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Oct 29, 2014

CARICOM Joins Gay Activist Maurice Tomlinson In Suit Against Belize & Trinidad

On May ninth, the Caribbean Court of Justice handed down a decision on behalf of gay activist Maurice Tomlinson, allowing for special leave to challenge the immigration laws of Belize and Trinidad and Tobago.  The CCJ ruling succeeded legal proceedings commenced in July 2013 in which Tomlinson claims that the present laws are injurious towards prohibited classes which include members of the LGBT community.  The news tonight is that CARICOM is joining the case as an interested party and will be making submissions to bolster Tomlinson’s argument.  Tomlinson, who has refrained from returning to either country, spoke with News Five via Skype from Toronto earlier today and he says that they are awaiting an upcoming decision from the CCJ.

 

Maurice Tomlinson, Gay Activist (Via Skype)

“The governments of Belize and Trinidad have been asked to respond to an application I made before the Caribbean Court of Justice which was brought on my behalf by AIDS Free World, the organization I work for, to decide whether the law which bans my entry into Belize and Trinidad is valid under the rules of CARICOM Single Market [and Economy].  The CCJ which has oversight over the Caribbean Single Market [and Economy] and the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas has recently been petitioned by CARICOM itself.  They have applied to join the suit as in the capacity of what is called a watching brief.  So they want to make some written and oral submissions in the case and the court has not yet decided whether they’ll grant them permission or when the matter will actually come on for hearing.  So we are in that inter regnum, we are in between the last hearing and waiting for the next hearing.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Would CARICOM’s joining of this particular case be in or against your favor?”

 

Maurice Tomlinson (Via Skype)

Maurice Tomlinson

“Well based on what they have said they wish to argue, I think personally, they are arguing or going to be making presentations which will support my claim.  For example, they have said that the law which bans my entry is a law which I have to uphold.  One of the arguments which the governments of Belize and Trinidad have made is that since the law is not really being enforced I can more or less ignore it, and CARICOM is saying no, the fact that you have a law on the books means that I am obliged as a member of CARICOM to respect all the laws of all the states of CARICOM.  The CARICOM Secretariat is also arguing that the court must interpret the local law in line with the international obligations under the treaty.  Another argument which the states were saying is that basically CARICOM doesn’t need to get involved with this law because it’s a domestic matter, it doesn’t concern, you know, the treaty.  But it does concern the treaty because it deals with the right to free movement of non-nationals.  And finally, the CARICOM Secretariat is arguing that all the states in CARICOM must treat all the nationals of CARICOM the same.  You can’t, for example, ban gays from Jamaica but not ban gays who are Belizeans from entering Belize.  If we have one single market then that means we treat everybody the same.  So we either start banning Trinidadians and Belizeans who are gay from entering their own country or you remove the law which prevents me as a Jamaican from entering Belize and Trinidad.  I personally think it’s a good thing that they are joining and I’m sure the court will be very interested in what they have to say.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“If the Caribbean Court of Justice rules in your favor would this then mean that the governments of both countries, Belize and Trinidad & Tobago, would have to amend their existing immigration laws to allow for this particular free movement, if I may?”

 

Maurice Tomlinson (Via Skype)

“That is certainly one of the possible outcomes, you know.  The court has exclusive jurisdiction in determining what decision it wants to render.  I can’t prejudge that but I certainly would expect personally that the courts would find that these laws, which really have no place in a modern democracy, should be struck down and or rendered inoperative and I fully expect that that would be the decision but again I can’t prejudge what the court will say.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Going a bit further, if the court does rule in your favor would this particular ruling and the consequences of this ruling apply across all CARICOM nations?”

 

Maurice Tomlinson (Via Skype)

“It certainly would.  That is sometime I expect and this is why CARICOM has gotten in this matter because as it said in its submission to be admitted as a watching brief, it has said that this matter concerns the entire single market and economy and the operations of CARICOM and it’s therefore gays from Guyana, gays from Barbados et cetera should also have the same rights of entry into Belize and Trinidad that I am seeking as a Jamaican.”

 

Tomlinson has said in the past that the final decision by the Caribbean Court of Justice may have a bearing on the UNIBAM Challenge which is still before the Supreme Court.

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8 Responses for “CARICOM Joins Gay Activist Maurice Tomlinson In Suit Against Belize & Trinidad”

  1. Avery says:

    No outside force should have any say about the laws of a sovereign country. This is a remnant of colonialism. The people of Belize should stand up as the sovereign citizens they are and reject the authority of the Caribbean Court of Justice. The only courts that should matter are the courts of Belize.

    This is something Belize needs to do if it will ever be respected as a real nation! This is more than a matter of national pride. It is a necessity of the recognition of the right to the people of Belize of having control over their own lives. No country can be truly be Democratic when outside forces – not loyal to Belize – can change the laws of Belize. This is the law of Belize. For anyone outside to make you change this law – that makes you as good as slaves!

  2. Avery says:

    “The CARICOM Secretariat is also arguing that the court must interpret the local law in line with the international obligations under the treaty. ” So, you can choose how to live just as far as the chain of CARICOM allows you to. Spoken like a true slave master.

    One really doesn’t live in a Democracy if outside forces can tell them how far they can go. Even with a “long chain” the very fact they can tell you to “Stop” means you aren’t sovereign. What if owned a bunch of land but someone said there’s a part of the land you can’t go on. Then you really don’t own the land do you?

    Is this really worth whatever benefits you may receive? It doesn’t matter the issue. What matters is someone outside your country, someone outside your elected officials is not allowing you to do something.

