The Safe House Project 2009 for Displaced & Homeless MSM/Transgender reviewed & more



In response to numerous requests for more information on the defunct Safe House Pilot Project that was to address the growing numbers of displaced and homeless MSM & Transgender persons especially teens in Kingston in 2007/8/9, a review of the relevance of the project and the possible avoidance of present issues with some of its previous residents if it were kept open.

Recorded June 12, 2013; also see from the former Executive Director named in the podcast more background on the project: HERE

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Did the talk of buggery turn persons off from the polls as well?

As the days roll on since the elections and the new year is in with today being the first official working day more and more as the Christmas and New Year's holiday sheen wears off reality seems to be setting in for Jamaicans, everywhere from radio news reviews, other blogs (gay and straight), barbershop/hairsalons, offices, on buses, downstairs from my workplace and even my African neighbour who is from Nigeria who is married to a Jamaican are adding the talk of the Buggery Law review as one of the turn offs from taking part in the polls. Let us also not forget no vote is still a vote and with the lowest turnout in many decades and the Jamaica Labour Party loosing even once key seats in the polls the shock to both sides is still real, it's as if persons are or were in a daze and are slowly awakening. There is a strong rumour although NOT true or proven that the government in waiting the People's National Party received money from gay contributors overseas hence the overwhelming vote for them supposedly by gays, at my office only this morning the workmen by a hardware were arguing vociferously on it saying they will not tolerate it if "Sista P" the affectionate name for Mrs Miller legalizes homosexuality, although it is not illegal but buggery is but the perception that it is still exists. This rumour I fear if not nipped in the bud and properly countered maybe the ruin of the PNP if they don't get their act together and any hope of a repeal may be delayed tremendously or derailed altogether. 


Many persons seemed more lost in the holiday merriment and making a buck or having traditional family celebrations and or were just upset that the elections were called in the period stayed away from the polls, not even the slick ad campaigns, the alleged vote buying, typical election excitement and online presence could get persons out. Some now conclude that the crowds we saw at both campaign tours on televisions and on online were persons bused in from Kingston or other parts of the island with strong support to create the illusion that there was a groundswell, why else would there have been low turn out by only core support for the PNP/JLP and an almost full ignoring of the voting process by the undecided with vexed feelings by disgruntled JLP supporters. One news review yesterday on radio suggested this as well and the gay vote was included as the LGBT community may have responded to the promise of the review of the buggery law by Sista P. The powerful religious community seems to have also stayed away from the polls whilst opposing the suggestion by Prime Minister designate Portia Simpson Miller to review the buggery law, powerful business interest also were quiet maybe expecting the continuation of the economic policies that benefited some of them, everyone seems caught by surprise on this one even the sharpest of wits on political matters Ian Boyne seemed stunned by the results.


Mark Wignall also who had predicted a possible JLP win retracted in essence his call in the Jamaica Observer, on January 1 Mr. Wignall wrote: Voters prove me horribly wrong. JLP soundly rejected that 


"A dwindling electorate is dangerous"


Where only the diehard, robotic base of both parties participated in the elections and one side captures two-thirds of the seats under such an arrangement, the question must be asked, which Jamaica do the political parties represent?
Can we honestly claim any broad-based representation, or is it that the PNP represents the poor and the JLP the not-so-poor?


As I asked in a recent column, 'Will unemployment, poor roads bite the JLP?' there was always going to be a believability factor facing both parties in terms of which one the people believed would deal with that pressing matter in a more urgent time frame.
The JLP Government had been claiming 'stability' of the macro-economic picture and 'continuity' as a springboard for development. This assumption was always centred on the idea that a poor man without a steady job or, more likely, perennially unemployed, could take that home with him and cook it for dinner.


The PNP countered with JEEP, which the party now says will be instituted. I wish it luck. This proposed emergency employment plan, workable or not, has been bought into by the people.
Because the JLP could not promise anything resembling this proposed crash programme, the assumption on the part of the JLP was always that the people would understand and wait, a most foolish position to hold if the JLP MPs had been in the trenches. What has in fact transpired is that not many discriminating people believed either party so must we assume that only those who walked through the gates of the big dance and arrived early believed it?


