July 18, 2013

CCJ to hold sittings in Jamaica and Barbados for Shanique Myrie case

CCJ to hold sittings in Jamaica and Barbados for Shanique Myrie case
Source: Caribbean 360
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Tuesday March 5, 2013 – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will hold its first ever sitting in Jamaica next week to hear evidence from witnesses in the case in which a Jamaican national has sued Barbados.

Shanique Myrie, 25, who was granted leave by the CCJ to file the action, alleges that when she travelled to Barbados on March 14, 2011 she was discriminated against because of her nationality, subjected to a body cavity search, detained overnight in a cell and deported to Jamaica the following day.

Myrie also claimed that she was subjected to derogatory remarks by a Barbadian Immigration officer at the Grantley Adams International Airport and is asking the CCJ to determine the minimum standard of treatment applicable to CARICOM citizens moving around the region.

On September 27 last year, Jamaica was granted leave to intervene in the matter.
Myrie, through her attorneys, informed the CCJ that she could not afford to bring her witnesses to Port- of-Spain for the hearing and therefore she was unable to adequately present her case to the Court.

The CCJ said that it had explored the use of videoconferencing technology to take the evidence of the witnesses, but after consulting with attorneys it was decided that the evidence should be given in person and for this purpose the Court will sit in Jamaica to hear the evidence of the witnesses for the Claimant and the Intervener.

The CCJ will sit at the Jamaica Conference Centre from Monday until Friday and will hear testimony from 10 witnesses. It said it is paying for the costs of the sitting which include airfare, accommodation and its other expense while the Jamaica government will provide security for the Court.

The CCJ said it would also sit in Barbados from March 18 to 22 to hear the evidence of the witnesses of the Defendant.

The CCJ was established in 2011 to replace to London-based Privy Council as the region’s final court of appeal. It has both an original and appellate jurisdiction and also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy that allows for free movement of within the grouping.(CMC)

Jamaican Gay Man Takes Belize, Trinidad to Court Over Discriminatory Immigration Laws

Jamaican Gay Man Takes Belize, Trinidad to Court Over
 Discriminatory Immigratiion Laws
Wed, July 17, 2013

Source: Channel 7 Daily News
Published : July 17, 2013

The country is waiting patiently for Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin to rule 
on the UNIBAM challenge to Belize’s Sodomy Laws. Well, before that 
decision is handed down, another of Belize's sexually discriminatory laws
 is being challenged at the highest court in the land, the Caribbean Court 
of Justice.

Viewers may remember, Maurice Tomlinson, the Jamaican Gay Activist who
 turned down UNIBAM’s invitation to conduct sensitization sessions. 
He did that because he discovered that under Section 5 of Belize’s 
Immigration Act, he would be breaking the laws to enter the country 
to conduct this workshop.

This section states that prohibited immigrants include, quote
 "Any prostitute or homosexual who may have been living 
off or receiving proceeds of prostitution or homosexual behavior," end quote.
Tomlinson, who is married to a Canadian man, says that this law violates 
his right to freedom of movement within the Caribbean Community.

Trinidad and Tobago is the only other member of CARICOM which
 shares immigration laws similar to this one, and as a result, he has taken a
 challenge to the CCJ – in Trinidad - forcing both countries to respond.

Tomlinson has been to Belize twice, and in both visits, Belizean authorities 
did not enforce this law against him, so his home nation, Jamaica, has 
decided to stay out of this issue because his rights have not actually been 

His matter was called up today and via teleconference and Government 
Representatives from both countries presented themselves for case

Because Jamaica has refused to intervene as a state, Tomlinson’s attorney 
notified the CCJ judges’ panel that they were making an application for 
special leave to be heard as an individual.

That’s important because this is what’s known as an original jurisdiction matter,
 and only states can usually be granted such access to the court.

Nontheless, there are exceptions and the court has scheduled this application
 hearing for November 12. If Tomlinson can provide a strong case, the court 
will grant him leave to bring his challenge to both countries’ immigration laws.

Deputy Solicitor General Nigel Hawke is the lead attorney representing the 
Government of Belize, along with other Crown Counsels from the office of the 
Solicitor General.

We’ll keep following this story as it develops.