A seven year old mobbing matter that in a sense has been put to rest in the minds of some has been reawakened via an article in the Observer claiming the police who were involved in the Tropic Pharmacy mobbing incident in Half Way Tree with the former Programs Manager of JLFAG Gareth Henry (now in Canada), a popular diva socialite and her two of her friends denying the alleged homophobic actions of the police themselves has all of a sudden been brought back to life and conveniently so in the middle of a public backlash led by religious fanatics. These fanatics seek to gather momentum to promote hate and hysteria towards supposed foisting of homosexuality on the nation and the perception of the lobby collectively becoming bullies incite fear suggesting ulterior motives behind anything involving gays as yesterday’s Gleaner headline hinted, clear deception is at work here by the Observer as the article brought to bear based on how it is written and dateless as to when the police’s denial of the veracity of Henry’s statements. Was this a recent interview with the alleged police officer involved in the matter and if so why now some seven years later?
More questions than answers
Why now why at this time does the Observer choose to do this, is it because their failed gay baiting attempt via a suspected fictitious story about a male jogger raped that although raised the temperature on the ground in terms of homo-negative responses did not reach far enough or sell enough papers so they are going for more blood and whose agenda are they fulfilling here?
Why a previous story about homo-thugs as well supposedly robbing or living openly?
Did the Observer misquote the Guardian newspaper on Henry’s statement or did the Guardian itself embellish the story?
Did Gareth actually lie or embellish the story? (I hope not, I have worked with the man prior to his departure)
Coupled with the Tropical Plaza Monarch Pharmacy mobbing incident is the Brian Williamson murder in 2004 as well where Mr Henry is also portrayed as lying about the real motive for that tragedy, even if the motive was not a homophobic one the reactions from the public that morning outside the building when the undertakers arrived to process the scene with the police and retrieving the body was clear enough that homo-negativity and indeed homophobia in Jamaica is real.
Timely Coincidence with a 2014 mobbing yesterday in May Pen Clarendon with such glaring similarities:
Yesterday’s mobbing incident carried on TVJ news last evening is a perfect example of active homophobia where the evidence is clear as crystal but also hints to a rise in mood of locals intolerance levels to the slightest perception of effeminacy in men as the person targeted was said to be in makeup.
THE police have hit out against a claim by former head of the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays (JFLAG), Gareth Henry, that he and other men were beaten with guns during an incident at Monarch Pharmacy in Half-Way-Tree, St Andrew on Valentine's Day, 2007. Henry told The Guardian newspaper in England that he was one of three men who were chased inside the pharmacy at a shopping mall in Kingston by an angry mob intent on mauling them to death.
"According to his statement to the commission, the police were called but were abusive when they arrived. One officer asked if he was a 'batty man' and then all four policemen began beating him with their guns," The Guardian report read.
However, Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Area Four George Quallo said that the claim was untrue. At the time of the incident Quallo was the commanding officer for the St Andrew Central police division where the pharmacy is located.
"The men were holed up in the pharmacy and the first set of police who went there had to call for back-up. The police came with reinforcements and due to the large crowd had to use tear gas to repel them before taking the men away under a heavy police detail. They had no time to beat the men with guns," Quallo told the Jamaica Observer.
A few persons in the crowd threw objects as the men were being placed inside a police car, one of which hit one of the men in the head.
The Jamaica Observer was on the scene at the time and had to beat a hasty retreat due to the stinging effect of the tear gas which had the mob, made up mostly of schoolchildren, scampering in all directions. Quallo said that even after the men were rescued, a large crowd converged on the Half-Way-Tree Police Station and the police kept them inside until the crowd dispersed.
A customer who was in the pharmacy at the time of the incident also rubbished Henry's claim that he and two other men, who were dressed in drag, were chased into the pharmacy.
"The mob converged on the pharmacy because the gay men had doused a woman with water who spoke to them about their rowdy behaviour. The woman ran out of the pharmacy and told passers-by what had happened. Word spread and in no time a crowd converged at the front of the pharmacy and started shouting, 'let them out, let them out'. Nobody never chase them into nowhere. They walked inside the pharmacy," the shopper said at the time.
