Caribbean countries sued for banning entry of gays, lesbians

Port of Spain, March 19: A Jamaican lawyer has filed a lawsuit in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) aimed at forcing the governments of Trinidad and Tobago and Belize to scrap immigration laws that bar the entry of gays and lesbians. Legal representatives from Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean Community made statements on Wednesday at a hearing on the suit, Efe news agency cited court registry supervisor ndlal Hardial as saying. Maurice Tomlinson, an attorney and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights activist, filed the suit in May 2013, Hardial said.

The Trinidad-based CCJ is the sole arbiter of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which established the Caribbean Community in 1973, and has exclusive jurisdiction over matters arising from violations of Caribbean Community (Caricom) statutes, including those guaranteeing freedom of movement.

Tomlinson says Trinidad and Tobago and Belize are violating the rights of LGBT citizens of Caricom to move freely between member states. Twelve of the 15 Caricom member states are sigtories of the CCJ: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Greda, Guya, Jamaica, St.Kitts and Nevis, St.Lucia, St.Vincent and the Gredines, Surime and Trinidad and Tobago. (IANS)

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