LAST MONTH, head of the Organised Crime Investigation Division (OCID), Senior Superintendent of Police Fitz Bailey, claimed that persons in homosexual relationships are the main perpetrators in the illicit lottery scam.
Some groups objected, labelling his statement as irresponsible and discriminatory as the sexual orientations of alleged criminals are irrelevant, and saying they further serve to stereotype persons. In response, the Police High Command issued an apology.
If Bailey came to the conclusion that participants in a homosexual lifestyle are the main perpetrators in the illegal lottery scam based on prejudice or based on deportment, then he should be disciplined.
Additionally, at a recent comedy show, Owen 'Blacka' Ellis, returnee from Canada, advocated tolerance of the lifestyle. And more and more persons are coming out of the closet and speaking about their experience. It appears that homophobia is in reverse. This trend tends to support Bailey's claims that his comments were based on data.
Unfortunately, we are not a data-based society. There is no strong tradition and appreciation of research, much less original research. Some journalists and columnists are prone to make statements which are not based on data or supported by information. There is nothing wrong with stating, if true, that most of the lottery crimes are committed by persons in homosexual relations.
Delroy Chuck, then an academic, wrote in his book, Understanding Crime, that the majority of persons in the prisons were from impoverished backgrounds with low educational status and single-parent families with poor housing solutions. Statements of the findings of such research should not and cannot be classified as irresponsible, discriminatory and stereotypical.
On August 4, 2011, The Star stated that AIDS is on the increase among gay and bisexual men in the
Proper analysis necessary
What is therefore needed is an analysis of Bailey's data. Why are persons in homosexual relations prone to be in illegal lottery scams? Is it because they are faced with discrimination at the workplace and cannot get or retain a legitimate job? Or are they suffering disproportionately because of the economic hardships? Is it that their lifestyle requires big bucks?
Additionally, some persons who appear to be sporting a homosexual lifestyle have been noticed to shop in groups. Is it that they are proud of the lifestyle and want to flaunt it, or are they afraid of violence and feel safe in a group? It seems to me that there needs to be more research done on persons within this community.
Years ago, a young man from the inner city, in responding to my article, said that in Jamaica, persons in homosexual relationships who are from the upper classes and play significant roles in society are accepted; but not so for those from impoverished backgrounds. Is that true?
Unfortunately, what seems to be happening is that persons who are sympathetic to the lifestyle are getting oversensitive to any data on the homosexual community, which is a kind of reverse homophobia. They are intolerant of other views or any negative perception of homosexuality, as if there is any one or any group that is perfect.
Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. Comment to firstname.lastname@example.org.