Gays evicted again! Removed from second home

Homeless men removed from second upper St Andrew home

BY KARYL WALKER Editor-Crime/Court Desk walkerk@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, July 06, 2013

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POLICE were again called on yesterday to evict homeless members of the gay community who had taken up residence in a vacant house on Dewsbury Avenue, two days after they were forcefully evicted by the police from an empty house at nearby Millsborough Avenue in Barbican.

Head of the St Andrew Central Police Division Senior Superintendent Fitz Bailey told the Jamaica Observer that as soon as the police got word that some of the gay men had been seen on the premises, they moved to get them out.

"We will not allow them to take up residence there. The police went to the house and some of them ran when they saw us. We are not going to allow it and we will be monitoring the premises to make sure they don't try to re-enter," Bailey said.

The house is located in a section of the community where a number of diplomats reside, a source said.

When a Jamaica Observer news team went to the Dewsbury Avenue house one of the gay men was seen milling about the yard of the apparently vacant premises, while another man was seen entering a door with a parcel in his hand.

There were chains and padlocks on the gates to both entrances.

The police were, in the meantime, checking out reports that some of the gays who were evicted from the Millsborough Avenue house had taken up residence at a building that once housed the offices of gay advocacy group, the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) and the Jamaica AIDS Support at Upper Musgrave Avenue.

"We are paying attention to the property where J-FLAG and Jamaica Aids Support used to be. We got reports that some of them were seen there this (yesterday) morning. They seem to know where all the vacant houses in the Corporate Area are," said police officer Christopher Murdock, who led the team which evicted the tearful gays on Wednesday.

The house where the gay men lived in squalor for months was on Thursday demolished by a wrecking crew in order to make way for
the construction of an apartment complex.

They were given notice to leave the premises for months and were evicted by the police on at least one other occasion before Wednesday's final action.

Meanwhile, J-FLAG yesterday criticised the police for evicting the men.

"J-FLAG is deeply concerned about the continued reliance on forced eviction as a strategy to address homelessness among poor and vulnerable Jamaicans. The police operation to remove individuals from a property on Millsborough Avenue on July 3, 2013 is another example of the unnecessarily brutish treatment of the poor and vulnerable who have no place to sleep," the gay rights group said in a statement.
The country, J-FLAG added, had adopted a short-sighted and ineffective response to homelessness.

"Repeatedly removing people from abandoned properties does not solve the fundamental problem; it merely tells them to find somewhere else to sleep at nights," the release said.

Residents of Millsborough Avenue called the Observer and expressed their gratitude to the police for getting the gays out of their community. The residents had previously complained that the men behaved in a rowdy manner, stole water and bathed naked on the driveway, among other unbecoming acts.


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