Letters to the Editor

Sacking Prof Bain makes matters worse

Friday, May 23, 2014    

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Dear Editor,

The Jamaica Umbrella Groups of Churches (JUGC) regrets that the University of the West Indies (UWI) was unable to arrive at a more amicable resolution in the impasse between Professor Brendan Bain and the advocacy groups opposed to his continued leadership of CHART based on his personal opinion expressed in the expert testimony given to the Supreme Court of Belize.

While we understand the argument and justification presented by UWI for ending Professor Bain's contract, considering the measure of contribution Professor Bain has given to the fight against HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, and the leadership he offered to CHART — despite his personal opinion — the JUGC believes that, in the long run, the decision of UWI will only serve to further the discrimination and stigmatisation of persons who are homosexuals while derailing the goal of zero infections.

A decision such as this, against such a reputable professional, has served to concretise the view that those with a homosexual agenda are prepared to discriminate against, stigmatise and silence those who do not share their world view. Therefore, this is likely to cement the lines of separation and bolster the stridency in opposing the homosexual lifestyle. No doubt, Professor Bain's casualty will be lifted up as a local example of what happens to those who share a different world view and it is likely to significantly impact the work of the faith- based community in its work among those who are living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, a contribution that is most critical to the mission.

The issue of same-sex relations has been a difficult and painful one across the globe. Dialogue within a context of mutual respect is likely to take us much further along the journey rather than the demonisation of the other. We must also be open to the fact that there are some things for which we must agree to disagree.

Rev Gary Harriott

Secretary

Jamaica Umbrella Groups of Churches

garionne.harriott@gmail.com

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