Bain supporters keep up the pressure
Several of the island's lobby and citizens' groups yesterday continued to condemn this week's dismissal of Dr Brendan Bain from the post of director of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network (CHART), by the University of the West Indies (UWI).
One group has taken its disapproval to the Internet with the launch of an on-line petition, demanding an apology to Dr Bain from the university for the "unjust dismissal" of the doctor.
The petition, which has already garnered more than 500 signatures, was delivered to the mail box of the principal of the UWI Mona Campus, Professor Archibald McDonald, and president of the West Indies Group of Teachers, Anthony Perry.
Authors of the petition "citizen stakeholders", said to be made up of university lecturers, students, scientists, medical doctors and ordinary citizens, called the termination unwarranted as Bain did nothing wrong.
They went on to argue that the university's action might prevent medical experts from freely carrying out their mandate out of fear of repercussions. They went on to argue that the fight against HIV/AIDS was too important for researchers to be intimidated or dismissed "because of the political ideologies of a few interest groups".
The petition was also highly critical of the university administration. It argued that the group had lost confidence in the vice chancellor of the university for firing Dr Bain. They were also concerned that if the university continues on its current path, it will not remain a centre for open and objective, scientific research, as public policy suggestions would be based on the whims of interest groups.
Professor McDonald is yet to respond to the petition.
In the meantime, a statement from the Jamaica Umbrella Group of Churches stated that while it understands the reasons stated for the dismissal of Bain, it felt it was a move that would do little to eliminate the discrimination homosexual groups face in Jamaica.
"A decision such as this, against such a reputable professional, has served to concretise the view that those with a homosexual agenda are prepared to discriminate against, stigmatise and silence those who do not share their world view," said the church group.
The group also felt that the university and Bain could have come to a more "amicable" resolution.
Bain was dismissed by the university after it said it lost confidence in him as director of CHART. This followed his position contained in a court document in a high-profile Belize case in which Caleb Orozco, a gay man, challenged the constitutionality of an 1861 law that criminalises men having sex with men.