House occupied by gays firebombed
Adrian Frater, News Editor
Four homosexual men, who captured a house in the Porto Bello, St James, close to two years ago and had been residing there ever since, were put to flight early Tuesday night by an angry mob, who attacked the house and subsequently fire-bombed it.
According to an eye-witness account, shortly after 7 p.m., one of the men went outside the house, where he was confronted by a mob comprising some 14 men. They immediately attacked him and in the ensuing commotion, the men had to flee for their lives. The house was subsequently firebombed.
"I got a call from one of the men shortly after the incident," said Everald Morgan, an officer at the St James Public Health Department. "I know the police were alerted and that they went to the scene."
The house was the last place where 17-year-old Dwayne 'Gully Queen' Jones, who was killed by a mob in St James earlier this year, lived. The men who were attacked on Tuesday night were said to be his friends.
Concerned about the safety of the men, who escaped unarmed but are now without a safe place to live, Morgan said he made a request of the Mt Salem police to take them in for safe-keeping but the request was denied.
"The police said they could not take them in because they would not be safe there," Morgan said.
A police source at the Mt Salem Police Station confirmed the firebombing and the request to take the men into custody for their own safety. The source said the matter was under investigation.
While many Jamaicans are generally unsympathetic to members of the gay community, international gay rights group have regularly come to their defence. They protested the killing of Jones at a party, where he gad gone pretending to be a female.
When JFLAG was contacted, spokesperson Jaevian Nelson said the organisation was unaware of the incident.