Mar 26, 2007
Quickie Link: Jamaica's Police Shame --by Peter Tatchell
The on-going Jamaican police investigation into the tragic murder of Pakistan's cricket coach, Bob Woolmer, has shown that the island's constabulary is capable of taking violent crime seriously - when it wants to. Kingston is one of the murder capitals of the world. Most of the victims are poor. Police inquiries are often perfunctory. The killers are rarely bought to trial. The chances of getting justice in Jamaica are even lower if you are gay. Homophobic violence is widespread on the island; fuelled by the anti-gay hatred that is daily spewed from church pulpits, newspaper columns, dancehall music and radio stations.
On the one hand, many Jamaicans are proud of their homophobia. They defend it as part of their culture. On the other hand, the Jamaican government and police are in full-scale denial about the massive scale of queer-bashing violence.
Last month, a huge lynch mob cornered four allegedly gay men in a pharmacy store in Kingston and demanded they be handed over to be beaten to death in the street.
Who were these people? Just ordinary shoppers. Word spread about the presence of some "batty men" (faggots, queers, benders, poofs) and hundreds of shoppers descended on the store hell-bent on killing them.