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

Monday, August 12, 2013

Rights And Write-Offs - Balancing Ethics And Human Rights

Joan Grant Cummings, Guest Columnist

It wasn't even a month ago that I was lamenting with a 'sistah-activist' about the lack of both movements and governments that had values and real agendas based on a people and/or rights-driven philosophy.

There used to be a real Left and a real Right. You knew where you stood. You had something to argue and reason about. We lamented that our land of mainly peaceful revolution in the 1970s, especially, that had inspired whole countries and actors in various global spaces, seemed to have lost its voice and appetite for leadership and human rights.

In 'those times', our country was a voice that was proclaimed 'leader of the global South', a voice that many countries endeavoured to follow, not for our music but for our political attitude as it pertained to dealing with social exclusion.

We sighed with nostalgia in remembrance about the fight and victory for the minimum wage; access to education for all; the right to maternity leave with pay; pay equity; the bauxite levy; the Agricultural Marketing Corporation; my personal favourite, the incomparable National Housing Trust; and the right of inheritance for children born out of wedlock or who were deemed 'illegitimate' or 'bastards'. We spontaneously broke into song, "... No bastard nuh deh again".

We wondered how many of the young female managers in the private sector knew that their beautiful locks and other natural hairdos were once against the corporate dress code - written or unwritten. In fact, they wouldn't be allowed to apply for a job, not even at entry level.

Or how many tertiary-level students understood the importance of and/or knew the history as to how they got there. Nowadays, female students steer far from being associated with women's rights or, heaven forbid, feminism! Amid the junk science that created the male marginalisation thesis and the call at student election time for "no panty government", I wonder how many of these young men and women, largely raised by 'single mothers', knew that not long ago, this would disqualify them from accessing and controlling many spaces.

They would have been deemed 'write-offs' by some elements in the society. 'Bastards!'

And then it happened! Amid the IMF distraction to the exclusion of everything else, a bold, young female minister put back the concept of human rights, specifically women's human rights, on the public agenda. She declared that she supports a woman's right to choose. The abortion debate was back. Even The Gleaner came out in support of her and adopted a pro-choice position!

The last joint select committee on abortion chaired by the then minister of health, Rudyard Spencer, evaporated into thin air. No report has been made public, and since that time, a shower of changes in the law has been made, making it even harder to 'win' a constitutional challenge, especially one related to sex and sexuality.

As if one jolt wasn't enough, we received another. A young gay activist decided that enough was enough. Rights are rights, and he would not be treated like a disposable write-off. He took a bold move to challenge being evicted because of his sexual orientation. He has filed a constitutional challenge of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, alleging that, among other things, his rights to privacy and equality have been infringed.

Shock and awe! Immediately, the 'anti-gay Opposition', to protect the "Jamaican way of life", lined up to rebut his argument. Would the owner of the house have been 'uncomfortable' with three women living there, one openly lesbian?

It is amazing how, as Jamaicans, we canturn up or down our barometer to measure when we break the law and need to act. We have a major problem with people assisting the police in solving crimes. Yet, a whole community will organise to 'inform' on a girl who has had an abortion or a man whom they 'think' is gay!

Additionally, J-FLAG is taking on our sit-on-the-fence politicians again, about the offensive buggery law. It's ironic that the same offensive law, the 1864 slavery-driven Offences Against the Person Act, in one fell swoop has managed to deny, block, deprive the rights of women; people of different sexual orientations; and married women who are raped by their husbands.


So why bother to have the charter if we are going to make provisions through using some fancy legal gymnastics called the savings law clause to write off our rights as invalid? This move gives the State the right to use some old law to defeat and undermine the provisions in the charter.

Yet there is something more sinister afoot here, and we need to discuss this as a nation - a nation that has decided that integrity, accountability, transparency, good governance and an anti-corruption environment are necessary to assure our development; fairness in our judiciary, especially, accountability and honesty among our politicians; and the protection of people's rights.

Unless we now live in a dictatorship or a theocracy, Jamaican society is based on democratic principles, and we are supportive of people's human rights in this struggle between pro-choice and anti-choice forces and anti-gay, pro-gay, sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Jamaica has already given its commitment to protecting the human, sexual and reproductive rights of all its citizens. It is at best a failure and betrayal, and an act of cowardice at the worst, that as a State, we have not moved to protect or enshrine these laws nationally.

Next year is the 20th anniversary of the signing of the International Covenant on Population and Development which seeks to guarantee citizens' sexual and reproductive rights and health. Do we intend, as a nation, to report to the United Nations that we're moving backward or forward on this issue? Or, that we have decided that Vision 2030 and the recently signed Partnership Agreement only applies to some Jamaicans?

Further, by any definition of ethical, it is grossly unethical for any of the State's lawyers and/or judges to be active members of the same groups seeking to deny rights to some citizens. In the case of abortion rights, it is denying 51 per cent of the population their full enjoyment of their human rights, the right to bodily integrity and the God-given right of choice!


How can the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship have standing in any case regarding sexual and reproductive rights and health issues, when the solicitor general and key members of the attorney general's offices belong to this group?

Where is the fairness in such a system that would make all Jamaicans confident to rely on our judiciary to mediate justice and fairness in our society?

The dictator Pinochet was set free as one of the law lords had made a donation to Amnesty International, a group with standing in the case against him! The minister of justice and, by extension, the State, must put in place the necessary countervailing measures to right this power imbalance and even the perception of a conflict of interest.

Jamaicans who are committed to human rights for all are pro-choice and pro-life. What we are not is anti-choice. Making available the appropriate information on sex, contraceptives, abortion and sexuality is not "coerced abortion or murder".

It is disingenuous and hypocritical for anyone to claim this when their anti-choice stance actively incites communities to violate, and even murder, members of the LGBT community and cause the social exclusion of girls and women who continue to risk their lives and die because they had to choose to terminate an unintended or an unwanted pregnancy. The latter, in particular, speaks to our high rate of gender-based violence through coerced/early initiation sex, rape, including marital rape, incest or sexual exploitation.

How come there's no back door dealing with politicians to write this in law, bearing in mind the high levels of impunity with which women and girls are violated.

All of us are born with the right to bodily integrity, the right to the expression and enjoyment of our sexuality, and the safeguarding of our health. In democratic societies, where human rights are practised and respected, a key ethical principle is that the social, political and economic inequalities that exist among some segments of the society which is a disadvantage, must be used to advantage them. In other words, we must protect our 'minorities and vulnerable' groups.

While there are no explicit laws separating Church from State in Jamaica, that is not a sound reason to extend the right to some church members to control how our laws are enacted and higher offices of the judiciary, as well as politicians. We do not need a church lobby among politiciansm, and with Politicians, and other state machinery such as the judiciary. This is theocracy by stealth.

It will result in greater social exclusion towards the realisation of Vision 2030. The State needs to act to reassure ALL Jamaicans that they can have confidence in their justice system and that the State is the people's human-rights champion.

Failure to do so will create even greater schisms in the social contract and subvert the goals of the new Partnership Agreement.

Joan Grant Cummings is a gender and environmental specialist. Email feedback to


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.

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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.