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Jan 19, 1998

Gay Cruise: A.G. waffles, Bar president speaks her mind

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Since the news broke earlier this month in the international media that a cruise ship loaded with homosexual men and women was headed for Belize, there have been no shortage of opinions on the subject, ranging from lukewarm acceptance to outright opposition. Tourism Minister Henry Young as well as the Belize National Tour Operators Association are both on record saying they see no problem with the impending visit, even though our Immigration laws clearly prohibit homosexuals from entering the country. While he’s been silent on the issue so far, Immigration Minister Dean Barrow who has the power to grant a waiver, cautiously weighed in on the debate Monday morning. The president of the Bar Association on the other hand made no bones about where her loyalties lie.

Dean Barrow, Minister of Immigration

I have not yet received any application. when and if I do I will try t deal with it in an appropriate fashion. I don’t want to prejudice the situation at all by saying any more than that.

Lois Young – President, Bar Association of Belize

“I haven’t called a meeting on it, because I don’t think its something of such crucial importance to the civil liberties of the people of Belize or the morals of the people of Belize. I can’t speak on behalf of the Bar Association. Personally, I think its a hullabaloo about nothing. These people are human beings. They are coming for six hours. They’re not coming here to live with us, they are not coming here to set up businesses in Belize. I think its rank hypocrisy actually on the part of the churches who have come out against it.”

If everything goes as planned, the M.S. Leeward is expected to dock in Belize for six hours on February first. The San Pedro Tourist Guide Association is the latest group to come out in support of the cruise ship visiting Belize. In a press release this afternoon the association said it supported Minister Young’s stance and that these particular visitors are only being scrutinized because they have fully declared themselves gay. The press release goes on to say that in the past visitors who are gay have come to Belize and given the same first class treatment like any other tourist the only difference is that they did not openly say they were homosexual.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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