No Files on Anti-Gay Violence
The Jamaican Ministry of National Security responded last week to an Access to Information request I filed in October, for any records related to violence against gay Jamaicans. This ministry oversees the Jamaican Constabulary Force, the agency responsible for investigating crimes, including assaults and murders, but not a single record was located in the ministry's archive responsive to my request.
I believe this absence of records on anti-gay violence in Jamaica would be comparable to the U.S. Department of Justice, which includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation, saying it had no files on hate crimes against gay Americans.
Pretty far-fetched to believe the ministry for crime and security across the island nation, but in a weird way, it makes sense. If you don't keep records on violence against gay Jamaicans, for whatever lame reason, there then are no stats to help understand and deal with the problem.
This letter came last week and is an indication of just how far Jamaica has to go in terms of acknowledging, tracking and preventing attacks on gay people:
In response to your request for information on violence against Gays, I am directed to inform you that The Ministry has conducted an extensive search and has not found any information to satisfy your request.
The Police have also confirmed that when statements are taken it is done impartially. As such, religion, sexual orientation or other factors that would prejudice a case is not required in the statement unless it is voluntarily stated by the person giving the statement.
Consequently, we regret to inform you that there is no record of information detailing violence against anyone as a result of that individual being a gay in this Ministry.
The letter was signed by Ms. Claudette McPherson, the ministry's staff officer for all ATI requests.