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UWI terminates professor's contract following testimony in gay sex case
Published on May 22, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Caribbean News Now contributor

KINGSTON, Jamaica -- The University of the West Indies (UWI) has terminated the contract of Professor Brendan Bain as director of the Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU) of the Caribbean HIV/Training (CHART) Network following his expert testimony in a high-profile case in Belize in which Caleb Orozco, a gay man in Belize, challenged the constitutionality of an 1861 law that criminalises men having sex with men (MSM).

Bain provided a statement on behalf of a group of churches seeking to retain the 1861 law. According to a press statement by the UWI on Wednesday, many authorities familiar with the brief presented believe that Bain’s testimony supported arguments for retention of the law, thereby contributing to the continued criminalisation and stigmatisation of MSM. This opinion is shared by the lesbian, gay and other groups who are served by CHART, the UWI said.

The majority of HIV and public health experts believe that criminalising men having sex with men and discriminating against them violates their human rights, puts them at even higher risk, reduces their access to services, forces the HIV epidemic underground thereby increasing the HIV risk. These are the positions advocated by the UN, UNAIDS, WHO, PAHO, the international human rights communities and PANCAP (The Pan Caribbean Partnership against AIDS) which is the organisation leading the regional response to the HIV epidemic.

“While the University recognises the right of Professor Bain to provide expert testimony in the manner he did, it has become increasingly evident that Professor Bain has lost the confidence and support of a significant sector of the community which the CHART programme is expected to reach, including the loss of his leadership status in PANCAP, thereby undermining the ability of this programme to effectively deliver on its mandate,” the UWI said.

It is for this reason that the UWI said it had decided to terminate Bain’s contract as director of the Regional Coordinating Unit of the CHART Network.

Bain is a retired member of staff of the UWI, who has had a distinguished career primarily in the field of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean. In June 2001, the CARICOM Secretariat proposed the creation of a CHART Centre and two years later the CHART Network was established “for the purpose of contributing to systematic capacity development among institutional and community-based healthcare workers involved in prevention of HIV/AIDS and in care, treatment and support of persons living with HIV and AIDS”.

Bain has been the Director of CHART since its inception and after his retirement from The UWI in 2013 he was given a two-year post-retirement contract to continue in his role as director. CHART is not a department of the UWI but a regional project managed by the University under a contract funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Fund and a group of US agencies, to train health workers dealing with patients and communities affected by HIV/AIDS.

The UWI said it sees its role as providing higher education and increasing capacity of the human resources of the region it serves, conducting and publishing research and helping to guide public policy on issues relevant to social and economic development. The academic community plays a pivotal role in carrying out the University’s mandate and is encouraged to engage in public dialogue on matters of national and regional import. The UWI therefore affirmed the right of academics to communicate their views based on their work and expertise and in so doing to render public service.
 
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Comments:

leslie Charles:

GBLT is a foreign AGENDA item which is being imposed on the Caribbean and other poor countries and minority races. We are being forced to support this agenda by the promoters associating aid with acceptance of the GBLT. If the UWI which is our premiere Caribbean Educational Institution is taking such a position I feel very sad for the youth and future generations of the Caribbean.

Reader:

"There is no gay agenda. There is a human rights agenda, which seeks to ensure that all Caribbean citizens are treated with respect and dignity."

- Dr Ernest Massiah, UNAIDS Caribbean Regional Support Team Director
http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Commentary%3A-HIV-in-the-Caribbean%3A-Science%2C-rights-and-justice-21334.html


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