    To support CARICOM is to support slavery. It is to support a neo-colonist attitude that will not have the interests of Belize first and foremost in regard. What if Belize prospers better than other countries in CARICOM. Would the other countries in CARICOM allow that. Again, yes, you can prosper but as far as CARICOM allows you. Go too far and you will feel that tug on the chains CARICOM has placed on you.

    The best thing to do would be to become an associate member of CARICOM if you want some of the “happy face” aspects of it but reject outright the control of the Caribbean court on the lives of the people of Belize. That’s what a free people have done. CARICOM may promise Prosperity (whether they deliver on that promise is another issue entirely) but that’s just like the slave owner saying slaves should appreciate that the owners provide them with something to eat and a roof under them. FREEDOM is something that people have fought and died for regardless of what it might cost them. Freedom is worth more than any prosperity CARICOM can promise and even further more than any promise it can deliver on. FREEDOM is what CARICOM denies the people of Belize and it’s the principle of Sovereignty that the people of Belize should stand behind in the rejection of the intrusion of the so called Caribbean Court of Justice.

    After all, you don’t pledge allegiance to CARICOM. Children don’t recite their loyalty to CARICOM in their morning rituals do they? They pledge their totally loyalty to Belize.

  3. Avery says:

    What if Haiti gets infected with Ebola. Could CARICOM prevent Belize from taking the necessary steps of banning people from Haiti into Belize?

    Well, I guess CARICOM can basically override any decision of any Belize Authority. You are not really free, you are not really sovereign if anyone outside your country can overrule any decision made by those duly elected by your citizens.

    No, that’s not Democracy – that’s colonialism. That’s having the Master allowing a slave to have some authority as long as in the end the Master gets the final say.

  4. Avery says:

    What would happen if another county, say Guatemala or an alliance of countries came onto Belize soil with their armies, aircraft and such, went to your Parliament, imprisoned them, and told your PM that all laws must be approved by someone from the government of the conquer.

    You would understandably take up arms and do all you can to repel the foreign usurpers regardless of what it cost. Right?

    CARICOM is much more subtle than a full scale invasion but in the end the effect remains the same. The issue isn’t gay rights. No it is far more important. It is about the very sovereignty of your country.

    It is like what was said in the movie “Braveheart”. You can take our homes, you can take our lives, but you can not take our freedom. Well, they can take your freedom, if you give it away to them. CARICOM may come on as soft but don’t mistake what they will be getting if they force any change upon your laws!

    Is it different than what the Lords in Scotland demanded of their serfs. You can have sex with your wife as long as I can have it first. Yes, you can make your own laws, but only if it’s in line with what CARICOM says you can do. It reminds me of what American industrialist Henry Ford said about his automobile. You can have any colour of the car he made that you want – as long as that colour was Black. Yeah, if you wanted a black car to begin with, I guess you get your “choice” but otherwise you have a problem.

    So, yeah, you can have as much autonomy as you want in making your laws AS LONG as you don’t make a law that CARICOM doesn’t what you to make. Of course Ford wasn’t offering people a choice, nor is CARICOM giving Belize autonomy.

    There’s nothing more important in life that Sovereignty. A real Democracy is where laws are made by the representatives of the people, and not vetoed hundreds of miles away by those whose primary interests aren’t solely upon that Democracy. That’s what the colonialists did right? You could make any law you liked as long as it didn’t conflict with the interests of the colonialists?

    “The CARICOM Secretariat is also arguing that the court must interpret the local law in line with the international obligations under the treaty. ” Those should be fighting words. People should be in the streets demanding Belize’s withdraw from CARICOM. But of course this far more subtle than a full scale invasion. If this message was sent with planes and ships there would be no question what needs to be done. Any treaty that takes away the sovereignty of the people of Belize needs to be renounced immediately. Any treaty that takes away the freedom of the people of Belize to decide their own destiny through their elected officials is an abomination.

  5. Avery says:

    Are you telling me that your Prime Minister, your elected officials, all of them are slaves to the dictates of the CARICOM Secretariat. Are you telling me that Belize is a nation of slaves to an international body like CARICOM who isn’t made up of people elected by the people of Belize to serve the best interests of the people of Belize?

    The Caribbean Court of Justice why have you given up your sovereignty by giving them authority over this or any other matter?

    Belize, it’s people, it is strong enough to break free of this neo-colonialism and to fight for what’s in the best interests of the people of Belize. People should be in the streets demanding that their leaders act like leaders and not serfs to a lord. CARICOM is evil because CARICOM denies the people of Belize their freedom. And denying a sovereign society it’s freedom is an evil that people have given their lives to fight.

    CARICOM promises a lot, delivers little, but even if delivered upon its promises, would all the supposed wealth, all the supposed prosperity be worth giving up this so fundamental of human needs. The need to not be slaves even be it a house slave who lives in relative comfort. The need to be free.

    And this is assuming that Belize can’t be successful without CARICOM which I would say isn’t true. In fact I could see the other CARICOM countries gaining up together to hold Belize back if it tries to become more prosperous than other CARICOM nations.

  6. Laura Martinez says:

    Good luck to Mr. Tomlinson. There is no reason our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters should be barred from entering Belize. It is an archaic law that needs to be overturned.

  7. Avery says:

    Laura Martinez you want that to happen at the expense of the sovereignty of Belize?

  8. Avery says:

    If the Caribbean Court of Justice overturns this law then Belize is stating that a foreign body has the right to overturn the laws of Belize. Belize is no longer sovereign then. This goes far beyond the rightness or wrongness of one law. If that law is wrong that’s for the people of Belize through their elected representatives to decide.

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