In July of 2011 when Senior Superintendent of Police Fitz Bailey alluded to data collection from the Organised Crime Division showing that main players in the lotto scam were homosexuals, it was my view that the senior crime fighter should have kept that information to himself and detectives deriving the modus operandi and the psychological profile of the lotto scammers.
The responses from the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (JFLAG) and Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) were predictable. JFLAG said that the comments were 'irresponsible' and served to stereotype homosexual. JFJ said that Bailey's comments were 'discriminatory' and that the sexual orientation of alleged criminals were 'irrelevant.'
To me it seemed that all the players got some of it right and some wrong. First, Bailey was right in his statement but dead wrong in issuing it. My personal on-the-ground investigations of the lotto scam in Mobay and environs had long confirmed what Bailey had said before he said it.
JFJ was wrong in saying that the sexual orientation of alleged criminals is irrelevant. To a good detective, the sexual orientation of an alleged criminal is very relevant. In its simplest form it will assist the detective in drawing a picture of the person and who he is likely to hang out with.
Where JFLAG said that Bailey's comments served to stereotype homosexuals, at the time I was investigating the matter and its connection with violent criminality and some in low-level political leadership. I was puzzled as to why the leadership of the scam and many of the street players were openly of that sexual orientation.
Granted, it is obvious that birds prefer to stick with birds and not cats, and furthermore that it is likely that as the group grows, it will grow in proportion to the perceived commonality of interest and, who knows, sexual orientation especially where homosexuality is a more scarce commodity that is heterosexuality.
But after that, I drew a psychological blank. I was no detective.
In the campaign leading up to the 2011general elections, then opposition leader Portia Simpson Miller 'opened a can of worms' by promising to put the Buggery Law before Parliament with a view to reexamining its continued relevance.
In the wake of the PNP's impressive seat win in December 2011, the political landscape was rife with rumours that the PNP had been funded by the foreign gay lobby. As far as I know there has never been any confirmation of that.
With a very giddy PNP leadership in its first year and a troubling spike in violent murders including very young children, the least that the country needed was the agitation and community 'aggressiveness' of homeless gays in New Kingston. There were some who were of the view that those men were simply a reflection of the many gay groups whose expectation after the elections had grown to impatience.
The real problem is the influence that the powerful, well-funded, foreign gay lobby in the Western world has in its many attempts to change the trajectory of our cultural development. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Jamaica will, in time become a part of that acceptance but, for now, our society is not ready for the full frontal acceptance of homosexuality.
I will expand on this controversial subject in my Sunday column.
Put teeth in our fishing laws
Jamaica is about 500 miles from the coast of the Central American country Honduras and if both countries should ever enter into a major dispute, it would be over the attraction that Honduran fishing vessels have for our waters, especially the fishing grounds at the Pedro Cays.
Last year the Jamaica Observer broke a story about the unsanitary conditions which existed in the Jamaican fishing community at Pedro Cays in our southern waters. That was only a part of the concerns of the fishing community. Of much more importance was the infiltration of foreign ships in our severely depleted fishing grounds which was leading to increased economic suffering for the Jamaican fishing community.
There was an incident in 2011 where a Jamaican Coast Guard vessel was forced to open fire at a Honduran fishing vessel that the Jamaican authorities said was about to ram the Coast Guard vessel.
Apart from the numerous incidents of Honduran vessels 'wandering' into our severely depleted fishing grounds, in last December a vessel was caught, the crew members were arrested and the Hondurans repatriated.
In 2010 the Jamaica Coast Guard saw a vessel, gave chase, but the vessel sped off, leaving poor Honduran fishermen, many of whom were underage, in the water. They were eventually taken in land to Jamaica, processed and then repatriated.
At this time when our fishing grounds are severely over-shipped, why are we having some 'dibby-dibby' law on the books which only cost the Hondurans about J$100,000 in fines? This is utter madness!
Who pays for the time we accommodate them? Quite probably the Honduran officials in Jamaica. But which country pays for the inconvenience and what will our politicians tell our fisher folk, struggling to make a most dangerous living?
My point is, for the Jamaica Coast Guard to spy a vessel, give chase, corral and arrest the crew then after a few months charge someone a measly J$100,000 is simply an invitation for the Hondurans to keep on poaching on the waters off the Pedro Keys and elsewhere in our waters. How does such a charge even pay for the operation of the Coast Guard in that time?
Our legislators need to get their act together and put some real teeth into the fishing laws.