The Safe House 2009 Pilot for LGBTQ Youth Explained & 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 LGBTQ Youth in New Kingston in 2007/8/9, a review of the relevance of the project as a solution, 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 also see the beginning of the issues from the closure of the project: The Quietus ……… The Safe House Project Closes and The Ultimatum on December 30, 2009

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tolerance AD Supreme Court case Highlights – Day 2 – Maurice Tomlinson v TVJ, CVM and PBCJ

Proceedings resumed on Tuesday with the claimant’s lead counsel Lord Anthony Gifford, wrapping up his submissions.

The case involves a lawsuit brought by Maurice Tomlinson, an attorney-at law and gay rights advocate, against three Jamaican TV stations that refused to air an ad promoting tolerance towards homosexuals. You can view the ad here.

Lord Gifford said that the US Supreme Court has already made it clear in their context that media houses do not have absolute editorial freedom, and invited the court to take the same approach here.

Justice Sykes: But how did they get to that conclusion?

Lord Gifford: Broadcasting, making use of restricted air space, under a government license, is different in the application of the free speech doctrine.

Justice Pusey: Is it that the application (of the doctrine in the US) is coloured by the US doctrine where they have had freedom of the press, and broadcasting developed after, while in our context we would not necessarily come to the same conclusion?

Lord Gifford: Freedom of expression, whether in media or by media, has always been protected.

Lord Gifford continued to stress the special place occupied by the broadcast media, although Justice Sykes questioned the distinction he was making between print and broadcast media.

Submitting that editorial freedom of media houses is not absolute, Lord Gifford suggested that the courts provide guidelines which the media houses could use to determine whether an ad (or other content) should be played or not.

He suggested that these factors could include:
The language of the constitution
The nature of the media outlet eg does the media house command the majority of the viewers in free-to-air television
The degree of intrusion on the entity’s airspace (ie the length of the submission)
Whether it offends any laws or regulations.

He said that once this test is applied to the video in question, the conclusion will be that the video should have been aired.


In relation to the claim against PBCJ, a state-owned entity that does not air paid commercials, Justice Pusey said he was having difficulty understanding how someone’s submission would come to be shown on the station.

Justice Pusey: Say it’s Champs time, if I want to send them a video saying my school is the best, do I just send it to them? (What if) the claimant was granted the right to have his video aired but others were not given that right?

Lord Gifford: You would look to the terms of reference for which PBCJ was set up. Once (the submission) falls within the guidelines, PBCJ would have to appreciate that the person is seeking to disseminate ideas through the media so their constitutional rights are engaged. They would then have to look at the restrictions (that would allow them to refuse to air it).

TVJ’s defence

TVJ’s lead attorney Georgia Gibson-Henlin also made her submissions today.

She argued the following points:
Mr. Tomlinson does not have standing in the matter, that is, he is not entitled to bring the case to begin with;
The Charter does not give the claimant a right to sue TVJ directly in the absence of any action connected to the government;
The right of freedom of expression does not compel TVJ to carry the Claimant’s message;
The ad is not protected expression;
The right to disseminate information and ideas through any media is not a right to use private property of another person to disseminate one’s message;
The right claimed by the Claimant is inconsistent with TVJ’s right to freedom of the press and its right to exercise editorial control, revise edit of reject any ad or associate with any message or campaign.


TVJ is arguing that Mr. Tomlinson lacks standing, and that the case is not properly before the court and should not proceed. TVJ cites his own statement that:

“…as legal advisor to Marginalised Groups for the International NGO Aids Free World he has been working with JFLAG and other Caribbean LGBT groups to document abuse and other acts of violence against Caribbean Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) in an attempt to advocate for changes to homophobic laws and policies across the region.”

Mrs. Gibson-Henlin submitted that the Claimant is a what is known as a “poser” and a “tool.”

Mr. Tomlinson conceded that the ad was created as part of this campaign to change law and policy, and there was no harm to him resulting from the refusal to air the ad, she argued.

