Some groups objected, labelling his statement as irresponsible and discriminatory as the sexual orientations of alleged criminals are irrelevant, and saying they further serve to stereotype persons. In response, the Police High Command issued an apology.
If Bailey came to the conclusion that participants in a homosexual lifestyle are the main perpetrators in the illegal lottery scam based on prejudice or based on deportment, then he should be disciplined. However, Bailey's interview appeared without prejudice. It should not be surprising if persons in homosexual relationships volunteered the infor-mation to OCID. Last year, I recall Dr Her-bert Gayle, University of the West Indies lecturer, speaking at a men's breakfast at Boulevard Baptist Church, stating that there is a growing acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle among ghetto youths.
Additionally, at a recent comedy show, Owen 'Blacka' Ellis, returnee from Canada, advocated tolerance of the lifestyle. And more and more persons are coming out of the closet and speaking about their experience. It appears that homophobia is in reverse. This trend tends to support Bailey's claims that his comments were based on data.
Unfortunately, we are not a data-based society. There is no strong tradition and appreciation of research, much less original research. Some journalists and columnists are prone to make statements which are not based on data or supported by information. There is nothing wrong with stating, if true, that most of the lottery crimes are committed by persons in homosexual relations.
Delroy Chuck, then an academic, wrote in his book, Understanding Crime, that the majority of persons in the prisons were from impoverished backgrounds with low educational status and single-parent families with poor housing solutions. Statements of the findings of such research should not and cannot be classified as irresponsible, discriminatory and stereotypical.
On August 4, 2011, The Star stated that AIDS is on the increase among gay and bisexual men in the United States. This is based on a government report. Are we going to claim that the publication of this data is irresponsible, discriminatory and stereotypical? No.
Proper analysis necessary
What is therefore needed is an analysis of Bailey's data. Why are persons in homosexual relations prone to be in illegal lottery scams? Is it because they are faced with discrimination at the workplace and cannot get or retain a legitimate job? Or are they suffering disproportionately because of the economic hardships? Is it that their lifestyle requires big bucks?
Additionally, some persons who appear to be sporting a homosexual lifestyle have been noticed to shop in groups. Is it that they are proud of the lifestyle and want to flaunt it, or are they afraid of violence and feel safe in a group? It seems to me that there needs to be more research done on persons within this community.
Years ago, a young man from the inner city, in responding to my article, said that in Jamaica, persons in homosexual relationships who are from the upper classes and play significant roles in society are accepted; but not so for those from impoverished backgrounds. Is that true?
Unfortunately, what seems to be happening is that persons who are sympathetic to the lifestyle are getting oversensitive to any data on the homosexual community, which is a kind of reverse homophobia. They are intolerant of other views or any negative perception of homosexuality, as if there is any one or any group that is perfect.
Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. Comment to email@example.com.
I smiled somewhat after reading Elvena Williams Reittie's letter to the editor on August 12, in which she bashed the Rev Devon Dick about not declaring his position on homosexuality.
From my understanding, Rev Dick was not speaking on the topic of homosexuality itself. Rather, his intent was to identify, or at least to encourage us to analyse, the comments of Senior Superintendent of Police Fitz Bailey, which linked persons in homosexual relationships to the illicit lottery scam, to ensure he was not being irresponsible or biased in his assertions.
Ms Reittie's letter further shows that there will be no balance on this issue of homosexuality, for if gays are identified as being responsible for wrongdoing, they argue that they are being singled out, discriminated against, and the subject of abuse.
On the other hand, when well-thinking people like Rev Dick take a view to say it is not simply because of who you are but rather the activities you are engaging in, he is accused of not being Christian enough or compromising.
I do not support the homosexual lifestyle; however, this does not mean that each time I see the word I begin a crusade or pronounce hellfire on these individuals. Being humane or impartial to a gay does not change or conciliate my view on the matter.
Instead of an apology for the comments made by the SSP, what the Police High Command should have done was to release the data from which the SSP drew his conclusions. This would have provided more clarity and support for his arguments. Allow the facts to speak for themselves.
To Rev Dick, continue to enlighten our darkness through your well-written columns and sound doctrine.
Little London, Westmoreland