The last time I looked at this was the first anniversary of the double murder of two of the homeless brothers on June 13th 2013 via an audio entry where I looked at the defunct Safe House residency 2009; I feel so helpless in some sense watching this all unfold before me for so many years knowing that there are ways to address this and such avenues were attempted but the interest is just not there as hypocritical advocates and leaders in the LGBT lobby in particular are more interested in fulfilling their narcissistic quests to be in the spotlight via buggery law fights more so than working with the least amongst us or have their social issues on an equal plain as well so as to really make demonstrably clear the evidence of true tolerance and unity in our so called community; then there is a call to the public for them to be tolerant towards us!?
Today’s Gleaner headline on a day as today the anniversary when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was entered into by several states as drafted by Thomas Jefferson and others and is also the United States’ Independence Day, I would presume Jamaica subscribes to the UDHR’s principle that all men are created equal but with sadness I have to say all that is sheer hypocrisy especially in the realm of LGBT advocacy when clearly this latest episode reflects the continued abandonment of a section of the displaced and homeless communities in terms of lack of real interest, proper psycho social programming to address the antecedence to anti social behaviours and lack of continuity of previously launched actions to address them, case in point the dubiously closed Safe House pilot residency in 2009; consequences of which the relevant agencies are still reaping namely their own eviction from their previous offices. Let us not forget this is ninth or tenth such eviction and subsequent demolition of squatted on property two of which received major attention the Cargill Avenue mess and the Trafalgar Park debacle how many more like these are to come in lieu of some proper answers and how many more choppings, chasings, beatings and internal conflicts must we witness, do we have to wait until more deaths come (albeit they be deceptively waved a homophobic killings as was attempted after the June 13 2012 double killings) before something is done?
This is also bearing in mind that in May 17th of this year on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, IDAHOT, at a symposium done by JFLAG for to discuss homelessness the very men were not even invited to attend so that their voices could carry and to think that only six days prior to that a lengthy television interview spoke to homeless zooming in on teens and new displacements more so on the older populations on CVM TV where all kinds of spins were brought to deflect full responsibility yet no mention was made of the aforementioned symposium that was to come. The explain away statement that was issued by the Executive Director of JFLAG only sought to make more problems than it solved with a fallout between straight allied supporters, older activists including a former Programs Manager of JFLAG and other community members concerned about the growing problem.
The story reads as follows:
Members of a gay clan wept with despair late yesterday, after a large contingent of police booted them from a previously abandoned house in upscale Millsborough Avenue, St Andrew, in which they lived after fleeing from the Golden Triangle.
"If mi go back home, mi dead," wailed one young man, whose face was bleached white, not unlike other members of his group.
The team of lawmen, wearing dust masks and armed with high-powered weapons, encircled the men in spectacular fashion and herded them out into the yard as they attempted to make their escape.
"Mi a beg you a week to find somewhere else," pleaded another. "Why the picture (photographs)?" he protested, as a team of journalists and photographers accompanied the police party on the premises.
The police told The Gleaner the building would be demolished today, after residents complained that the men have been wreaking havoc in the usually quiet neighbourhood.
"This location will no longer be habitable because things will change," said Island Special Constabulary Force commander for the New Kingston Police Post, Christopher Murdoch.
But even as the talkative young men beseeched the police for a chance to remain on the premises for a while longer, they also vociferously sought to distance themselves from rampant perpetrators of a range of crimes, who lurked within their midst.
"Mi willing to push out who a cause the problem," declared one young man, aged 20, who said he was kicked out of his home in Spanish Town, St Catherine. "Mi nah rob and mi nah tief and mi nah go no jail for nobody."
Another man, who said he lived with his family in Spanish Town, confessed that he had to flee from his community after a tape was shown of his admitted sexual escapades in the community.
"Some man shoot after mi and mi have to jump into bush," he said, as he sought to explain why he sought refuge in Millsborough.
The man, who appeared older than others in the group, said he was overpowered by other men after he sought to put an end to the criminality.
'Dem overthrow me," he declared.
Another young man told The Gleaner he was from central Kingston.
"Mi can't go back a Spanglers," he complained. "If mi go back, mi a go dead."
Yet another declared he was booted from Allman Town, and another claimed he lived at Maxfield and as far as Montego Bay, before they were forced out of their communities.
One of the men listed 'Batman', 'Tito', 'Pebbles', 'Goodas Andrew', 'Nicholas' and 'Blue' as some of the perpetrators of robberies and assault in the community.
"Dem causing di violence and when mi talk to dem about it, dem buy cutlass to chop mi up," the young man complained.
Murdoch confirmed the men named were persons of interest.
Batman, described by the police as one of the most notorious of the hoodlums, has been accused of holding up and robbing a Caucasian male of an undetermined sum of US dollars in New Kingston recently.
