Gay Rights Activist Stabbed to Death
Cops Say No Sign of Break-in at Gay Rights
Observer, June 10, 2004
2 Fagan Ave., Kingston 8, Jamaica
Brian Williamson, Jamaica’s most prominent gay rights
activist, was yesterday found stabbed to death at his Haughton Avenue
residence in Kingston.
Police said they were searching for two men who were with
him at his apartment prior to his death.
“At this time the police are theorising robbery to be
the motive as a money safe he had is missing and the apartment was
ransacked,” said Corporal Devon Hugh Williams of the Constabulary
Communication Network (CCN). “(But we have) a strong lead that there were
two men at the apartment earlier in the morning.”
But the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays
(J-FLAG), a group which Williamson founded, yesterday branded the killing a
Williamson, the group said, was “one of Jamaica’s
most courageous human rights activists” who had been killed because he was a
highly visible homosexual.
Jamaica has an international reputation for being highly
intolerant of homosexuals and has, in the past, fallen under pressure from the
international community, especially Britain. Some local artistes have been
banned from performing in other countries because of their strong
Williamson’s body was found lying face down in a pool
of blood on his bedroom floor. There were multiple stab wounds on his neck.
There were no signs of forced entry to his room, one of
three to the rear of the building that also has eight suites that the slain
man had rented to commercial entities, the cops said.
Desmond Chambers, one of two men with whom Williamson
shared the three bedrooms, said he stumbled upon the body at about 11:15 am.
Chambers does maintenance work around the property. He had returned home to
get a key, he said, when he noticed that the air-conditioning system was
running, an unusual thing for Williamson to do when he leaves home. The door,
Chambers said, was ajar.
“I knocked and (pushed) the door and I saw him on the
floor,” he added.
He pointed the finger at the two men whom the cops are
According to Chambers, one of the men was a regular guest
of the deceased.
“I have seen him here about six times (and) anything
him want, Brian give him. Brian give him money, Brian give him food and help
him to purchase (newspaper) to sell on the road,” he fumed.
Though buggery is illegal in Jamaica, Williamson was
openly gay. He was very vocal on gay rights issues, penning many letters to
the editors of newspapers, speaking on local radio talk shows and appearing at
least once on a television programme.
Yesterday, his horrific murder had tongues wagging.
The blood-splattered floor of his room was just as
shocking as the huge picture of a naked male affixed to the door of his room.
A television set lay face down on his ransacked bed,
while bottles of beer and other beverages lined makeshift shelves on the wall
which also housed boxes labelled “gay reading material”.
Letters were spilled all over a broken down computer
workstation and his black computer, the colour of most of the furniture in the
room, was still on. It appeared he had checked his e-mail minutes before he
Outside the building a huge crowd gathered, among them a
handful of Williamson’s close friends who were obviously grief-stricken.
Traffic slowed along Haughton Avenue as motorists stopped
His sister Gradryn Williams, who was accompanied to the
scene by Father Michael Lewis of the Stella Maris Church, cried openly.
“What have they done to Brian?” she asked tearfully.
Friends convinced her not to look at her brother’s
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