As tears streamed down his face and intermittent sobs a close friend of mine recounted his last interaction in Kingston this afternoon as I gathered information on this tragic news, he spoke with Portland only last Friday night at a regular hangout in the Half Way Tree area and they shared a joke or two as veterans in the business of cruising the areas and being successful at the art-form as I see it as only really skilled men who have sex with men can navigate Jamaica's caustic homophobic climate, foxy gay for pay hyper-masculine types and those who have sex with men but do not want to be labelled as "gay" as that comes with too much feminine associated pressure that challenges Jamaica's version of maleness and the most valued machismo.
I came to know Portland from the late eighties to the nineties from his escapades on the streets, his run ins with others for territory or just daily life struggles before he left for London England where he stayed for several years before he returned to Jamaica and settled right at home returning to his regular taunts in Kingston predominantly and Portmore as well. One could easily ask him for a link to the heaviots (hypermasculine types) if one wanted or allow him to show the youngins entering the game the ropes he would often test them in his own terms, it was one of those hypermasculine types company he was last seen with according to my sources and persons who saw this particular man were not comfortable with him as his demeanour was not welcoming.
It is strongly suspected that Portland was murdered some time Friday night to Saturday morning and the man in whose company he was last seen has not been spotted since news of the gruesome find has been making the rounds on the street. Last evening was quiet on the various strips as if in a kind of mourning the regulars remained low keyed according to the kids on the strip. My sobbing friend who recounted a trip to London on a British Airways flight where Portland created a scene on an air hostess who did not comply with a request he had made about his meal. He jokingly said Portland was real as the came (effeminate) on the flight and in no uncertain terms let the hostess have it in colourful Jamaican parlance. He was loved by those who knew him as his smile was also inviting with that infamous crown and black tam with that pom pom at the end he regularly wore to parties or on the street with shades, even at night. His fingers were often covered with rings as well be they gold or silver as he often interchanged them. He too also when he was able to assisted in offering hosting to to other displaced men who have sex with men in his hayday but he too fell on some ruff patches as his attempts to return to the UK were rocky.
2011 we saw a myriad of problems with the cruising community of which Portland was a major player and which I tried to keep track of on my sister blog GLBTQJA on Wordpress
Even as news came only late last month of a watchman (deceased photo above)in St Ann who was beheaded and the police surmising he was killed due to an argument with a male lover who he shared the home where he was killed, subsequent news casts have not mentioned the gay related reason even after finding his missing head some three miles away partially decomposed from his home. see the TVJ clip for this item HERE, since then a Howard Lincoln a former house-mate has been arrested and the cops are seeking another man in connection with the murder.
RIP brother Portland.
Peace and tolerance.