Robinson was responding to the ruling yesterday in the Tomlinson case as the gay rights activist challenged the immigration laws of Trinidad and Tobago and Belize prohibiting entry of homosexuals. The CCJ dismissed his case saying he could not have been prejudiced as the Immigration Department does not apply the prohibition and also that the practice of admitting homosexuals of other Caricom states is not a matter of discretion but is legally required.
Robinson, speaking yesterday, said it would take some time to analyse the judgment and his comments are “just initial”.
He said firstly the ruling affirmed, even though it does not give Tomlinson the remedies that he asked for, “that Caricom nationals, whether they’re homosexual or not, have the same rights to freedom of movement as any other Caricom national”.
He described it as “good news” and “a relatively clear message” but pointed out that “the way the court comes to that judgment is a bit awkward”.
“What is deeply troubling about the way the court came to that decision parallels exactly what politicians are doing with the buggery and indecency and gross indecency laws around the region.
They have sent a clear message to gay and lesbian citizens of CARICOM states that ‘we not really preventing you from coming in, we not really coming in your house to arrest you for what you doing in your bedroom, but we leaving them laws right there’,” he said.
He continued: “So it creates the perpetual notion that we’re simply unapprehended outlaws. That we have a legal system that is saying to us ‘we not actually going to take away the laws that seem to legitimate your second class status. We leaving them right there but we go give yuh an ease’.
That’s what is deeply troubling about the judgment and that cannot be what a forward thinking Court does”.
He reiterated that it is exactly the approach politicians have taken to the buggery law to “leave it right where it is but don’t worry, we not using it”.
He said that it sends a clear message that at least in Caricom the laws are not going to be applied but also sends a message that the court does not feel that it needs to remove the law.