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Statement from Dr Shane Alexis, President, Medical Association of Jamaica
May 19, 2014 – Kingston, Jamaica: The Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) is against discrimination in all its forms. Reports printed in both the Daily Observer and The Sunday Gleaner of May 18th 2014 on alleged "antigay comments" attributed to Professor Brendan Bain were noted by the MAJ. The articles stated that Professor Bain's position in the leadership of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training Programme (CHART) is now the subject of review by a committee of the University of the West Indies (UWI). It was reported that this review is as a result of his court testimony in Belize.
The MAJ and its members are committed to improving the health of all members of society. That includes health related strategies of prevention, education and effective intervention to improve the health of our community. Our training and expertise are in science and scientific research. The veracity of a scientific conclusion should only be challenged on the basis of science and NOT on emotion or sentiment its conclusions may evoke. Statements of fact are never meant to be offensive.
In both newspapers, Professor Bain was identified as an expert to the Court in Belize. His expert opinion was sought by the Court in regard to a challenge of a law in that country. As an expert witness, his testimony to the court is a duty to the Court, and, is the opinion of the expert himself. He is therefore obliged to discharge his testimony truthfully and professionally.
Many Doctors are asked to give expert testimony to the Courts, both locally and internationally, on a variety of areas. We sincerely hope that our responsibility under the law to the court is not under any form of attack.
We respect the rights and opinions of all groups and individuals in our society, and hope that in turn the same respect will be afforded to us in our the professional discharge of our duties.
The MAJ has publicly recognized the significant contribution to Medicine that Professor Bain has made. His pioneering work in Jamaica and the Region on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of HIV/AIDS since 1983 has been to the benefit of many doctors, thousands of patients and their families irrespective of their affiliation and status. In his early work on HIV/AIDS when the stigma of the illness was at its strongest, Professor Bain helped us all to better understand the illness and to help the most vulnerable who were infected.
We are closely watching the developments at the University of the West Indies. We expect that the principles of due process and transparency will be followed to arrive at a conclusion.
Dr Shane AlexisPRESIDENT