Garth John murdered


Another member of our community, a legal professional and resident of Curepe, has died violently, stabbed to death repeatedly in his home by three assailants who then stole his car Wednesday night. We have no confirmation, but his meeting with one or more of the assailants is being widely rumoured as having been initiated on A4A.

Our condolences go out to all of his loved ones. Those we spoke with this evening remembered his generosity, self-acceptance, involvement in his neighbourhood, and passion for interior design.

The murder comes on the heels of those of Nirel Parks and Oral Brathwaite, and in the middle of an ongoing spate of internet dating-initiated violence and blackmail of community members, perpetrated in part by a ring of gay and non-gay assailants who are out on bail for one of these offences.

It’s beyond time to take stronger community action to prevent and address such violence, many community members are saying. Calls are also being raised about how we partner more effectively with victims’ families to fight together for justice and strengthen community commitment to safety. And about the need for our communities to undertake stronger partnership and advocacy with law enforcement on violence against us.

Look out for some action steps and community activities from CAISO and others soon. And tell us what YOU think our community and organizers should be doing.

Tell us as well how we can make the safety tips we posted on here two months ago more meaningful for you and those you know. Those tips have been visited by our readers fewer than 20 just about 35 times, as compared to our entries on murders and violence, which you have read over 700 1,200 times. Dating-related violence, though not the only form of violence targeting our community, appears to be the most common. And it is also a form of violence where our own prevention efforts can achieve significant success.

Recent murders & attacks

Garth John, September 2009

Kolen Salandy & Rondell Thomas?, September 2009

27-year-old man on Cap-de-Ville Rd., Guapo, July 2009

“Rice”, July 2009

Dave Holder, May 2009

Oral Brathwaite, March 2009

Kendall “Bago” Nash, August 2008

Trevor Alexander, August 2008

Wendell Taylor, June 2008
(killed picking a fight with a gay man)

Lester Baptiste, April 2008

Diedre-Ann Layne, March 2008

Lester “Rampel” Diaz, December 2007

Allister “Big Joe” Joseph, December 2007

Sean Christopher Taylor, August 2006

Sean Luke, March 2006

Elias Thomas, February 2004

Christopher Rollock, January 2002

Frederick Wiltshire, March 2001

Do you have any updates or additional information in any of these cases?

Are there other people YOU know who’ve lost their lives or been injured because of sex or prejudice?

Nirel Parks: another loss; another call to keep each other safe


Last weekend, a well-known and -liked member of our community was murdered brutally in the relative’s La Horquetta house where he was staying. In what many in the community feel certain was a pickup crime, 25-year-old Derek Nirel Parks, an army private from D’Abadie, was stabbed to death and his vehicle stolen early Saturday morning July 11th. One media report described stab wounds to the “head, chest, stomach and groin” and that “the murder weapon remained remained lodged in” his stomach when he was found. Friends report he was stabbed close to 50 times.

Major news media covered the murder over the weekend, and since then the funeral, but only one report seems to have raised these suspicions as to the motive.

Nonetheless, the murder has raised the concern of many about an apparent rise in date-related violence in the gay community, and a number of Nirel’s friends have expressed shock at how close his murder brings this home. In March, 47-year-old Oral Brathwaite, a Petrotrin employee and father of four from Claxton Bay was beaten and stabbed to death in his underwear while fleeing a man he had picked up and was driving through Penal. Anderson Gould, a person known to members of the community, has been charged.

Friends reflected last week on Nirel’s and other community members’ sexual risktaking. Some remembered him at the Celebration Pride party on July 4th, and that he was planning to attend the Elements fete last weekend. Among the fond memories was the following one from a young friend, M.:

It is with great sadness that I have to comment on the relationship I had with Nirel. From day one he had always been charismatic, bubbly, full of life, hilarious and a swanky dresser. An excellent chef, I would never forget the curry goat he had me try (mind you at that time I only did chicken). But it was the best curry goat I ever had, instantly making me change my perception on trying new foods.

We partied, we limed, we shit-talked (which he was famous for), but most of all we laughed. He was really a live-wire, and to me a genuine person that just loved life. I will never forget you Nirel: RIP.