Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
The police are reporting that a disruptive group of youths from the homosexual community attacked the office of the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), after lawmen on the weekend cleared them off government-owned property, in St Andrew's Golden Triangle, where they had been squatting.
Even as the men complained bitterly that they have been abandoned by J-FLAG, residents of the upscale community were breathing a sigh of relief that the homosexuals, many of whom are regarded as homeless, having been turned out of their homes by family, are finally out of their hair.
There has been no sign of the gang of men since the National Insurance Fund (NIF) assigned two security guards to the property located at 62 Lady Musgrave Road.
Both the head of the St Andrew Central Division, Senior Superintendent of Police Fitz Bailey, and Julian Robinson, the member of parliament for South East St Andrew in which the property is located, confirmed yesterday that the area has been quiet since the men were uprooted.
"We went up there Friday and we conducted an operation … a team cleared them off the property to allow the security guards to take control and they have actually taken control," said Bailey.
He told The Gleaner that he subsequently received reports that the men went to the offices of J-FLAG, after they were removed from the Lady Musgrave Road property.
"I was told that they stoned the (J-FLAG) building on Saturday and Monday and demanded money and other things," said Bailey. "But I can say unequivocally that they are no longer at the location."
The Gleaner was unable to get confirmation of the incidents from J-FLAG.
Bailey said his commander in New Kingston also indicated to him that a search was made of the entire area to find out where the men were but was unsuccessful.
"We don't know where they have been relocated," said Blair.
Caveat on property
The NIF has wanted to construct 66 apartments on the property but has been prevented from doing so by a caveat lodged by well-known businessman Sameer Younis, who owns a neighbouring property on which he resides.
For Robinson, the problem is not really solved as merely uprooting the squatters constitutes a temporary fix to a challenge that had become intractable.
"I am sure that they are at some other location, but I haven't got any reports of their whereabouts so far," he said.
Added Robinson: "It is a temporary solution because until you deal with a permanent solution you are just moving them from one place to another, so the reality is that it might provide a temporary respite for the (legitimate) people, but at the end of the day they are going to go somewhere else."
He reiterated that it required a multi-stakeholder approach to determine a feasible long-term solution.
"There are no easy answers, but I think the agencies will have to go to the drawing board and brainstorm to identify the best way forward."