As the visibility of LGBT persons in Jamaica increases thanks in most part to social media platforms and a willingness of persons to come out or be open these days the usual side effects come forth. Forced evictions, family fallout, displacements and even more ghastly murders not homophobic related but more a consequence of the illegal lotto scamming, especially in western Jamaica are having a deleterious impact of some persons; numerous reports which have come in seem to suggest an increase in such matters when compared to previous years. It is looking like déjà vous to some of us in the trenches for some time, the Kingston cohort of persons who were at the Cargill Avenue, Shoemaker Gully and Millsborough Avenue locales have since splintered since their removal by the police in December 2014.
also see a flashback to some of the troubling issues with the populations and the descending relationships between JASL, JFLAG and the displaced/homeless GBT youth in New Kingston: Rowdy Gays Strike - J-FLAG Abandons Raucous Homosexuals Misbehaving In New Kingston
GLBTQJA (Blogger): HERE
must read: And we continue to reap the world-wind for not addressing homelessness when it was manageable
Despite promises made by some from various quarters including so called concerned religious leaders, members of parliament, some LGBT party people and others the resulting interventions amount to mere tokenism and a drop in the bucket given the size and ever changing scope of the problems. So called ‘feeding programs’ and parading the after photos on social media is not solving anything more than persons seeking to enhance their profiles by going the charity route; some so called entertainers have gone as far as to release pro-lgbt music albums with the photos of some of the homeless on the cover of the disc marketed all over the place yet it turns out the very persons who were so captured have been struggling and are still struggling, not to mention the HIV positive persons in the groups. One time of short term feeding programs only address immediate service needs and may even create a dependency issue where homeless feel that they do not have to do much but wait until ‘feeding time’ as Aunty so and so or Uncle so and so is coming with food or goodies; this can serious impact negatively on the efficacious component of the interventions (if any).
The pigeon-holing of the populations by media especially our friends in Kingston has sent shock waves in terms of kind individuals who once would open their doors when approached have simply stopped doing so in fear of the growing perception of the antisocial behaviours that might come as a consequence; an ongoing court case involving a former homeless man who was being assisted with housing is accused of extorting over a million dollars from a university lecturer has only sought to widen the gulf between the have and have not gays and refusal or severe reservations about helping in some way such persons, hence the groups such languish in essence with very little interventions save and except for the HIV/AIDS interventions that are peripheral in terms of welfare and other workshop nonsense that go nowhere the moment the participants down the lunches or snacks and have to return to the old buildings, bushes and such or the lucky ones who can crash at someone’s home.
It is estimated that some forty persons are in Kingston alone who identify as MSM or transgender and that is taking into account those who can be found or aren’t underground. St Catherine has some twenty or so based on reports counted over the last two years and from an ongoing pilot project by GLBTQ Jamaica for HIV positive MSM entitled ‘Brothers Positive on Positive’ which was designed in May 2016 to meet some of the shortfalls that can come with government driven support group activities under the national HIV programs; the results so far have shown that many persons prefer to suffer in silence and of the twenty persons registered in the response not counting regular attendance of sessions 55% of them are under the age of 25 and have no steady income saved and except for commercial sex work and other vendor type activities. It is a shame that after some forty years plus of some kind of organised LGBT activities in Jamaica to include the slow years between Gay Freedom Movement and its cessation to the impact of HIV/AIDS in the 1990s and the deaths to present, and with all the hard and anecdotal evidence no sustained response has come from well funded and powerful NGOs but who really cares?
The ongoing court case of the alleged extortionist who hailed from the Maxfield Avenue area leading to fostering mistrust for helping persons who may require same
Crimes in certain jurisdictions being committed by selected persons or others but blame is accorded to the MSM groupings
Occasional clashes with members of the public and homeless persons in Kingston and St Catherine as a viral video evidenced in Kingston
New case reports from nearly every parish but the follow up with persons for confirmations can be tedious at times, (un)confirmed Kingston (2) (2), St Catherine (1) (3), St James (6) (4)
Forced evictions linked to lotto scamming in St James with a particular violent twist
Worrying antisocial behaviours from some persons in the St Catherine populations and some challenges in St Ann as a stabbing incident in June suggest
Worrying migration patterns from other parishes especially St James to Kingston resulting in what appears to be an explosion of the numbers as was evident in 2010
Haemorrhaging of persons who would normally or occasionally open their houses, spare rooms or spaces for temporary assistance
Inappropriate and or unethical behaviour or sexual advances from persons under the guise of assistance to those who are the benefit of same
Females factoring more in reports since 2015 and especially since the lotto scamming unravelling in St James
Limited resources to accommodate persons being assisted by individuals and an ongoing lack of funding to support properly structured responses
Some members of the near four year old weed-whacking project in St Catherine having issues with prolonged accommodation
Fallout from the lotto scamming associated violence in western Jamaica, notably Montego Bay, Trelawny and nearby parishes with drive by shootings and broad daylight arson attacks. Rival gangs fight for turf, guns and the ever shrinking income from the scourge as the federal folks make some impact. Some frightened MSM/trans individuals have been relocating to safe ground, notably Kingston, Portmore and so on even as the reserves were called out but murders continue as high as 5 a day.
Ever migrating groups and individuals who are not reached or do not want to be reached by present feeding initiatives and systems with some local authorities and police interventions.
This video below recently surfaced of a murder in broad daylight as a call centre employee who identifies as gay was gunned down as he exited a taxi in St James, warning the footage may be uncomfortable for some but while police investigate this, friends close to him ascribe a homophobic motive is involved as he was being stigmatized prior. As with investigations it is hard to get the right follow up information with a view to close a case accurately. It is also alleged that he was being pressured into getting into scamming to which he had refused WARNING contains disturbing images:
The deaths from HIV related illnesses is still a concern to me, we lost at least two persons in the year despite the valiant fight via treatment, poor monitoring by their medical interventionists, improper adherence, zig-zagging nutrition and diet to include carbonated beverages and grapefruit ingredient juices) also seem to be playing a factor by observation; if those things which are cheaper can be had then persons are going to have them despite being advised otherwise whilst vitamin supplements which can be so expensive are hardly provided either through the national programs and NGOs.
Kingston's Mayor Burke receive Death Threats... so she claims yet with all her optics with JFLAG and such claiming she is concerned she cannot deal with homelessness citywide; some over a 1000ft westwards from her Church Street Mayor's office, infront of all places the Supreme & Appeals court also seen as the hallowed halls of justice buildings as seen below.
I still want to encourage persons to assist where possible especially on the fundraising front by donating to trusted outfits and individuals, donations are still accepted here and sister blogs by way of Paypal, the buttons are located on the top left hand side just under the banner. A huge thanks to you who have supported the limited work over the years myself and allies have been able to effect but more needs to be done to keep the attempts going.
Peace & tolerance
also see: Homeless Awareness Month 2016 issues part 2
The toss up between MSM homelessness & public order makes news again