Mon | May 21, 2018

Anti-gay rant at Cornwall Regional

Published:Tuesday | February 13, 2018 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

It's Safer Sex Week, and HIV-prevention messages are once again in the news. However, these life-saving messages are literally being blocked at the gates of the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH).

Recently, my mother was a patient at CRH and several times while visiting her, I was subjected to vile homophobic rhetoric from the security guard stationed at the entrance to her ward. On the first occasion, a staff member complained about being robbed of her cell phone and the guard ranted: "The young boys mek the b****man dem f*** dem fi get phone!" He continued in this vein for several minutes.

Later that same morning, he greeted a young mother with her baby and declared: "The b****man dem a f*** b**** instead of having babies!" He then proceeded to claim that gays are raping young boys. It went on and on, including attributing the 1692 Port Royal earthquake to God's judgement on "dutty faggots".

All of this anti-gay vitriol was shared in full view and earshot of members of the public as well as the nursing and medical staff. Some even voiced their support for his hate speech. But no hospital staff sought to rein him in.

I urge CRH to ensure that they don't frustrate another of their missions: 'To provide and maintain facilities and conditions conducive to the promotion of health', and immediately ensure that all staff receive training in respecting the full human rights of all Jamaicans. That training must start with the hospital's first point of contact, the security personnel.

MAURICE TOMLINSON

Montego Bay, St James