Jamaica constabulary backtracks on statements linking gays to organised crimes

(Jamaica Observer) The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has withdrawn a controversial statement made by Senior Superintendent Fitz Bailey linking of members of the homosexual community to some forms of organised crime in the country.

Bailey, who heads of the Organised Crime Investigation Division, identified homosexuals as being prominently involved in the ‘lottery scam’ and other highly lucrative criminal enterprise after a review of police data.

However, his comment sparked anger among the local gay and lesbian community which accused the police of bias. Rights group Jamaicans For Justice had also taken issue with the statement.

Yesterday, Police Commissioner Owen Ellington expressed regret “to all Jamaicans and our international partners for any concern, anxiety and any appearance of unfair labelling which may have been construed from the message”.

Ellington said SSP Bailey had shared information with him “supporting his assertion and cited discussions he has had with representatives of JFLAG (Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays) about the problem”.

“He fully understands the basis of concern for the safety and well-being of members of the gay community who may be targeted by misguided individuals simply because of the statements under reference,” the commissioner said in a statement.

The commissioner also assured the public that the JCF had no policy of singling out individual social groups for special attention.

“Our focus is on enforcing the laws without fear, favour, prejudice or ill-will. The JCF stands willing to receive and deal dispassionately with feedback from our publics. Our mission remains to serve, protect and re-assure all,” said Ellington.

He reasoned that the matter demonstrated that the JCF was willing to listen and review its positions accordingly.

Yesterday, J-FLAG and JFJ commended the force for the retraction.

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