Unruly gays back with a vengeance
RESIDENTS of Millsborough Avenue in Barbican, St Andrew say a band of unruly gays who were forcibly removed from an abandoned premises in their community last Sunday, have returned with a vengeance and have upped the ante.
"They are now stealing water from people's properties as the house that they have taken over has been empty for a long while and there is no water or light there. I saw two of them coming out of a house. One of them had a five gallon bottle on his head while another had about four gallon bottles. We can't live like this much longer and again we call on the police to come to our assistance," one resident told the Jamaica Observer.
Despite a police operation two Sundays ago which saw all of the gay men being ordered to pack their bags and go, the defiant men were back by Tuesday, residents say, and have been taunting them and daring them to make them stay away from a community where former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, leading business moguls, the Cuban Ambassador to Jamaica and other well-heeled people call home.
The house at 16 Millsborough Avenue is presently unsecured, as vandals have sawn off the locks and busted open windows, rendering police efforts to remove them permanently useless.
"We would have to put some cops there permanently to ensure that they do not come back. That is unfeasible as we cannot have police at one location in the division indefinitely. The police are stretched beyond their limit. We understand the residents' plight and concerns and will be moving decisively to put an end to this soon. That is all I will say about that at this point. We are facing a serious challenge with these miscreants. We got them out of the golden triangle and now they have relocated and are causing other decent people headaches," one cop from the St Andrew Central Police Division said.
But the explanation by the police was of little consolation to the concerned residents who are dying to see the backs of the rowdy gays permanently.
"These boys are very violent and they are not afraid to threaten you with violence when confronted about their unbecoming behaviour. Things are reaching to a boiling point and we are prepared to defend our homes from this invasion of termites. It is very uncomfortable," the resident complained.
A Jamaica Observer news team got a first-hand experience of the violent nature of the violent nature of the gays in question when they went to investigate reports that the police had ordered the squatting gays off the property, after last Sunday's publication of an article in the Observer highlighting the residents' concerns about the outlandish behaviour of the gay men, some of whom the residents say were seen bathing naked on the driveway of the now captured home.
The men, using expletives, attacked an Observer photographer who was taking pictures of the premises and flung bottles, stones and other missiles wildly, even as he beat a hasty retreat to a marked Observer vehicle.
They only retreated when the photographer managed to enter the vehicle which sped off.
The incident has drawn the ire of the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) which wrote to Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) condemning the attack and dubbing it an attack on the free press.
However J-FLAG has distanced itself from the untoward behaviour of the homeless gays but not without attempting to explain the reason for their conduct.
According to J-FLAG executive director Dane Lewis, there are claims that the particular set of rowdy gays are among some of the country's gays who come from the lower social strata and have been chased from their homes and communities and have always been the subjects of ridicule.
Lewis claims that the gay men have no earning skill and are desperate.
"This particular issue is part of the broader societal problem facing many persons who are affected by high levels of structural instability in communities across the island. The problem is further exacerbated not by the sexual or gender identities of the young men but by the absence of core functional skills that would have been inculcated had they been part of a family, school or community.
"Their abandonment by family and community is therefore most germane to the discourse, not the symptoms of their displacement. These are vulnerable young Jamaicans in desperate need of help and I would therefore urge your members not to see this event as one to deter them from pursuing their critical role in bringing to light these relevant issues and calling to task all those with responsibility to see to the needs of vulnerable Jamaicans," he said.