Kingston, Jamaica ---July 12, 2011
J-FLAG notes with great concern the assertion made by Senior Superintendent Fitz Bailey, on TVJ’s Prime Time News on Monday, July 11, 2011, that young homosexual men are the main perpetrators of organised crimes in Jamaica.
While J-FLAG is concerned about increasing levels of crime across the island, we question this statement and its validity and caution the police from using stereotypes, such as dress and material lifestyle in their pronouncements regarding perpetrators. This is an irresponsible and incendiary pronouncement, coming from a senior police office. Furthermore, this broad brushing feeds directly into assumptions about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons, an already marginalized and vulnerable group, and perpetuates social prejudice, inequality, harassment and violence.
Like all Jamaicans, J-FLAG is concerned about the high levels of crime and violence that exists in our country with organised crime being a major problem facing Jamaica over the last fifteen years. Furthermore, based on reports by the police, criminologists and other experts, Jamaican organised criminals function through gangs whose activities exploit the human condition, utilise extortion and protection rackets, supply illegal goods, and attempt to maneuver and camouflage their ill-gotten funds. This is a feature of a broader societal problem and limiting this to gays appears to diminish the intensity of the problem.
Given that organised crime threatens citizen safety and security and undermines democracy, retards economic development and can contribute to government instability, J-FLAG strongly believes that improving general awareness is critical to Jamaicans understanding their role in combating the various threats and reducing the harms they cause. While we fully understand that an individual’s sexual orientation does not absolve them from being involved in any type of crime, this type of profiling does more harm than good to an already stigmatized, disadvantaged and marginalized community.
J-FLAG also calls on SSP Bailey to furnish more information on the research to which he alluded so that the public can be much clearer on the parameters around which this “research” was conducted and can determine for themselves the validity of the findings shared.
J-FLAG fully supports the efforts of the Government and police to arrest all crimes and mitigate its impact on Jamaicans. We stand ready to partner with the police to reduce the incidence of crime. We invite SSP Fitz Bailey and his team to meet with us to share the types of organized crimes perpetrated by homosexuals, in order that we can support the effort of the police.