“He created the situation which gave rise to the claim. There was no threatened harm. The Claimant suffered no harm, and is being used as a tool by AIDS Free World, which has no standing and has suffered no harm in Jamaica.”

“He has not been threatened by any organ of the State and in fact the State has been helpful to him (when he was threatened by members of the public), it is difficult to see how he can allege that his rights have been infringed,” she told the court.

Justice Sykes: You are saying that this claim is not properly before the court?
Mrs. Gibson-Henlin: Yes, it should not proceed.

Applicability of the Charter to private action, that is action that has no connection with the government

This argument concerns section 13 (5) of the Charter of Rights which states that:

“A provision of this Chapter binds natural or juristic persons if and to the extent that it is applicable, taking account of the nature of the right and the nature of any duty imposed by the right.”

This is the submission on which Mrs. Gibson-Henlin spent most time and upon which she was most closely questioned by the judges.

This concerns the traditional so-called vertical application of the Constitution – that is, government to citizen actions, as opposed to the so-called horizontal application that this section is believed to have created, that is, giving a right of action to one private citizen against another.

She argued that the constitution is concerned with public law, and that the Charter of Rights has not changed that, that the purpose of the constitution is to protect the citizen against the exercise of state tyranny, and that the Charter creates no new rights and remains an instrument that creates public law rights and remedies.

Justice Pusey: So if a company has a policy of employment that discriminated against women progressing, a woman would not have any rights under the constitution? I have a feeling you would be the first attorney before the court (to challenge such a policy).

Mrs. Gibson-Henlin: Section 13 (5) is not a blanket section. When someone makes an application, you would have to see if the right is applicable. That is, it is not of general horizontal application, it would have to be applied on a case by case basis.

She has also been arguing that there needs to be a nexus to a government action for the claim to be properly founded.

Mrs. Gibson-Henlin submitted that as the Charter is a part of a written constitution based on the Westminster model with separation of functions of the organs of government, the judiciary, legislature and executive, it is a model which is in a category known as the top down, vertical or state action model (government to the people) as opposed to the horizontal application model (citizen to citizen) proposed by the Claimant.

Having taken the position that section 13 (5) does not create any general cause of action against a private individual or entity, Mrs. Gibson-Henlin said in skeleton submissions that:

“It may well be asked what is the purpose of section 13 (5)…It is not of general application- it is more in the nature of a threshold or application test. The court is required to determine in each case whether a particular right can be asserted against or is intended to burden the party against whom it is asserted. Further, some rights by their very nature can only be exercised by individuals, for example the right to hold a passport.”

Justice Sykes; Nothing in the Charter compels the conclusion that a pre-condition to 13 (5) is State action.

Mrs. Gibson-Henlin: The answer is in the entire structure of the document (the Constitution). The primary prohibition is in relation to organs of the state.

Justice Sykes; But experience has shown that private entities can assume sufficient power in a state so as to infringe an individual’s rights.

Mrs. Gibson-Henlin: Chapter 3 does not have general horizontal application. It may be open to a litigant to argue that some provision has horizontal application, and it is my submission that section 13 (3) (c ) (the provision dealing with freedom of expression) does no have direct horizontal application.

Is the ad a form of expression that is protected under the Charter?

Mrs. Gibson-Henlin said that not all forms of expression are protected. If a form of expression incited violence or promoted an illegal activity it would not be protected, for example.

She argued that where tolerance campaigns had been attempted before, there had been violence as a result.

Does the Charter compel TVJ to carry Mr. Tomlinson’s message?

Mrs. Gibson-Henlin argued that the Charter does not give the claimant the right to force TVJ to carry his message.

She relied here on a case called Gay Alliance Towards Equality v Vancouver Sun, where a homosexual group 
had alleged that a newspaper refused to publish an advertisement. The Canadian Supreme Court held that:

“(the newspaper) reserved to itself the right to revise, edit, classify, or reject any advertisement submitted to it for publication…a newspaper also has the right to refuse to publish material which runs contrary to the views which it expresses. A newspaper published by a religious organisation does not have to publish an advertisement advocating atheistic doctrine.”

