The Safe House Project 2009 for Displaced & Homeless MSM 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 men 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

Friday, April 13, 2012

The PNP's first 100 days ............. buggery review looks far away

I tend to agree with common sense Jamaica that it is strange that there has been no detailed analysis of this government's first 100 days in office by the mainstream media except on radio to some extent via Nationwide FM so far, which is something that we have grown accustom to albeit there was no clear guide from the party what they wanted to achieve in this traditional marker for new administrations neither is there any word from the nouveau intelligentsia of the LGBT community who can be so eloquent on issues they selectively speak on. The indications are not looking good and certainly the promised buggery review looks way off the marker since the swearing in of the PM on January 5, 2012.


Let us not forget when the now opposition JLP took office in 2007 many media outlets were loud in their opinions on the 100 days' arrival including the Gleaner which carried: 100 days of Golding: 'It is a basket of success and failures' - analysts


Gleaner cartoon 13.04.12

The analysis would normally walk through the good, the bad and the ugly of a new government, but it looks like the media has decided to give the PNP another “blye” by failing to highlight the situation in Jamaica after 100 days of PNP rule. Since everyone so far appears to be PNP shy, I have decided to do my own look at the first 100 days of PNP rule. The PNP manifesto during the election campaign in late 2011 listed a raft of wonderful items but when assuming office the realities seem to have set in and maybe all those promises are out the window.



Observer Columnist Mark Wignall rated the administration a 5 out of 10 with his highest rating going to Minister Phillip Paulwell for the energy issues he is trying to solve on a radio interview today 13.04.12 but then again a promise that general consumption tax on electricity bills would be reduced for home users who use under 200 kilowatt hours yet the same minister being praised announced in the house that it may not be possible now as government coffers may loose big.


The PM announced a bloated cabinet of 20 members, which is one of the largest we have seen in modern Jamaica which is yet to be justified.
JEEP eventually got off the ground employing a couple hundred persons with a budget of $4b but only in three areas, the other projects are yet to be determined and launched.
We have had mass confusion with the budgetary process , with the minister of finance cutting $21b from the budget only to return 2 weeks later and added $10b to the budget he just tabled.
Murders have been on the up, however there is light at the end of the tunnel, given the fact that March numbers were the lowest we have seen since 2003 while sexual abuses sky rocket.
We have failed to secure an IMF agreement despite promises to have a new agreement negotiated in a hurry and having 3 months of negotiations.

Then there is the:

The promised buggery review (even with the botched JFLAG 100 day ultimatum) has not materialised instead a member of parliament makes snide remarks at a function on the issue then tries to do some damage control (see HERE and HERE for more or below)  
Let us also remember the JFLAG interview they granted to media that in their words was misconstrued as an ultimatum, The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays JFLAG sans seriously consulting the community’s views on the Prime Minister promised review the Buggery Law and heading to a conscience vote had caused some upset in sections of the community who are saying the J should keep quiet and wait, let Sista P as Mrs Simpson is affectionately called deal with other serious issues first such as the economy and jobs then on the other rights for gays etc. When the group is to speak it is silent, just in December 2011 the brutal murders of two lesbians and up until today not an official word or recognition of the lives lost on the backdrop of same gender loving women’s issues and the increasing abuses against them, a trend we have been seeing since 2007 with corrective rapes, attempted abductions, forced evictions and beatings of butch identified women. Here is Executive Director of the J, Dane Lewis 





Dane Lewis Executive Director of the J told CVM TV that he expected the issues to begin to placed on the table within 100 days, “To be realistic we would imagine within the first 100 days the issue could be raised we can look at how to proceed,” Mr Lewis said while JFLAG is not expecting a conscience vote to repeal the buggery law within the first 100 days discussions are important as Jamaica has a 2012 deadline to meet according to the international covenant on human rights, “….one of the leading recommendations made in November last year was that Jamaica should report by 2012 on what concrete steps to removal of discriminatory laws,” Mr Lewis said.

According to Mr. Lewis at the time JFLAG is willing to make small steps in acquiring legal recognition for homosexuals he says although gay marriage is legalized overseas, "JFLAG is not pursuing that as part of its lobby at this time, …gay marriage is certainly not an item on our agenda, we still have a large issue of discrimination …. people are being evicted from their homes, people are being physically abused because of their sexual orientation and we want to begin to address those issues.”

