Letters to the Editor
Do the honourable thing, UWI!
Wednesday, June 04, 2014 1 comment
The moment there is suspicion about a person’s motives everything he does become tainted. — Mohandas Gandhi
It is very clear to me that the University of the West Indies has erred in its judgement to fire Professor Brendan Bain. It is quite interesting that Prof Bain’s performance in his capacity as director of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Resources Training Network was never before questioned.
The irony of this situation is that the University of the West Indies should be an entity which embraces diversity of views, but based on this particular situation it could be understood that the university is clearly stating that some views are more acceptable than others. It raises the question whether the University of the West Indies is pushing J-FLAG’s agenda.
It would be understandable if the university had fired Prof Bain for a breach of his fiduciary duties or for poor performance in his capacity as director, but how ridiculous it is that Prof Bain was fired because he opined his views in adjudication proceedings — in which opinions are acceptable.
Section 22 of the Jamaican Constitution states that no person should be hindered in the enjoyment of freedom of expression, except with his own consent. This simply means that Prof Bain, Jack Tom and Mary Lee have a right to express themselves. Based on the action of the university it can be understood this is a clear indication of groups having devious ulterior motives influencing the administration at the seat of higher learning.
It is noteworthy from a legal perspective Prof Bain’s opinion is in perfected sync with Jamaican law.
I am humbly asking the University of the West Indies to do the honourable thing and and reverse their actions by rehiring Prof Bain.
University of the West Indies, Mona Campus
Resist the insidious threat that caused Bain’s dismissal
Wednesday, June 04, 2014 3 Comments
The expert testimony given by Professor Bain, a well-respected expert in infectious diseases, was based on scientific evidence which is independently verifiable by anyone. He did not distort any facts nor did he misrepresent the truth; he did not even make a recommendation. Therefore, a conflict of interest in his continued capacity as director of CHART can only arise if that organisation’s stated mission was compromised by his factual testimony. This is clearly not the case.
Apparently the scientific evidence presented by Professor Bain is an inconvenient truth, a spoiler to the hidden agenda of those asking for his dismissal. We keep hearing that public health experts want buggery decriminalised because it will allow more people to come out of hiding and get tested. However, there is no empirical data to support this assertion. Why then the push to decriminalise buggery? Is there a hidden agenda here?
It is extremely unfortunate and sad that someone who has given such distinguished and exemplary service to the UWI for decades and has taught numerous generations of medical students with distinction, myself included, has had his reputation sullied by this gratuitous controversy in his twilight years by the very institution he has served so loyally. Those who know Professor Bain well would describe him as a gentle giant, even-tempered in tone and non-judgemental, the very qualities which have made him so effective in caring for persons with HIV/AIDS and leading CHART.
I recently attended the funeral service of the late Professor Norman Girvan and learnt that among his many writings he warned about a second wave of colonisation, not in terms of acquisition of our land mass by the powerful North, but in terms of them wanting to influence our socio-cultural environment by way of conditionalities attached to funds given to developing countries. Some funding agencies are hell-bent on changing Caribbean culture to align it with their own unnatural way of life. Caribbean peoples must recognise and resist this insidious threat and must insist that they be allowed to chart their own course and way of life. This may necessitate jettisoning foreign aid in some instances and toughing it out so as to maintain our collective identity and integrity.
We also need to beware of intellectuals who espouse a way of life under the cover of soft science and warped ethics that is foreign to Caribbean peoples and inimical to our culture and identity. Just because a practice has been adopted by our northern neighbours does not mean that it is a good fit for us. For example, the repeal of the buggery law, however well-intentioned it may be, would open a Pandora’s box of unintended consequences such as gay marriage and adoption of children by openly gay couples, practices that would fundamentally change the very nature of Caribbean identity and culture.
Indeed, this I believe is the hidden agenda of those calling for Professor Bain’s dismissal. The UWI with its present stance appears to have genuflected to spurious arguments masquerading as sound public health policy. That the UWI has treated one of its renowned public health practitioners, a distinguished and loyal member of its own academy, in this fashion is cause for grave concern. This is a clear sign of our times
Lecturer in Surgery (Urology)
Supervisor DM Urology Prog