LGBT Youth in Jamaica Allowed to live in Sewers

jamaica-sewers-as-shelter-LGBT gay youth

How sad is this?

Around 11 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1, police officers led by Cmdr. Christopher Murdock lowered a ladder into an open sewer in New Kingston, the Jamaican capital’s financial district. The sewer, damp and strewn with trash, flowed out of the business district housing several banks, large hotels, and shopping arcades. And it was home to a group of youths Murdock wanted gone.

Their alleged crime: stealing. Murdock said he had received more than 30 reports of theft and robbery since the group, ranging in age from teens to early twenties, had moved into the sewer several months before, and he was becoming concerned that the stretch of Trafalgar Road that runs over their makeshift home was becoming unsafe for people to walk.

But Murdock’s televised remarks following the Sunday raid left the impression the kids were unwanted for an entirely different reason: “The aim of this operation was to remove men of diverse sexual orientation who continue to plague the New Kingston area.”

 

FAST FORWARD  to today –

Jamaican police tried again last week to evict homeless LGBT youth from the sewers in New Kingston where they have been forced to take refuge.

The police have previously tried to burn the youth out of the gullies on the pretext that they attract criminals.

When the youths were brought before the court on Friday, March 7, the judge fined them for their so-called “calumnious language” but also advised the police that the sewers are a public space. Hence the youngsters have every right to be there. With no other options, the kids have simply returned to living in the sewers.

Dwayne’s House, a Jamaican organization established to feed and clothe the youngsters living in the sewers, paid the small fines for some of the arrested youth. See the Web page of Dwayne’s House for more information or to contribute (in the United States or in Canada).

 

So sad.