Tue | Jun 19, 2018

Letter of the Day | Don’t be duped by noisy Tambourines

Published:Tuesday | March 21, 2017 | 12:00 AM


I note the many letters of solidarity for Latoya Nugent following her arrest on March 14, 2017. What these women's group and sympathisers have skilfully left out of the discussion is the need for all Jamaicans to uphold the law and that it is not advocacy at any cost.

I entreat the public to view the cyber footprints of Stella Gibson and make an informed decision.

Following the arrest of Rupert Clarke, Paul Gardner, and Jermaine Gibson, Stella launched a blistering attack on ministers in the Moravian Church. She, along with other members of the subsequently formed Tambourine Army, engaged in a crusade to claim paternity and ask for people to say the names of persons (ministers of religion) who have raped and sexually abused and/or groomed children or who are sexual predators. She named six persons and challenged readers to #saytheirnames. If that list was not good enough, she added another, then another, then two others.




Through her posts, one learnt that some of her colleagues expressed concern about how Nugent had chosen, since December 30, 2016, to address the issue of sexual violence against women and girls. She was scolded for how she had chosen to pick her battles, used expletives, for being non-compassionate, for isolating and shaming people, and her insensitivity to the family members of sexual predators.

In response, she conceded that she had either lost or was about to lose folks, some closer than 'colleague'. Clearly in reaction to women or a woman in her movement who displayed an adverse reaction to her type/mode of advocacy, Stella declared that "when the sexual predator is a friend, family, and colleague, the message to women and girls who are survivors is "different".

Unfortunately, Stella, buoyed by support from persons in her circle, went on a rampage. Reports are that Stella was charged under the Cybercrimes Act for malicious communication in cyberspace. It is, therefore, inconceivable that supporters of Stella will try to have the public believe that:

1. The march of Saturday, March 11, 2017, led to her arrest.

2. Her advocacy for the survivors of sexual abuse is under attack.

3. The State is trying to silence Ms Nugent.

Such communication from those aligned to Nugent is far from the truth. Stella was lucid and non-repentant in social media as she called out persons, berated lawyers, the police, and the State.

I urge all similar advocates and sympathisers to be mindful that in every nation, there are laws that protect all citizens. If you have information about activities and individuals who have broken the law, use the channels that are set up to deal with such matters.

If you feel that the avenues do not work or are thought not to be working to your satisfaction, DO NOT be misguided and carry out jungle justice, libel, or defame. Those so wronged by your actions will ensure the necessary sanctions and punishments are applied.