Before you read the actual news piece from the paper today please bear in mind the following; the way the men are described by the author of the Observer story as "the gays" is instructive, anyway the anti social behaviour has simply moved northwards from its original jurisdiction in the business district of New Kingston where it caused repeated problems and mainstream media attention but following the hushed eviction of the two main representative agencies JFLAG and JASL who have been accused of abandoning the men and at whose former premises the men ended up retreating after the police and local authorities crackdown on their squatting activities in up-scale neighbourhoods the month of May seems to be a very bad month for MSM homelessness on many fronts some of which I will get into after the excerpted story from the Observer which I implore you to read carefully.
February 2013Street MSM Stone J-FLAG – After Being Cleared From Gov’t Property, Homosexuals Launch Assault
The news team had gone to speak to residents after receiving a report that police had removed an unruly group of gay men who had taken up residence in the unoccupied home.
The gays only retreated after the photographer managed to enter the vehicle which drove off. However, no one was hurt and the vehicle suffered no damage.
Residents of Millsborough have been complaining that the gay men have been behaving in an unbecoming manner and have been making their lives miserable.
They also complained that the men have attracted the owners of high-end vehicles as their clients and have been setting an unwanted example for the children in their neighbourhood.
"Whenever a gay man gets hurt or killed, even if it is at the hands of other gay men, you hear all kinds of fancy statements being released by J-FLAG (the Jamaica Forum for Lesbian, All-sexuals and Gays). Where are they now that some of their own are infringing on our rights? It is another example that J-FLAG has been trying to paint Jamaicans as homophobic but, if we were killing gays as they claim, would these men be able to come and destroy our decent community for months without being attacked?" one female resident.
The residents said have made numerous reports to the Matilda's Corner Police Station but officers, they claimed, said their hands were tied because the owner of the unoccupied house — a businessman — has not come forward to give a statement that the gay men have been trespassing on his property.
"One of them came and made a report that he was assaulted by one of his kind. He told us he got permission to stay there and allowed the rest to join him," a policeman at the Matilda's Corner police station said.
Head of the St Andrew Central Police Division Senior Superintendent Fitz Bailey told the Jamaica Observer that after the publication of an article in last Sunday's paper entitled 'Residents say gay men take over Barbican house', the police had forcibly removed the men from the premises.
"We went there on Sunday and ordered them out. We checked back on Monday and no one was there but, it seems that they have been creeping back in. We face a challenge in that the house is not secured, the locks have been sawn off so they have easy access," Bailey told the Jamaica Observer.
A policeman from the Matilda's Corner station said the unruly band of gays are among men who gather at the intersection of Knutsford Boulevard and Grenada Crescent in New Kingston at nights and indulge in male prostitution.
"They openly solicit customers and behave in a most disgusting manner at nights," the policeman said."
Read more: HERE
JFLAG's ED Dane Lewis alongside Ian McKnight former JASL Board Chairman at an IDAHO 2013 symposium at the Courtleigh Hotel on Homelessness (the homeless men were not included or invited)
I know my older readers may be used to the happenings but it must be made clear that these happenings today could have been avoided in some part if not for a head strong JASL board and personalities who contributed to the bizarre and dubious decision to end the shelter's activities and ironically both JASL and JFLAG have now found themselves homeless too since April as they were given marching orders by their landlord owing to the problems with the men and other factors. Here are the original posts I did on the ultimatum and the closure of the then residential facility in 2009/10 for some historical perspective on this, the monster was creeping up the hill a while now:
Homeless MSM to feel the pinch as JASL issues ultimatum
The Homeless Project, the meeting and more
Just days ago the same paper carried this: Residents say gays take over Barbican house …………………
and before that there was this: Marauding homosexuals and J-FLAG (Observer Editorial) ……………………
Where will this end knowing all the signs were in the making some six years before?
Why has it been allowed to reach this stage?
Is it that JFLAG is not really interested in this part of the struggle and is more attracted to the limelight of buggery repeals and debates?
JFLAG and its supporters complain that they alone cannot handle everything yet they refuse to entertain criticisms as they seem them as a threat of some sort to what we are yet to understand and as evidenced with the recent aforementioned impasse, there is a feeling that ideas from "others" are not viable enough and words such as "skewed" were used by the ED himself in describing some good suggestions by a straight-allied voice and yet the very powers that be inside the belly of the agency are accused of stalling attempts by other persons of starting their own arms to address some of the community matters. Territorialism here folks? Many solutions lie untouched and archived that have been worked on by various ordinary LGBT folks serving and volunteering on committees yet they are not enacted and then we wonder why volunteer retention is at a all time low or why the dissent in the community has been rising steadily?
Let's split justice for a minute, one of the men who was in prison for a while had penned his thoughts by hand in 2011 and I was so moved I had to share them .................. page 1 captioned.
see: Some Good News on the homeless front
see also the discussion on TVJ at the time (October 2012) on the issue where the shelter was mentioned
for more information see the Homeless MSM in Jamaica tab immediately below for all the previous posts, February podcast on the men, posts from GLBTQ Jamaica HERE plus from my Wordpress blog HERE The talkshow circuit has blown up since the news appeared in the paper today and all kinds of condemnation coupled with the vitriol on the tolerance ad trial now on in the Supreme Court and the anti gay voices on the use of the word "Homophobia"
Prominent attorney Bert Samuels says the residents of the Millsborough Avenue area may have to endure the homeless MSM a little longer as they cannot simply move the homeless men from the previously unoccupied property, the law protects them from being forcibly removed ........... "I can't as a neighbour go to court to have them removed ........... you can go and occupy after a number of years of undisturbed occupation apply for title." he was speaking on Hotline earlier today.
Meanwhile the Press Association of Jamaica has written to JFLAG expressing their condemnation of the reported attack President Jenni Campbell indicated there is no indication that the journalist attack the men or sought to invade their privacy she said the fact that the team was viciously pursued and stoned must be seen as a direct attack on the press, Miss Campbell said the association has encouraged its members to make an official report to the police, the PAJ's letter to JFLAG's Executive Director asks that he inform the persons JFLAG seeks to represent to desist from interfering with journalists in the line of duty and educate its members of the critical role the free press plays in a democracy. The trouble I have with this is that the Observer published two photos showing members of the group which I think is not legal as it was done on private property and we do not have the benefit of the men's side as to why they took such action. I make reference to an incident where I was a DJ at a party in February 12, 2010 persons who were opposed to the event and homosexuality attempted to take photos of persons entering and exiting the premises as well as from a vantage point of the overhanging tree to the property, I sought some legal advice and I was advised that photos taken in a private space and used inappropriately can trigger an action in common law preceded via a warning letter to the suspected person. There are not many test cases in this department. See High Drama as Homophobes attempt to disrupt and picket party
Unruly gays back with a vengeance ...............Peace and tolerance.