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
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
We’ll keep following this story as it develops.