Does the Charter give the claimant a right to use TVJ’s private property to disseminate his message?

Mrs. Gibson-Henlin argued that it does not. here she relied on the case of New Brunswick Broadcasting Co v CRTC where a two-year license was issued to an entity which owned newspapers, instead of the five-year license allowable. This, it was alleged, deprived the appellants of their right to freedom of expression. The Court of Appeal held that:

“The freedom guaranteed by the Charter is a freedom to express and communicate ideas without restraint…It is not a freedom to use someone else’s property to do so. It gives no right to anyone to use someone else’s land or platform to make a speech, or someone else’s printing press to publish his ideas…”


“It is clear that what was going on was a march from media house to media house to set in train the exercise of coming to court,” she told the court.

Justice Pusey: But that’s what activists have done since time immemorial. The court is more concerned with whether there is a right in law, was the right infringed, and whether there is a remedy.

Mrs. Gibson-Henlin: I urge the court to recognize that the court is asked to look for harm, not someone setting up a particular agenda to achieve a particular outcome.

CVM’s Defence

CVM’s lead counsel Hugh Small began his submissions during the last half hour of the court sitting. He used the time to set the stage for what is to come, declaring that he will be submitting that the court cannot grant Mr. Tomlinson relief if in so doing CVM’s rights are infringed.

He said that nothing that will be said is a denial that Mr. Tomlinson also has rights, and that CVM operates a (media) business on the premise of freedom of expression.

He indicated that he will be asking the court to recognize that the constitution does not permit the Claimant to assert his constitutional rights to the extent that it will prejudice the constitutional rights of CVM, and that if the court grants the relief sought by the claimant, that relief will abrogate CVM’s right to exercise editorial control over the content it distributes, freely use its own property and freely decide with whom it will contract.

In what is likely to be an interesting aspect of his submissions, Mr. Small also said he will be looking at the report of the Joint Select Committee of Parliament on the Charter of Rights which exhibited what he called a

“pre-occupation to limit the role of the court and the application of chapter 3 (the chapter of the Constitution dealing with fundamental rights) to the court, and the right of the court to develop the common law.”

Mr. Small said this was:

“one of those long shadows cast over public life because not everybody accepted the developments in Pratt and Morgan (the case in which the Privy Council held that after five years on death row, a convicted murderer’s sentence should be commuted to life in prison).”

Thanks to Dionne Jackson Miller for the details please see my report HERE from GLBTQ Jamaica as well.


Aphrodite's P.R.I.D.E Jamaica, APJ launched their website

Aphrodite's P.R.I.D.E Jamaica, APJ launched their website on December 1 2015 on World AIDS Day where they hosted a docu-film and after discussions on the film Human Vol 1

audience members interacting during a break in the event

film in progress

visit the new APJ website HERE

See posts on APJ's work: HERE (newer entries will appear first so scroll to see older ones)


CVM TV carried a raid and subsequent temporary blockade exercise of the Shoemaker Gully in the New Kingston district as the authorities respond to the bad eggs in the group of homeless/displaced or idling MSM/Trans persons who loiter there for years.

Question is what will happen to the population now as they struggle for a roof over their heads and food etc. The Superintendent who proposed a shelter idea (that seemingly has been ignored by JFLAG et al) was the one who led the raid/eviction.

Also see:

the CVM NEWS Story HERE on the eviction/raid taken by the police

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

also see all the posts in chronological order by date from Gay Jamaica Watch HERE and GLBTQ Jamaica HERE


see previous entries on LGBT Homelessness from the Wordpress Blog HERE

May 22, 2015, see: MP Seeks Solutions For Homeless Gay Youth In New Kingston

War of words between pro & anti gay activists on HIV matters .......... what hypocrisy is this?

War of words between pro & anti gay activists on HIV matters .......... what hypocrisy is this?