Henry also told The Guardian that he took over the reins of JFLAG after the murder of its founding executive director Brian Williamson in June 2004. He claimed that Williamson was stabbed to death in a homophobic attack.
However, police records indicate that Williamson was the victim of a gay-on-gay attack. Williamson's body was found lying face down in a pool of blood on his bedroom floor. He had multiple stab wounds to his neck.
There were no signs of forced entry to his room.
Desmond Chambers, one of two men with whom Williamson shared the three-bedroom house, told the media at the time that he did maintenance work around the property and accused two men who had visited the premises earlier of the murder.
According to Chambers, one of the men was a regular guest of the deceased.
"I have seen him here about six times (and) anything him want, Brian give him. Brian give him money, Brian give him food and help him to purchase (newspaper) to sell on the road," he said.
Dwight Hayden, the man accused of murdering Williamson and who eventually pleaded guilty and was slapped with a life sentence for the crime, had confessed in court that he and Williamson were lovers.
During an interview with the Jamaica Observer in July 2012, former Assistant Commissioner of Police Les Green also scoffed at claims by the local and international gay lobby that gays in Jamaica were the victims of wanton murder and marginalisation. The former Scotland Yard detective said at the time that his statistics showed that the vast majority of murders of gay men were the results of lovers' disputes and in his experience, only one was not perpetrated by a gay person and that was a case of robbery.
"All of those murders that I have investigated have been in relationships and are victims of gayattacks, domestic situations," Green said.
In as far as Mr Les Green’s position immediately above is concerned his short tenure as deputy commissioner here in Jamaica is not enough for him to arrive at a definitive conclusion that All of those murders that I have investigated have been in relationships and are victims of gayattacks, domestic situations," what does he know, has he seen the older files with similar matters and in fact have such files even been doctored by local investigators as we well know the police have been adept at twisting stories to suit their investigations or even refuse to look at cases where it may involve some homosexual motive or involvement. We hear and see the cries for justice by other Jamaicans almost weekly on our television screens as cops are accused of extra-judicial killings or planting guns on persons to label them as criminals.
As I indicated above something is amiss here and the Observer seems to be on a gay baiting run here to further destroy whatever little credibility is left in parts of the advocacies that seek to operate on a more ethical plain than others and while doing so securing hefty sales/profits. I will concur that the actual causation of Brian Williamson’s murder and as was brought out in court “Wingee” Dwight Hayden was known to Brian yes and Brian did assist him in starting his newspaper business, I have been warning about this as one of the lone voices in the wilderness for years about the all important crisis communication and truth and this case is one such that poses a challenge. There are several other cases that involve less prominent persons of the MSM community in particular who have been murdered with a clear homophobic motive but somehow those cases have not been used I guess due to their non-notoriety so they are shelved and considered less important. The cases used consistently over the years simply cannot stand up to scrutiny.
Overseas protests by some other overzealous persons claiming to be advocates with tainted integrities and all while calling for boycotts of Jamaica is only seeking to slowly hurt the cause than aid it in as far as perceptions of dishonesty on our part is concerned, I have tried not to use the Williamson case as a beacon for homophobia as there are several other good strong cases that can be used in that department and strengthen the credibility of the crisis communication element of public advocacy.
The John Terry matter is another such case that cannot be relied upon as a good reference as the investigations and arrest has not netted much or unearthed good evidence of homophobia as a causation. The Dean Moriah matter also is another shaky case that cannot be used as he named his attacker before his death suggesting he had knowledge of the person and he was not a stranger, in other words some familiarity. Such cases with established “familiarity” cannot be used as strong evidence but our advocacies over the years have failed to properly delineate genuine homophobic cases versus non homophobic ones, stress ethics and so here we are in this tangled mess as more credibility rots away leaving the crisis communication tool weakened.
Let us watch the Observer’s trend and see. In answer to the post title I think they are on a trend to do just that.
Jamaica Observer deliberately aiding the further discrediting of the remaining LGBTQ credibility in public advocacy & gay baiting?