1 min

Jamaica: Men flee house that was firebombed

Police refuse request to take men into custody for their protection

Map of Jamaica. Credit:

A Jamaican daily newspaper says four gay men fled a house in Porto Bello, St James, after one of them was allegedly attacked by a group of about 14 men.

The Jamaica Gleaner says the building was later firebombed, but its occupants were not hurt in the incident.

A St James public health department officer told the newspaper he got a phone call from one of the men after the alleged attack and called on the police to take them into custody for their protection. But according to Everald Morgan, the police refused, saying they couldn't guarantee their safety.

The report says police confirmed that a request to protect the men was made and that the matter was being investigated.

The lead paragraph of the Gleaner story describes the house as being "captured" by the four men about two years ago and notes that they were reportedly friends of 17-year-old Dwayne Jones, who was murdered in July. Jones, who was dressed in women's clothing, was beaten, stabbed, shot and left on a roadway after being chased from a Montego Bay party.

In September, police escorted five men out of a Manchester town after angry community residents barricaded them and their car. According to a CVM TV report, which referred to the men as “alleged homosexuals,” residents had been “tolerant with the practices of the men but were not in agreement with recent utterances and behaviour.”

Later in September, a group of men allegedly threw stones at a gay man and targeted him with homophobic slurs as he was walking home after visiting a friend in St Catherine, located in southeast Jamaica, Gay Star News (GSN) reports.

Gay rights activist Maurice Tomlinson told GSN that the man, who preferred to remain anonymous and feared going to the police, was hit in the back with three stones, but his athleticism helped him escape the scene.

Still, assistant commissioner of police Devon Watkis told The Gleaner in September that there is no "specific evidence" that LGBT people in Jamaica face more violence than the general population.