A war of words has ensued between gay lawyer (AIDSFREEWORLD) Maurice Tomlinson and anti gay activist Dr Wayne West as both accuse each other of lying or being dishonest, when deception has been neatly employed every now and again by all concerned, here is the post from Dr West's blog

This is laughable to me as both gentleman have broken the ethical lines of advocacy respectively repeatedly especially on HIV/AIDS and on legal matters concerning LGBTQ issues

The evidence is overwhelming readers/listeners, you decide.

Other Entries you can check out

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Homeless MSM Challenges and relationships with agencies overview ........

In a shocking move JFLAG decided not to invite or include homeless MSM in their IDAHO activity for 2013 thus leaving many in wonderment as to the reason for their existence or if the symposium was for "experts" only while offering mere tokenism to homeless persons in the reported feeding program. LISTEN TO THE AUDIO ENTRY HERE sad that the activity was also named in honour of one of JFLAG's founders who joined the event via Skype only to realise the issue he held so dear in his time was treated with such disrespect and dishonour. Have LGBT NGOs lost their way and are so mainstream they have forgotten their true calling?

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

also see all the posts in chronological order by date from Gay Jamaica Watch HERE and GLBTQ Jamaica HERE


see previous entries on LGBT Homelessness from the Wordpress Blog HERE

Newstalk 93FM's Issues On Fire: Polygamy Should Be Legalized In Jamaica 08.04.14

debate by hosts and UWI students on the weekly program Issues on Fire on legalizing polygamy with Jamaica's multiple partner cultural norms this debate is timely.

Also with recent public discourse on polyamorous relationships, threesomes (FAME FM Uncensored) and on social.

Popular Posts

RJR - Surprise Yes vote by Ja on Sexual Orientation Removal from Summary Executions Resolution

Beyond the Headlines host Dionne Jackson Miller has Arlene Harrison Henry and Maurice Tonlinson on Human RIghts Day 2012 on the the removal of language in the form of sexual orientation on the Summary Executions UN Resolution - On November 21, 2012, Jamaica voted[1] against resolution A/C.3/67/L.36 at the United Nations condemning extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions which urges States “to investigate promptly and thoroughly all killings, including… all killings committed for any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation

Homeless MSM evicted from Cargill Avenue (evening edition)

28/08/12 CVM TV again rebroadcast a story of homeless MSM and the deplorable living conditions coupled with the almost sensationalistic narrative of the alleged commercial sex work the men are involved in. Gay Jamaica Watch has been following this issue since 2009 when the older populations of MSMs who were for the most part displaced due to forced evictions and homo negative issues and their re-displacement by agencies who on the face of it refused to put in place any serious social interventions to assist the men to recovery CLICK HERE for the CLIP

Information, Disclaimer and more

Not all views expressed are those of GJW

This blog contains pictures and images that may be disturbing. As we seek to highlight the plight of victims of homophobic violence here in Jamaica, the purpose of the pics is to show physical evidence of claims of said violence over the years and to bring a voice of the same victims to the world.

Many recover over time, at pains, as relocation and hiding are options in that process. Please view with care or use theHappenings section to select other posts of a different nature.

Not all persons depicted in photos are gay or lesbian and it is not intended to portray them as such, save and except for the relevance of the particular post under which they appear.

Please use the snapshot feature to preview by pointing the cursor at the item(s) of interest. Such item(s) have a small white dialogue box icon appearing to their top right hand side.

God Bless

Other Blogs I write to:
Recent Homophobic Incidents CLICK HERE for related posts/labels from glbtqjamaica's blog & HERE for those I am aware of.