With the PNP capturing 53 per cent of the popular vote and 65 per cent of the seats in the lowest turnout in recent memory, it means that increasingly the majority of voters are deciding to remain at home as election cycles continue. The danger of that is that as the voter turnout decreases, the party which wins theoretically only has to pander to the wishes and the desires of its immediate base.
If it takes a crash programme to satisfy that need, then so be it, but that is a dangerous downhill slide in social and economic terms and it operates against the success of any long-term development.


It appears to me that even the PNP was surprised at the win. One JLP supporter who did not vote told me Thursday night, "Last Christmas, nuh work, no money nuh run; this Christmas, same ting. Den a how dem expect fi win?"


One PNP supporter e-mailed me the following: "Well, to say I am surprised is an understatement. Not only did the PNP win, but it was, in reality, a landslide. I never imagined that at all. I can only assume that the voters were upset with the JLP regarding lack of employment, the 'Dudus' affair, the Manatt enquiry, the JDIP scandal and the unimpressive debate between Mr Holness and Mrs Simpson Miller. Surprise, surprise. It was not even close.


"My worry is that the PNP did not expect this. It is like a "buck up". I do not believe they are ready to govern and lead Jamaica to prosperity and development. I say this as a PNP supporter. But I will watch carefully and see what the PNP does." Many people expect jobs next year."


The Buggery review matter has been heating up in the religious front as well since it was postured by Sista P and as we saw on December 31st on a television program "Word Power" restorative advocate and pastor Al Miller has now joined forces with a Singaporean anti gay Christian advocate and law professor Lian Thio 


Professor Li-Ann Thio


who proposed among other things that laws that seek to destroy the family must be contested and not allowed to be passed, she is on the island to promote her new book "Mind The Gap" and participate in a lecture series as well on how Singapore mixes moral values and secularism in their society. She was at pains to say she does not support theocracy but as the interview progressed she kept hinting to the homosexual agenda and the need to fight it. She hinted to the gay agenda as very agnostic aggressive with secular humanism and  implanting its power in political circles while slowly opposing Christianity so as to inform laws and decisions. "Unrighteous laws breeds unrighteousness and lawlessness brings judgement, all this is in the book of Ezekiel ...... when it comes to homosexuality though I oppose same sex marriage, I argued to keep anti sodomy laws on the table ..... churches must not say it is wrong but also provide a solution," she continued she believed persons can be changed. Rev Miller agreed and hinted that the buggery review would be opposed from his standpoint. Miss Chio is the current editor of the Asian yearbook of international law and formerly the Chief Editor of the Singaporean International Journal and Comparative Law while also being a formerly government representative.


Clearly persons are now waking up either from a kind of slumber or daze just realizing that review was suggested, anger was the order of the day at a barber shop I was at the other night. The news was being read on television Jamaica TVJ and the buggery issue came up again, the reactions were mixed at first but when one male barber expressed outrage at gays flaunting their stuff in public the whole air of the discussion changed with some of the same persons who were tolerant before adjusting their tone, to me that is an indication of how fragile tolerance can be and can be influenced to the negative in short order as feeling run close to the surface for many persons just by observation.


The composition of the Senate is also of concern for some as the practice when members of parliament loose a seat they are not normally sent to the senate but the outgoing JLP may not have a choice when Andrew Holness thinks how to put voices that can guide the processes seeing that in the upper house the numbers are low and certain key voices such as Christopher Tufton are gone. The wise and tolerant outgoing President of the senate Ozwald Harding who also has been one of those open voices who advocated over the years for the Buggery Law repeal is no longer in the house. Albeit the senate may only be a slowing agent for key legislation reviews but since more younger persons are now in the mix how does a leader mix experience with youth while having proper representation?


