CCJ Rules Against Gay Jamaican Activist on His Challenge of Belize’s Immigration Laws

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Updated: June 10, 2016

The Caribbean Court of Justice has dismissed the case brought by Jamaican activist, Maurice Tomlinson. Tomlinson was challenging Belize’s immigration laws, claiming the law discriminated against him, being a homosexual man. Tomlinson had challenged the Immigration law of Belize stating that it was discriminatory and that it had violated the rights of LGBT persons that live in the Caribbean to move freely within the CARICOM region. Tomlinson had to seek to be heard as in individual in the case because his home country Jamaica had refused to bring the claim on his behalf. This morning the thirteen minute ruling from the Caribbean Court of Justice was delivered. Solicitor General, Nigel Hawke spoke to the media following the ruling.

The Court concluded that homosexual CARICOM nationals have a right to freedom of movement essentially on the same terms as any other CARICOM national and that the State practice of both Belize and Trinidad and Tobago is in keeping with that right. Attorney Lisa Shoman spoke of Tomlinson’s argument in the case, which he based on Under Article 45 of the Revised Treaty on the Chaguaramas which says “Member States commit themselves to the goal of free movement of their nationals within the Community.”

The court did not penalize Tomlinson due to the fact that it is a critical and important point of law. Belize had filled for Tomlinson to pay the court cost but that was denied. Tomlinson released a statement via social media saying “The Caribbean Court of Justice denied my application for a declaration that the laws of Belize and Trinidad & Tobago, which ban the entry of homosexuals, violate my right to free movement in CARICOM. However, the court made it clear that as a homosexual I must be allowed the right of entry into both countries AND that the states should act to repeal the laws which create confusion for CARICOM travel. This provides some clarity for Caribbean LGBTI people. As a result of the novel nature of the case the court denied Belize’s application for me to pay their legal costs. So, all in all I am ok. There is no possibility of appealing the judgment so it is now time for the states to act.” End of Quote.