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UWI fires professor amid gay lobby outrage

Published:Tuesday | May 20, 2014 | 4:10 PM

The University of West Indies (UWI) has terminated the contract of Professor Brendan Bain as the director of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training (CHART) Network.



In a statement issued this afternoon, the UWI said it had become increasingly evident that Bain has lost the confidence and support of a significant sector of the community, which the CHART programme is expected to reach.



Bain's termination came after he provided a statement in a high-profile case in Belize, in which Caleb Orozco, a gay man, challenged the constitutionality of an 1861 law that criminalises men having sex with men (MSM).



READ: Expert report of Brendan Bain



Some 35 advocacy groups had written to the vice-chancellor of the UWI, Prof. E Nigel Harris, indicating that they had lost confidence in Bain as the head of CHART following his statement in the case.



The groups also called for Bain to be removed.



The groups had argued that while Bain made it clear that Bain's written testimony, as an expert witness in the Belize case, was his entitled opinion, it was still in conflict with his leadership of CHART.



The UWI in its statement said many authorities familiar with the brief presented believe that Professor Bain's testimony supported arguments for the retention of the law thereby contributing to the continued criminalisation and stigmatisation of MSM, which many public health experts believe violates their human rights and puts them at even higher risk of contracting HIV.



It said while the University recognises the right of Bain to provide expert testimony in the manner he did, it has become increasingly evident that Bain has lost the confidence and support of a significant sector of the community which the CHART programme is expected to reach.



Bain has been the director of CHART since its inception and after his retirement from UWI in 2013, he was given a two-year post-retirement contract to continue in his role as director.



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