Friday, June 26, 2009
In a frank and open discussion the men mostly aged in their early to mid twenties explained in detail their day to day ways of surviving the streets:
1). securing food by begging or shared purchases
2). hiding from would be predators (usually other more powerful homeless males)
3). harassment from police
4). harassment and ridicule from members of the public
5). physical attacks by security guards on nearby premises
6). homophobic attacks from other homeless boys and bikers who roam the streets at night
7). Older, more powerful and experienced bisexual and gay gangstas on the street prey on them for sexual favours, relieving them of money or gifts
Most of the MSMs were displaced because of their sexual preference becoming public knowledge hence they are chased from their homes by family or community members sometimes under threat of death if they should return.
Others lose their jobs for the same reasons and end up struggling to rebuild their lives mostly in fear of being discovered while doing so. The goals and ambitions are laudable with some already possessing skills in the arts and trades (chefs etc).
The men however support each other by way of sharing food and clothing when they receive gifts and money or just emotional kind by talking and making each other aware of their whereabouts.
Emotional development was a factor that was discussed at length which was found to be too heavy at first but it got more simplistic as the exchange continued.
It is hoped that from this first step would be the birth of a continued exercise to rescue these young men and make them into productive and confident human beings.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
In seeking to make submissions to the Joint Select Committee at this eleventh hour, the church representatives and the group of lawyers who complain about certain provisions of the Charter, concerning the protection of the right to privacy, need to be reminded of the history and purport of those provisions as they were developed.
First, those provisions are to the same effect as those that are contained in the recommendations of the Constitutional Commission of the early 1990s, under the chairmanship of Dr. Lloyd Barnett, in their draft Bill on the Charter
Second, the Joint Select Committee that sat for a long time to consider the Charter provisions, in the late 1990s, heard presentations from groups who take a completely opposite view to that taken by the church representatives and group of lawyers. Those entities, including J-FLAG, even though approaching the matter from the base of a different provision in the Bill, were of the view that the Charter should move away from the recommendations of the Constitutional Commission on this score and that there should be no discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation.
The Joint Select Committee did not agree that such a recommendation should be made to Parliament since it saw such a measure as opening the door to the legalisation, or at least, the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
Third, the Parliamentary Opposition tabled a Charter of Rights Bill in the name of its former leader, in which the provisions of which the church representatives and group of lawyers now complain are in the same terms as those recommended by the Constitutional Commission that was chaired by Dr. Barnett.
The church representatives and group of lawyers ought to be mindful of the following:
• It is not possible to have a policeman placed in every bedroom in Jamaica. So that, within the confines of a person’s home, this particular mischief cannot be prevented or punished except, of course, someone complains.
• Every provision in a law or a constitution is subject to interpretation by judges. Interpretation of laws, however narrowly or broadly drafted, is always coloured by the experience, culture and prevailing circumstances by which the interpreter is guided in coming to a conclusion. That is one of the reasons why the final interpreter of a country’s laws and constitutional provisions should be exposed to and be keenly aware of the socio-cultural imperatives that must guide his decision.
Senator A.J. Nicholson, Q.C.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
The Opposition on Friday warned that the Government might end up legalising buggery through the back door because of a provision in the new Sexual Offences Bill.
Opposition Senator Navel Clarke who was making his contribution to debate on the bill in the Senate Friday morning, pointed to a clause in the bill which introduces into law a new crime called grievous sexual assault.
The bill sets out specific circumstances in which grievous sexual assault can be committed to include the penetration of the anus and vagina without consent.
However Senator Clarke argued that the inclusion of the phrase 'without consent' implies that buggery would be perfectly legal where there is consent.
"In my opinion, this has been a slight of hand (where) somebody seemed to have slipped in the matter which abolishes the (offence of buggery) as we know it," he said.
The Opposition Senator was backed by Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, AJ Nicholson who argued that the bill was littered with unresolved issues because the Government had failed to follow proper procedure and had rushed the process.
"The route that has been taken has caused avoidable delays, a meandering and a troubled journey through the houses ... different days be appointed for the start of different provisions. Even after our deliberations here in the Senate, there will requirements for the House of Representatives to consider future amendments recommended in this chamber," said Senator Nicholson.
The controversial bill, which was also subject to extensive and heated debate in the Lower House, is likely to continue to stir up a firestorm of reactions among several Senators yet to make their contribution.
Charging women for raping men
Senator Meadows elicited giggles from some Government and Opposition Members of the Senate as he argued for the section of the bill which recognises marital rape, to be made gender neutral.
Previously, the law did not recognize that a man could rape his wife.
But the Sexual Offences Bill sets out five circumstances in which a husband can be charged for raping his spouse.
The bill now says that marital rape can only be committed where the spouses have separated under law, are seeking a divorce or trying to annul their marriage, where there is an injunction ousting the husband from the marital home or if the husband knows himself to be infected with a sexually transmitted illness.
However making his contribution to debate on the bill in the Senate Friday afternoon, Senator Meadows argued that that section of the bill should not only address husbands raping their wives but wives raping their husbands.
According to him, the change would also address date rape.
"I'm man to say that I can be raped by a woman ... I may not cry rape but it is possible. A woman who drugs a man with a date rape drug for example and has sex with him without his consent has committed rape or in this case grievous sexual assault," said Mr. Meadows.
Married women left out in the cold - Mark Golding (right)
He was not the only Senator who took issue with the section of the bill dealing with marital rape.
Opposition Senator Mark Golding argued that by restricting marital rape to only five specific circumstances, the new bill would unwittingly end up offering less protection to married women than the law now offers to unwed women.
"The unmarried woman who lives with her man in long term relation will actually now enjoy superior rights than a lawfully married wife since if her man has sex with her without her consent he would have committed rape but that is not so in the case of a lawfully wedded wife unless one of the five circumstances is also present," said Senator Golding.
The Senate will continue to debate the Sexual Offences bill next Friday.
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thank you for your donations via Paypal in helping to keep this blog going and related costs. Please continue to support me and my allies in this venure that has now become a full time activity. When I first started blogging in late 2007 it was just as a pass time to highlight GLBTQ issues in Jamaica under then JFLAG's blogspot page but now clearly there is a need for more forumatic activity which I want to continue to play my part.
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Steps to Take When Contronted or Arrested by Police
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 tensed) 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 violatedi) 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