Steps to take when confronted by the police & your rights compromised:

a) Ask to see a lawyer or Duty Council

b) Only give name and address and no other information until a lawyer is present to assist

c) Try to be polite even if the scenario is tense

d) Don’t do anything to aggravate the situation

e) Every complaint lodged at a police station should be filed and a receipt produced, this is not a legal requirement but an administrative one for the police to track reports

f) Never sign to a statement other than the one produced by you in the presence of the officer(s)

g) Try to capture a recording of the exchange or incident or call someone so they can hear what occurs, place on speed dial important numbers or text someone as soon as possible

h) File a civil suit if you feel your rights have been violated

i) When making a statement to the police have all or most of the facts and details together for e.g. "a car" vs. "the car" represents two different descriptions

j) Avoid having the police writing the statement on your behalf except incases of injuries, make sure what you want to say is recorded carefully, ask for a copy if it means that you have to return for it

Notes on Bail & Court Appearance issues

If in doubt speak to your attorney

Bail and its importance -
If one is locked up then the following may apply:

Locked up over a weekend - Arrested pursuant to being charged or detained There must be reasonable suspicion i.e. about to commit a crime, committing a crime or have committed a crime. There are two standards that must be met:
1). Subjective standard: what the officer(s) believed to have happened

2). Objective standard: proper and diligent collection of evidence that implicates the accused To remove or restrain a citizen’s liberty it cannot be done on mere suspicion and must have the above two standards

 Police officers can offer bail with exceptions for murder, treason and alleged gun offences, under the Justice of the Peace Act a JP can also come to the police station and bail a person, this provision as incorporated into the bail act in the late nineties

 Once a citizen is arrested bail must be considered within twelve hours of entering the station – the agents of the state must give consideration as to whether or not the circumstances of the case requires that bail be given

 The accused can ask that a Justice of the Peace be brought to the station any time of the day. By virtue of taking the office excluding health and age they are obliged to assist in securing bail

"Bail is not a matter for daylight"

Locked up and appearing in court:
 Bail is offered at the courts office provided it was extended by the court; it is the court that has the jurisdiction over the police with persons in custody is concerned.

 Bail can still be offered if you were arrested and charged without being taken to court a JP can still intervene and assist with the bail process.

Other Points of Interest:
 The accused has a right to know of the exact allegation

 The detainee could protect himself, he must be careful not to be exposed to any potential witness

 Avoid being viewed as police may deliberately expose detainees

 Bail is not offered to persons allegedly with gun charges

 Persons who allegedly interfere with minors do not get bail

 If over a long period without charge a writ of habeas corpus however be careful of the police doing last minute charges so as to avoid an error

 Every instance that a matter is brought before the court and bail was refused before the accused can apply for bail as it is set out in the bail act as every court appearance is a chance to ask for bail

 Each case is determined by its own merit – questions to be considered for bail:

a) Is the accused a flight risk?
b) Are there any other charges that the police may place against the accused?
c) Is the accused likely to interfere with any witnesses?
d) What is the strength of the crown’s/prosecution’s case?

 Poor performing judges can be dealt with at the Judicial Review Court level or a letter to the Chief Justice can start the process

Human Rights Advocacy for GLBT Community Report 2009

What Human Rights .............

What are Human Rights?

By definition human rights are our inalienable fundamental rights. Inalienable means that which cannot be taken away. So our human rights are bestowed upon us from the moment we are born and, thus we are all entitled to these rights. Because we are entitled to our human rights and they cannot and should not be taken away from us, we as a people must strive to protect them, government should protect them and breaches of our rights should be highlighted and addressed appropriately.

Human rights are the same for everyone irrespective of colour, class or creed, and are applicable at both the national and international level. In Jamaica, our human rights are enshrined in and protected by our Constitution. Internationally, there have been numerous laws and treaties enacted specifically for the protection of human rights.

Milestone document

Most notably of these is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This declaration is seen as a milestone document in the history of human rights. It was proclaimed by the United Nations, in 1948, as a common standard of achievements for all nations, and sets out the fundamental human rights to be universally recognised and protected.

The Declaration sets out the following rights:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Equality before the law

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Everyone has the right to freedom of movement

Everyone has the right to a nationality.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government;

Everyone has the right to education.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.