My African neighbour who I referred to in the introduction in a spirited discourse yesterday morning by my gate as I bought my newspapers asked what I thought of the results? I told him I had mixed feelings as I was still wondering why the low voter turnout, he proceeded to reiterate some of the other opinions that the JLP was taught a lesson and the PNP too that it cannot sit by and not move quickly on issues to appease the turned off undecided voters. He also mentioned the buggery review issue and said he didn't have a problem with gay persons so long as they kept it private (I suppose a jab at me since he knows of my previous run in with the law and buggery charge in 1996) he was quick to point out though that he didn't think the gay community contributed money to the campaign as is rumoured but that there are obviously gay persons in the PNP just by looking at the makeup of the cadre of persons there. He like myself is concerned about the massive 2/3rds majority she has and her hold on such awesome power to make legislative changes almost a whim with very little counter from the soon to be opposition JLP, in his strong Nigerian accent he concluded: "it can be dangerous for democracy my friend but Jamaica is a fantastic place and one never knows what to expect" 
We were later joined by his University student tenant a 19 year old male who lived upstairs and another much older and experienced male neighbour two doors from me who originally hailed from Waterhouse, a former active PNP stronghold of the seventies and eighties, we recounted the previous elections and all realized that these are indeed interesting times, I was careful to infuse in the exchanges the buggery review component while not declaring my hand but they know very well that I am gay based on previous legal issues that were public except the 19 year old student tenant who is also a Christian, he just moved in some two years now, he said he was jaded by the ads especially the ones that attempted to make Mrs Simpson Miller out to be incompetent and never saw any messages that gave him hope so although he was enumerated/registered to vote he never voted he also went on to say that the buggery matter was a concern as well, the older neighbour somewhat jokingly said " ... a battyman run the werl" (gays that are running the world), an ode that also seems to be a kind of steadily growing resigning position coming from persons who once aggressively opposed any hint to homosexuality discussed publicly. This sentiment was also expressed by my own barber recently as well.


Several things confront us here friends in this time in Jamaica, the buggery issue may have also contributed to the aloofness by chiefly the undecided at the December 29th polls but it also seems to be gaining some momentum post the results, Jamaicans do not forget things easily as the other factors that went against the JLP is on the lips of the nation such as the Manatt Dudus affair, the JDIP program, the surveillance plane over Tivoli during the incursion with the subsequent denial of sorts by the outgoing National Security Minister who also lost his seat and the feeling of mistrust from former PM's Golding's departure coupled with the "Not In My Cabinet" stance that deeply offended the LGBT community. The incoming PNP also has a lot to do and its work is cut out regarding jobs, the hopelessness in the economy, the continuation of things that were functional or positive from the outgoing JLP, gone are the days when political parties running for or are in office can get comfortable and hope for second terms, the JLP is now the first one term administration and the people will put parties to pasture if they do not deliver if it means a low voter turnout, no vote is still a vote.


The gay community obviously had a hand in this time in the polls responding to the promise to review the buggery law by Sista P, it maybe the most votes ever cast by our cohort in any election ever.


Peace and tolerance


H


Also see: Internalized homophobia glaring since the elections …. a worrying trend

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also see a flashback to some of the issues with the populations and the descending relationships between JASL, JFLAG and the displaced/homeless LGBT youth in New Kingston: Rowdy Gays Strike - J-FLAG Abandons Raucous Homosexuals Misbehaving In New Kingston

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What to Do .....

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.

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Thanks for your Donations

Hello readers,

thank you for your donations via Paypal in helping to keep this blog going, my limited frontline community work, temporary shelter assistance at my home and related costs. Please continue to support me and my allies in this venture that has now become a full time activity. When I first started blogging in late 2007 it was just as a pass time to highlight GLBTQ issues in Jamaica under then JFLAG's blogspot page but now clearly there is a need for more forumatic activity which I want to continue to play my part while raising more real life issues pertinent to us.

Donations presently are accepted via Paypal where buttons are placed at points on this blog(immediately below, GLBTQJA (Blogspot), GLBTQJA (Wordpress) and the Gay Jamaica Watch's blog as well. If you wish to send donations otherwise please contact: glbtqjamaica@live.com or Tel: 1-876-8134942 (leave a message just in case)




Activities & Plans: ongoing and future

  • To continue this venture towards website development with an E-zine focus

  • Work with other Non Governmental organizations old and new towards similar focus and objectives

  • To find common ground on issues affecting GLBTQ and straight friendly persons in Jamaica towards tolerance and harmony

  • Exposing homophobic activities and suggesting corrective solutions

  • To formalise GLBTQ Jamaica's activities in the long term

  • Continuing discussion on issues affecting GLBTQ people in Jamaica and elsewhere

  • Welcoming, examining and implemeting suggestions and ideas from you the viewing public

  • Present issues on HIV/AIDS related matters in a timely and accurate manner

  • Assist where possible victims of homophobic violence and abuse financially, temporary shelter(my home) and otherwise

  • Track human rights issues in general with a view to support for ALL

Thanks again
Mr. H or Howie

Tel: 1-876-8134942
lgbtevent@gmail.com








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