Jamaican police have again raided the gully where dozens of homeless LGBT youth have taken refuge.
Police have often raided the storm water diversion gully, sometimes called a sewer, even though a Jamaican court ruled in March that the youths, who have nowhere else to go, have a right to be there because gullies are public spaces.
The raid came a month after Supt. Christopher Murdock, who heads the New Kingston Police, gave his support to the idea of establishing a shelter where homeless LGBT people can have access to medication, psychological help, counselling and vocational training.
Similar proposals have been made in the past, but so far they have not come to fruition. Murdock did not mention the most recent proposal, Dwayne’s House, which has been put forward by supporters of the homeless youths.
In the latest raid, Murdock said, police were searching for several people suspected of criminal activity in the area, including the theft of J$100,000 (US$888).
Stone-throwing skirmishes broke out between the homeless youths and onlookers, according to a CVM News video posted on YouTube by GLBTQ Jamaica. The Jamaica Observer said that two of the police were injured in the raid, which occurred after the youths started throwing bottles at them.
Six people were arrested, including a man who Murdock said tried to choke him and inflicted a cut on Murdock’s arm.
Last month, after Murdock presented his statement in favor of establishing a shelter, the proposal attracted support.
“If we could convince members of the civic coalition and those who are spending millions on security to help, we could go a far way,” said Dane Lewis, president of J-FLAG (the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays).
“We have to have land, pay people who are going to come and look after health care and other benefits. We’ve had enough of these sessions; we need to come to a solution,” Lewis added.
Member of parliament Julian Robinson, whose constituency includes the affected area, said he would help find land for the shelter. Murdock said a small group should be chosen to organize the project.
Representatives from the National Council on Drug Abuse and the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition said they would help after adequate funding is assured and the Government steps out to provide more than simply a location for the shelter.
- Jamaica youth minister to develop plans for LGBT homeless youth (76crimes.com)
- Defying judge, Jamaican police evict LGBT youth (76crimes.com)
- Judge rules for LGBT youths living in Jamaican sewers (76crimes.com)
- ‘Uptown’ Jamaicans vs. homeless gays (76crimes.com)
- Jamaican Christmas cheer for homeless LGBT youths (76crimes.com)
- Jamaica: Homeless LGBT youths up close and personal (76crimes.com)
- Why Some LGBT Youths In Jamaica Are Forced To Call A Sewer Home (BuzzFeed)
- Jamaican police seize, burn donations to LGBT youths (76crimes.com)
- Jamaican police keep attacking homeless LGBTs (76crimes.com)
- Jamaica: Support grows for LGBT youths living in sewers (76crimes.com)
- 8 arrests, not help, for homeless Jamaican LGBTs (76crimes.com)
- Archive of articles about Dwayne’s House on 76crimes.com