As they sat beside a white Nissan Tiida motor car, which was parked in the yard, the men said they were cooking when the lawmen arrived.
As they pleaded their case, they referenced a man who had been chopped by his crony and was released from hospital yesterday.
"Mi witness di chopping case," another young man declared. "And mi willing fi tell yuh who mash out di bank glass."
The men were also accused of vandalising and robbing business places.
"Mi never rob yet and mi nah go jail fi nobody … . Yuh have good cop and yuh have bad cop, is the same way yuh have good gays and bad gays," he argued.
When Murdoch asked for the location of the men who were accused of wreaking havoc in the community, he was told that they would return to the house after dark.
"Dem not coming until yuh gone. Dem only sleep here a night."
But even as they pleaded their case, they were ordered by Murdoch, under the watchful gaze of other policemen, to pack their bags and leave the premises.
The Gleaner was told that the group had first ventured to 9 Ruthven Road before drifting to Cargill Avenue, then Waterloo Road, into the vicinity of Seymour Avenue, then on to Hopefield Avenue and into Millsborough.
The other issues surrounding homeless and displaced MSM in other parts of the island are of concern as well those were never brought to bear in that TV appearance either as there have been some major challenges especially on Montego Bay and St Ann within the last few months. The classism and elitism is another matter as well and clearly shows themselves here, more affluent gays as it were turn their noses when this matter is mentioned but quickly take centre stage and spotlights when supposedly agitation for gay rights where even staff of the group JFLAG describe the men as “maladjusted miscreants.” The story of the police roundup and demolition of the house in Millsborough was carried on nearly all media outlets but the Gleaner chose to add some sensationalism to it with the use of the word “herded” in describing the security forces actions in accosting the men from the illegally occupied property. To think that only days before at a gay men’s workshop in St Ann we were discussing this very group, the challenges, forced evictions, their behaviour, the other populations and now this where there was a chopping incident with one of them in New Kingston. The house was demolished and carried in The Gleaner as well:
Really? How can can property owner construct apartment complexes in a residential area? If I was one of the owners of a single family residential unit that abuts that property, I would want a multi-family units beside my property. Isn't that area zone for single family dwelling? I wonder if they got a demolition permit before demolishing that building? The things people get away with in Jamaica.
I agree with Naomi Francis in her tersely worded comments this morning on her show on nationwide radio where she pointed out the hypocrisy about all this where so called “monied homosexuals” are silent on this issue yet easily speak about rights and paraded themselves as if all is unified in the gay community. When these young homosexuals (perceived or real) are chased out from this house, are forced to relocate yet again (previously in the Golden Triangle) and their anger levels rise even higher than already is what do we think is going to happen? If not more violence and abuse of more privileged persons, I have been warning that this thing is a powder cake from as early as the ultimatum given on the original safe house answer and their eviction in 2009, from then to today some of those men who were resident have been on the frontline yet agencies tell us they have no money and use public relations stunts to bypass their responsibility by claiming they are advocacies and not social work groups forgetting that embedded in their core are crisis interventions departments that have intervened in homo-negative abuses over the many years, who do they think they are fooling?
Evicting the men now is only serving to have the problem relocate to somewhere else only to increase in size and scope as well not to mention the new displacees that have joined the ranks. Just yesterday I posted an entry on fresh evictions that were brought to my attention; not to mention the umpteen others that I and others do not hear about. It is heartbreaking to know that some of us tried for years to develop a solution at the time even as the problem exploded before our eyes and a temporary one was found and operationalized but the easy way out was chosen to close it thinking the men would go underground yet here we are four years plus later with an expanding mess.
Some community influentials have given up as they too have become frustrated by the antisocial behaviours from the men and the lack of proper interest, interventions and sustained programs to address this problem that in fact existed way before my time and even the formation of any advocacy structure, why we have to wait until almost on a monthly basis there is some news of the homeless groups to make headlines is disturbing? The personal attempts in trying to reach the few we can is certainly not enough, I cannot offer any shelter anymore at my home due to escalating costs while others are afraid to open their doors due to marked incidents experienced by some who do. Remote assistance via food purchases or gift packages have dwindled and the so called feeding program as allegedly done by JFLAG was folded according to them due to lack of funds and no space at the time to logistically operate such. The interventions has to be more than just food in a Styrofoam box and involving ignorant insensitive agencies
Are we seeing classism playing itself out at the LGBT advocacy levels?
Will there ever be the proper programs by GAY operated entities to begin to address this?
What’s next after this?
Pardon my frustration readers but it is sad having posted nearly 60 entries in total about this problem with this group of men in particular I am left stunned yet again as to the happenings, frankly there is no credibility for the lobby to demand or ask for tolerance and unity as it were when it is not demonstrably clear to those we wish to convince that we are treating those on the fringes with any care.
Think on these things.
Peace and tolerance