Letters — 23 May 2014 — by Dr. Bernard Bulwer

Dear Editor,

I have a lot on my plate, but I feel compelled to press “pause” and issue a brief comment on Professor Brendan Bain and the recent events. There are many things I would like to say, but for now, I will let this editorial below and two additional links speak.

I must say a personal word about Professor Bain: Dr. Bain taught me and an entire generation of doctors at UWI. I last met Dr. Bain when he visited Belize a few years ago. He is among the very top in my list of the finest human beings ever to walk on this planet, and one of the most caring, conscientious, and humblest of human beings I have ever met. This is an overused statement, but to me, the label of a person “without an ounce of hate” towards anyone, applies especially to Brendan Bain.

During my time at UWI, when patients with AIDS were being stigmatized and discriminated against (at the University Hospital of the West Indies), Dr. Bain led the effort to rescue and give hope to those infected with HIV and afflicted with AIDS, which at the time were mainly MSM. He personally mentored myself and my colleagues about this.

Neither in public or in private have I ever heard Brendan calling for any one’s head. To the contrary, Brendan not only issued lip service of support, but he was there, getting down in the trenches like the Good Samaritan, taking personal risk to his own health. This was the time during which there was the fear even of going into a room of patients with AIDS.

To me, it is a very sad day when this very Professor Bain who gave his life … and life-giving therapies and programs that especially benefit some of the very people who have called for his head, is now so publicly vilified.

To my knowledge, Dr Bain has not been given the opportunity to defend himself of what he has now been accused. Dr. Bain is a man of faith, a practicing disciple of Christ, who like the Good Samaritan, did not look the other way or walk on the other side. Dr. Bain walked the walk.

I believe even now, in his heart, Brendan is saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Hold strong, Brother Bain. If only they knew. What you prescribed and stood for was not hate … is not hate, and will never be hate. What you DID and administered was life and hope, even to some who now crucify you. And I know what you would say to me; it would go something like this, “Bernard, I would to it all over again, even if it came to this.”

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20140521/lead/lead1.html
UWI Boots Bain – Medical Group Disappointed With Professor’s Termination
National AIDS Committee has no problems with Prof Bain
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/National-AIDS-Committee-has-no-problems-with-Prof-Bain
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/The-sacking-of-Dr-Brendon-Bain—The-dilemma-of-our-times_16716174

Editorial
The sacking of Dr Brendon Bain: The dilemma of our times

JAMAICA, Thurs. May 22, 2014 (Jamaica Observer)

BAIN… gave expert testimony in Belize case

The latest example of how we self-destruct as a nation comes in this week’s firing of Professor Brendan Bain as director of the Regional Co-ordinating Unit of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training (CHART) Network, by the University of the West Indies (UWI). Dr. Bain lost his job following news reports that a coalition of 33 lobby groups from across the Caribbean had called for his head because of expert testimony he gave in a constitutional challenge brought by a gay Belizean man against that country’s criminal code in September 2010.

Dr. Bain, regarded as a pioneer in clinical infectious disease practice in the Caribbean and a leading medical authority on the HIV epidemic in the region, has developed a formidable reputation for caring and devoted service to the HIV/AIDs community but that could not save him because he has an opinion against homosexuality.

And that’s the bane of our existence, if readers will forgive the unintended pun.

Just before that it was the turn of Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell, who was hounded out of the 381-megawatt power plant project, to suit certain interest groups, without any solid explanation as to what is being done now to get the project back on track. We’re good, really good at dismantling but not so at building.

In capitulating to the pro-gay interest groups, the University of the West Indies — we have no doubt — would have considered the various agendas of its donors, many of whom have serious financial clout and are very favorable to the gay community. But the decision has left the university on the horns of a dilemma.

Must all its officers now subscribe wholly to the lifestyle of the various communities they serve? Was it in Dr. Bain’s job description, as well as that of the other academics at the UWI, that he must hold no public opinion against homosexuality? How far must the university go in censoring and muzzling its academics to suit interest groups? Is this the end of scientific freedom and freedom of expression in the academic community?

Of course, the decision would also have confirmed what many people have long held, that homosexuals have strong influence in the running of the university and have firmly ensconced themselves in the human rights lobby.

We have been consistently circumspect in this editorial space where the gay lifestyle is concerned, promoting tolerance about people’s right to their lifestyle if it does no harm to other citizens. But we admit to growing unease that the gay community is not as tolerant as they want others to be of them.

If action speaks louder than words, Dr. Bain’s hard work to better the life of HIV/AIDS sufferers should have outweighed his personal opinion against homosexuality. A surgeon may be publicly against murder but that should not stop him from saving a murderer’s life in his professional capacity. And who is to say that all HIV/AIDS sufferers are men who have sex with men (MSMs)? Who is speaking for those who are not gay?

We should be free to admit that not all MSMs are promiscuous, wild and careless about sex. But there are some who are, and this makes Dr. Bain’s pronouncement about the spread of HIV/AIDS among MSMs something to be taken seriously.

Dr. Bernard Bulwer

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