The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has reserved its decision in the original jurisdiction case of Maurice Tomlinson, a Jamaican homosexual activist, who is suing Belize and Trinidad and Tobago over his right to free movement which he contends is being violated under the Treaty of Chaguaramas which establishes the Caribbean Community. The case began on Tuesday at the CCJ’s seat in Port of Spain and Acting Director of Immigration Maria Marin took the stand to testify about Belize’s application of Section 5(1)(e) of the Immigration Act which Tomlinson is challenging. Here is video of that response courtesy the CCJ.
MARIA MARIN- Acting Director of Immigration, Belize
“For us, the provision indicates that if you come to Belize, when you come to Belize, you need to be able to meet three major requirements. Once we have established that your… the travel documents that the person presents are genuine documents, you are required basically to indicate the purpose of your visit, that you’re able to pay your way from Belize and that you are able to pay your stay in Belize while you visit.
” How are you able to read 5.1.E? Does it mean not enforcing it and what would you do if u would enforce it? How do you read it?”
For immigration purposes, a person who will benefit or will receive or live off the proceeds of an activity, The immigration officer will require that that person present a different permit than a visitors permit which would be an employment permit. So once you are receiving any proceeds, you would need a work permit. Then Section 16 and 19 of the immegration act will apply. that section would not apply.”
Tomlinson, an attorney who divorced a female partner with whom he had a son to take up with a Canadian male pastor, also took the stand to explain why he feels the laws in both countries need to be changed. Tomlinson has told a local media house that he has “work to do” in Belize and Trinidad with regard to documenting alleged abuses of LGBT individuals and repealing allegedly discriminatory laws in Caribbean countries. While Belize’s representative Deputy Solicitor General Nigel Hawke declined cross-examination, Trinidad representative Seenath Jairam questioned him at length about the interpretation of Trinidad law on his entry to that country as a qualified CARICOM national. Tomlinson’s view was that while neither country enforces the relevant section of the law, that fact does not presuppose future enforcement which would break the guarantee to the right of free movement within CARICOM for him and other LGBT persons. Today submissions were heard from interested parties in the case and the judging panel reserved judgment for a later date.