He acknowledges that the discussion of gay rights will be met with strong public opposition however he says as was demonstrated by Mrs Simpson Miller we should be strident in dealing with issues impeding human rights, a solution to the issues concerning gay rights will help to deal with HIV/AIDS  ………… mistakes such as granting a telephone interview (sans any consultations with the community I might add) to the media in a “hot environment” when homosexuality or related matters are in the public domain is a no no, all the J should have done was waited and not mention anything at all to do with any time line in any way, shape or form now for it to be misrepresented as an ultimatum. We have had previous misconceptions before of JFLAG’s position by media and one would have thought that as a former media participant himself the Executive Director of JFLAG Mr. Lewis would have known the ins and outs of local media with regards to hot button issues such as this. The San Francisco boycott some years ago and the suggested EGALE tourism boycott as well are prime examples of learning curves for the group and speaking just a little too much but when it’s time to speak there is silence. How many mistakes are there to be made before it is perfected? one never knows. 

But Mrs Simpson Miller did clarify her position during the election campaign which has me hopeful in a sense where she said her government won't seek to get into people's bedrooms (then again as long as the buggery law remains under the PNP's watch they are already in our bedrooms)
video

More PNP performance issues


The government has failed to create a economic plan for the country and this has resulted in the budget being delayed for 6 weeks.
The Jamaican dollar has began to depreciate once gain and now stands at $87.37 to the US$.
Thousands of Jamaicans were exposed to toxic fumes for days, while the government twiddled its thumbs in addressing the fire at riverton city dump, while telling us air quality were at acceptable levels.
The PNP annihilated the JLP in the local government elections, for yet another electoral victory.
There has been no role back in GCT on electricity as promised.
Instead of National Energy Council, we have added three persons to the payroll in putting together an Economic Advisory Council to create a financial and economic plan for the country.
We get the feeling the country is in a wait and see mode and businesses has stalled important projects because they have no idea of what plans the PNP has for the country at this stage.
The international markets are playing a wait and see attitude , waiting to see what is next.
Most JDIP projetcs have been stalled, which will result in millions of dollars in cost overruns
The much touted JDIP audit is yet to begin.
The Contractor General cannot get details required on JEEP and is concerned about accountability on this program.
Peter Phillips said no massive job cuts in the public sector, but persons are already being let go, quietly.
We have seen growth in the first quarter of 2012 despite the fact that the GOJ contributed very little in terms of policies to gain this growth.
PNP said they would work with Petrojam to drive prices down, but the Minister say Petrojam pricing mechanism is just fine.
PNP said it would improve community policy to enhance security of the citizens of Jamaica. Instead the police have done a 180 and has gone on a murderous campaign and in so doing has snuffed out the lives of over 60 Jamaicans since the start of the year.
With the Minister of National Security failing at his job the COP has stepped in and made changes to the ” use of force ” policy.

Let us stop here for now so the lazy media can complete the rest of the analysis.

If I where to give the government a rating on a scale from A – F, they would be given an D for their performance thus far. The PM appears to be hopeless, just going around making announcements, but there has been no real movement to implement much ,despite all the talk.
The National Security Minister was just rescued by the Commissioner of Police , having seen completely out of sea with his portfolio responsibilities.
The Minister of Finance is way over his head and drowning and has been just thrown and life jacket in the form of an advisory council.
The Minister of Foreign affairs said he wants to restore Jamaican’s image on the international scene after it was destroyed by the JLP, but proceeded to ask that Jamaica be removed from middle income country status and replaced with poor income country status, so we can get ” free” money to waste. Seems Dr Phillips and the PM was not listening to AG, because a delay of 6 weeks in bring a budget to parliament does NOTHING to improve our international image.
The Minister of Climate change sat by silently while Jamaicans were being poisoned by the toxic fumes from Riverton City fire, he only last week apologized to the country for doing nothing. Seems like he completely misunderstood his role, which was to slow climate change instead of hastening it, after so many complaints and public discussion on the matter.
The Minister of Local Government sought to continue to pork barrel mentality by terminating the security arrangements at the NSWMA and seeking to employ a firm with a known party supporter as principal to take over the responsibility. The OCG stepped in and demanded answer, we are not sure if all those answers have been provided.


What seems to be an orchestrated set of circumstances to embarrass the opposition via civic ceremonies that include booing outgoing representatives oh and that missing green at the Montego Bay mayor's swearing in ceremony messing with national symbols is a low blow with the paltry excuse that there was not enough materials and not a sound from the leadership of the party on the issue.

The first 100 has not been a complete disaster, but surely it has been a very unsteady start. When and how fast are we going to deal and gel the issues together? 
Will we ever see the buggery law reviewed in the face of a poll on CVM regarding perception of the administration if they decide to do so knowing how sensitive this issue is and how political fortunes hang in the balance and the fear of losing power?


CVM TV Poll 2012 

video

The opposition continues to lick its wounds following the double defeats both at the general and local government elections. Then again the PNP needs to learn the lesson the JLP was taught, do not get cocky or  they too may only be a one term government, the missing colour flag issue is showing the PNP to becoming just that, very complacent where it believes its image will not be affected 

Still early days yet so our hopes for decriminalization  must not be dashed but we may have a very long wait.

Peace and tolerance

H

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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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