Jamaica waits on lesbian murder investigation

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A human rights group has written to the Jamaican Minister of National Security rasiing concern over the murder of two women who were allegedly lesbians.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) wrote to Peter Phillips highlighting problems of homophobia in the country and a reluctance to investigate cases of crime against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Last June, the bodies of Candice Williams and Phoebe Myrie were found in a septic tank near the home that they shared in Bull Bay, St Andrew.

The local police were reported in the Jamaica Star as saying that “we have leads on the only person wanted for questioning in the matter and should apprehend him before next week.”

Jessica Stern, researcher for HRW’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Programme, claims on HRW’s website that “Lesbians and gay men are still targets in Jamaica, where intolerance feeds violence.”

Stern is quoted in a press release as saying that “the authorities must properly investigate this horrific murder and send a message that hatred has no place in society.”

The prime suspect in the case is an estranged male lover of Candice Williams, with the motive for the crime likely to be the two women’s living arrangements. The suspect has not been questioned as yet, despite police claims to the local press that they knew of his movements at the time.

Jamaica, though, has a problem with its reaction towards the islands homosexual population. Though there is the well known case of Beenie Man’s homophobic lyrics, other music stars on the island have been reported as being intolerant towards any man unwilling to live a heterosexual, ‘real man’ lifestyle.

DJ Bounty Killer was reported in the Jamaica Star of making a big fuss over men wearing the colour pink at a concert last year. “If you see a pink bathroom an’ a blue bathroom, which one yu gwine go in?” he demanded of women in the crowd, after having complained of his worry that men wear too much pink. “Don’t if yu put a boy in pink yu embarrass him?”