The University of the West Indies (UWI) fired top medical professor Brendan Bain after testimony he gave riled gay and human rights activists.
Bain, who was the director of the Regional Coordinating Unit of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Network, after the groups called for his firing because of ‘expert’ testimony he gave in a case brought by Caleb Orozco, a gay Belizean man against his country’s criminal code against homosexuality in September 2010.
Here’s an excerpt from the statement issued by the University of the West Indies:
The issue in question arose about two years ago 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). Professor Brendan Bain provided a Statement on behalf of a group of churches seeking to retain the 1861 Law. Many authorities familiar with the Brief presented believe that Professor 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 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. It is for this reason that the University of the West Indies has decided to terminate the contract of Professor Bain as Director of the Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU) of the Caribbean HIV/Training (CHART) Network.
Judging from the comments on the Jamaica Observer’s article, many people are siding with Professor Bain and crying foul over his termination.