Blogger Claude Mills writes, "In Jamaica, there are two laws, some say, one for the rich, the other for the poor." Two laws and two recent high-profile, gay-related deaths have crystallized that adage. (1) The perfunctory trial of Dwight Hayden, who plead guilty to the brutal 2004 murder of gay rights activist Brian Williamson and (2) the equally brutal death of Peter King, above right. If you haven't heard of the case, that's because many Jamaicans are calling the investigation a cover-up.
A $500,000 reward has just been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer(s) of the prominent statesman. The facts: On March 20 2006, the former trade ambassador's nude body was found "in his bedroom with throat slashed and multiple stab wounds to the chest." Reports also said that "two young men whom it is believed slept over at the house were questioned by detectives", but were not charged. The case certainly has all the trappings of hook-up or sex date gone wrong.
Since then, disturbing yet conflicting allegations have arisen. Allegedly detectives found numerous videotapes at the premises and "some of the tapes contain sexually explicit scenes. Persons were "identified." But authorities have refused to confirm or deny the existence of the tapes, leading to rampant speculation. Some reports have said that underage boys were caught on tape. The latest from the rumor mill has it that a number of reggae and dancehall performers were identified, which, if true would be the height of irony in a nation where those performers routinely sing about killing "batty bwoys."
So why the astronomically high reward? The press release is replete with hypocrisy: "We are not helping because the Ambassador was famous. Our efforts are done purely to help create a secure environment for all Jamaicans, gay, straight, and the in betweens."
"I've travelled across the world from Zimbabwe to Jamaica," Keith B essayed in December. "And I've never seen more open expressions of homophobia than I have in Jamaica." Just last month, the editors of Time agreed, asking, is Jamaica "The Most Homophobic Place on Earth?"
Which is why we doubt the sincerity of the anonymous-yet-wealthy good Samaritans. If they were honest, similar bounties would have been offered for the killers of Brian Williamson or gay AIDS activist Steve Harvey. The $500,000 question: What exactly is at stake here? If the trade-ambassador-gone-wild tape does exist and underage boys were involved, are the parents too afraid to come forward because of Jamaica's rampant homophobia? Or, did Kingston's gay elite recruit their trade from the dancehalls and performers want to keep this quiet? Also possible: Was there official involvement?
So many questions and, two months later, not a single answer.
A Cover-up in the ‘Peter King Murder Saga’? (Claude Mills)
A Reward is Being Offered (eMediaWire)
Artistes Disgusted About 'Sex Tapes' (Jamaica Star)
Investigations Into Murders Stalled (Radio Jamaica)
Police Question Persons on Peter King Sex Tapes (Jamaica Gleaner)
Previously:Jamaica Index (Rod 2.0) Jamaican Gays Fight Back (Keith Boykin) Another Trial, More Gay Violence Allegations (Blabbeando) Jamaican AIDS Activist Murdered (Blabbeando)