Her frantic efforts to make calls for advice as how to deal with the cops paid off and my source was the one who made it so, she was prompted how to deal with the lawmen who in the end laughed off the matter despite several of them on the realization of the men bring cross-dressers uttered homophobic remarks. The proverbial bribe was also sought by elements on the team but the girls would have none of it and made their way home soon after they were released.

But as fate would have it the same drag persona was caught by another set of cops in another jurisdiction driving without a license yet again and was charged also with reckless driving too, this time the cops were not so accommodating and were hell bent on incarcerating the diva in the men’s section of the lock up (if they could find one) for the weekend, this did not sit well with the Superintendent at several of the stops made by the law men in a bid to deposit the charged diva and word quickly spread at one point at one of the lockups that a drag queen was coming in things took a turn for the worse as hardened inmates were said to be planning a beating.

The cops had a change of heart and while having her in the holding area insisted that she try to get help for station bail as soon as possible. Persons who were contacted made attempts to family members but were unsuccessful as they responded that they weren’t interested as “he” had abandoned them and wasn’t keeping in touch, it was friends and a particular party promoter who came to the rescue and made bail to have her out, as (s)he left the heckling and jeering could be heard from officers, staff and other crime suspects in the guardroom/lobby of the precinct.

Some notes:

I do hope that drag queens understand that while the security forces maybe more tolerant and courteous that does not mean we should take for granted the ease at which we can slip back to the dark days where divas were outed without mercy in full view of other persons and police posts or even chased out by cops who refuse to take reports due to stigma and discrimination. We have come a long way to here and many of the younger divas do not appreciate or know the price paid by those who came before, who placed their own lives on the line so we can enjoy the freedoms somewhat thought still limited today. Thankfully the situation never turned out worse than it was but there is a flip side to all this was well. Having witnessed how the police  when they arrive at events sometimes are intimated by men in drag and fierce effeminate behaviour both can be used as a tool to literally suppress any would be phobic reactions from would be attackers. There are some divas who have mastered the craft of honing this effeminate element to their advantage better yet when they express no fear and are prepared to wreck shop if needed in their stance of defiance. The softer the aesthetic the better too but it can become an issue if it is found out that (s)he is actually a “he” as was the case a few weeks ago during carnival where a man called a mob to fall on a diva who was dancing with him but when he felt “her” pubic area it was a bulge which started a chain reaction on the other “girls” who were enjoying themselves in their own way on the streets nearby, see the post below or

Men Rushed And Beaten In New Kingston

Hope they learn from this.

Peace and tolerance

H

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

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

News you can use – To whom do I report the police?

John Doe said he was physically abused by a group of policemen after he refused to allow them to search his house without a warrant.
Mr. Doe says he is afraid to report the matter to the police and wants to know if there is any other agency or body to which he could report the incident.
What is the Police Public Complaints Authority?

The authority is an independent, non-police agency of the Ministry of Justice with the power to investigate allegations of misconduct filed by members of the public against members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and its auxiliaries. Investigations are conducted in an impartial and objective fashion by the authority’s investigative staff, which is made up solely of civilian employees.

Who comprises the authority?

The authority consists of three persons appointed by the governor general in his discretion by instrument under the broad seal (one of whom is appointed executive chairman).

What are the legal functions of the authority?

a) To monitor the investigation by the force of any complaint or other matter to which the act applies with a view to ensuring that such investigation is conducted impartially.

b) To supervise the investigation of complaints by the force.

c) To undertake direct investigation of complaints.

d) To evaluate and report to the minister of justice from time to time on the system of handling complaints.

Who may make a complaint?

Complaints may be made by a member of the public, whether or not that person is affected by the subject of the complaint, or by any person on behalf of a member of the public so affected, but with his written consent.

What happens to a complaint after it is filed?

The complaint is assigned to an investigator who will commence investigation immediately. The investigator will gather as much information as possible about the complaint through records of the police department, field visits, interviews of witnesses, police officers and other available sources. The authority will inform you by letter of the status of an ongoing investigation. At the close of the investigation, the case is thoroughly reviewed by the authority.

Where the authority considers that a criminal offence may have been committed, the matter is reported to the director of public prosecutions for her ruling. Otherwise, it is reported to the commissioner of police with the authority’s recommendation. The authority notifies the complainant by letter of the action taken.

If your complaint does not fall within the authority’s jurisdiction, the authority will forward it to the appropriate agency and will notify you of the referral.

What are the possible actions that the authority may take?

The authority may decide that the complaint is:

Substantiated: The subject officer has committed the alleged act of misconduct.

Unsubstantiated: There was insufficient evidence to substantiate the complaint.

Unfounded: The subject officer did not commit an act of misconduct. The incident did occur, but the officer’s actions were lawful.

How long does it take before a complaint is resolved?

The authority strives to resolve all complaints in a timely manner. The exact time depends on the complexity of the investigation and the cooperation of the parties. On average, the investigation of a complaint is completed within three months.

Is there any other way to resolve the complaint?

Where the parties voluntarily agree, a complaint which, if proven, would not attract sanctions may be resolved informally. In this case the assistance of a neutral party assigned by the authority is utilised.

How and where may a complaint be lodged to the authority?

How: In person or by mail.
Where: Ground and first floors
45-47 Barbados Avenue, Kingston 5, Jamaica.
Tel: 968-8875, 968-1932
Fax: 960-4767
Toll free: 1-888-FOR-HELP (367-4357)