Western Jamaica churches stand up for Professor Bain
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Several church groups from western Jamaica yesterday protested against the University of the West Indies' (UWI) recent sacking of Professor Brendan Bain as head of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network.
Placard-bearing members of the group of demonstrators, clad in black and with masking tape over their mouths, started gathering at the entrance of the UWI Mona Western Jamaica Campus on Queen's Drive, Montego Bay, from 8:30 am.
Some of the placards read: 'Free Speech Is A Right Not A Privilege'; 'Do Not Change The Buggery Law'; and 'Keep Us Free From Evil Powers'.
They got support from horn-tooting motorists as they drove by.
The UWI sacked Professor Bain following concerns from gay advocacy groups across the Caribbean about his expert testimony given in a Belize court case seeking to challenge laws criminalising buggery.
Several critics, including church leaders, said the professor's dismissal was the university's giving in to pressure from gay rights groups.
Supporters of the academic, one of the region's leading authorities on the HIV epidemic in the Caribbean and one of the pioneers in clinical infectious diseases, last week protested outside the gates of the UWI's Mona Campus in Kingston. Protests, in support of Bain, were also held in Belize last week.
Chairman of the St James Ministers' Fraternal Rev Glendon Powell, who was among the demonstrators yesterday, said the groups wanted justice for Professor Bain.
"This is just standing in solidarity against injustice. The church always stands against any kind of injustice there is. We believe that it doesn't matter who, from the man in the gutter to the man at the top. When injustice is being served, we believe that justice is what the Bible speaks about," said Powell.
"Bain was fired from his job and we don't believe that it is right, and we believe it is a move to silence the Church, and we believe that the Church must always have a voice in doing that which God has mandated us to do," added Powell.
Meanwhile, pastor of the Montego Bay-based Trumpet Call Ministries International, Mary Wildish-Reece said the church wanted to support the freedom of speech.
"We are here today (yesterday) along with many other churches to stand with the east (Kingston protest) with what is happening in our nation to declare that speaking the truth on scientific and medical evidence is not hate speech. We are here to stand for our rights as Christians for freedom of speech, for freedom to preach the gospel, and to declare that we do not want to see the moral fibre of our society eroded and being re-ordered by a minority," Wildish-Reece said.
"We are here to say that enough is enough, and we are calling for a righteous revolution in this nation for the church to stand for what the Bible has said is truth and rights," she added.