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Jamaican homo-bigot charged with hate attack

As I’ve said before, gay rights struggles are tough here, but in Jamaica, it’s so much worse. The violence against gays and lesbians is out of control, ignored by the government, encouraged by some musicians. One singer decided to act on his hate lyrics. (

Buju Banton, one of Jamaica’s most famous singers, has been charged with assault in connection with a vicious attack on six gay men. Police allege that Banton was one of about a dozen armed men who forced their way into a house in Kingston last year and beat up the occupants while shouting homophobic insults. Several people were taken to the hospital following the attack.

Banton, whose song Boom Boom Bye Bye threatens gay men with a “gunshot in ah head”, was identified by several witnesses. He will appear in court on Friday to answer the charges. In the meantime Baton is out on bail.

This trial is test case on whether gay people can get justice in Jamaica,” said Brett Lock of the UK-based gay human rights group OutRage, which has spearheaded an international campaign against homophobia by reggae singers. “Some Jamaicans fear that Mr Banton’s celebrity and the strongly homophobic attitudes that exist in Jamaica will deny justice to the victims of what was a horrific homophobic assault,” said Lock.

Gay sex is illegal in Jamaica, punishable by jail, with the possibility of hard labor.

Last year, a concert in London by Beenie Man, another Jamaican singer who calls for beating and killing gays, was cancelled. One of Beenie Man’s songs contains the lyrics: “I’m a dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding