The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has jurisdiction over the 15 countries that form the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
One of the Caribbean’s most recognized faces in the promotion of the rights of lesbians, gays, bi-sexual and trans-sexual persons, Jamaican Maurice Tomlinson, filed a landmark lawsuit which challenges anti-gay laws in Belize and Trinidad and Tobago.
Tomlinson is challenging Section 8 of Trinidad’s Immigration Act, which allows immigration officials to refuse entry to homosexuals, prostitutes and other people who may benefit from the proceeds of either. He also brought action against the government of Belize whose immigration legislation is similarly worded.
Immigration officials from Belize said during testimony that the country is not anti-gay, adding that in 1998, a cruise ship with approximately 700 gays came to Belize and all the individuals were allowed into the country.
The action was brought under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which established the Caribbean Court of Justice. The court has presided over matters dealing with violation of CARICOM statutes.
Tomlinson says Trinidad and Tobago and Belize are violating the rights of LGBT citizens of CARICOM to move freely between member states.
Hearings have ended and the court is expected to hand down its ruling within the next three months.