Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 24th 2017 Contents A6 news
guardian.co.tt Friday, February 24, 2017
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for FEBRUARY 23RD, 2017
Gay activist challenges
T&T's homophobic laws
A Trinidad-born gay rights ac-
tivist is suing the State over this
country's homophobic laws.
The novel constitutional lawsuit,
the first of its kind to be raised in T&T,
was filed in the Port-of-Spain High
Court yesterday morning by lawyers
representing Jason Jones.
In the lawsuit, Jones is challeng-
ing Sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual
Offences Act, which criminalises
buggery and serious indecency even
between consenting adults.
"The very existence of these sec-
tions continuously and directly af-
fects the claimant's private life by
forcing him to either respect the law
and refrain from engaging - even in
private with consenting male partners
- in prohibited sexual acts to which
he is disposed by reason of his homo-
sexual orientation, or to commit the
prohibited acts and thereby become
liable to criminal prosecution," Jones'
fixed date claim form, which was ob-
tained by the T&T Guardian stated.
Jones is also claiming that the
long-standing legislation contra-
venes his constitutional rights to
privacy and freedom of thought and
expression in addition to being in di-
rect contradiction to this country's
international human rights obliga-
His lawyers are also contending
that the legislation opens his client
to public prejudice and ridicule as it
labels him and other homosexuals as
"He is accordingly the subject of
extensive societal prejudice, perse-
cution, marginalisation, a lifelong
entrenched stigma that he is an un-
apprehended criminal by virtue of
being homosexual and he experiences
the lifelong fear of being punished for
expressing his sexuality through con-
sensual conduct with another adult,"
the lawsuit adds.
Jones' lawyers are seeking to side
step the "saving clause" feature of
the Constitution which precludes
a court from striking down and re-
viewing legislation which were in
existence when the Constitution was
drafted and that have been marginally
He is being represented by Richard
Drabble, QC, Rishi Dass and Antonio
They claim that the controversial
legislation amended in 1986 and 2000
repealed and replaced pre-Independ-
ence sexual offences legislation, cov-
ered by the savings clause, and thus is
open to review. A date for the hearing
of the constitutional motion lawsuit
is yet to be set.
In an interview outside the Hall of
Justice in Port-of-Spain yesterday
morning, Jones explained that he took
the decision to file the lawsuit due to
his personal experience as a homo-
sexual in T&T which including him
being disowned by his family forcing
him to migrate to the United Kingdom.
"I don't wish to shove a gay agenda
down you (the public) throat or attack
your morals, religion or spirituality,
I am doing this for the betterment of
our nation, and for our feature gen-
erations," Jones said.
Jones' lawsuit is one of several
landmark cases filed by Caribbean
LGBT activists challenging regional
Last year, Jamaican Maurice Tom-
linson challenged T&T and Belize's
immigration laws which allow for re-
fusal of entry to regional homosexuals
visitors. While the Caribbean Court
of Justice (CCJ) dismissed his case,
both Governments admitted that the
laws were not enforced.
In August, last year, Belize's Su-
preme Court struck down that coun-
try's sodomy laws, after a case similar
to Jones' was filed by a local activist.
LGBT activist Jason Jones PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
623-9091 ext. 2440 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Mayor agrees with
move to compensate
home-owners for damage
Port-of-Spain mayor Joel Martinez has sig-
nalled his agreement with the announcement
by carnival officials that band-leaders be made
to bear the consequences for masqueraders who
are found to be defacing private properties.
Speaking during a specially arranged press confer-
ence following yesterday's monthly statutory meet-
ing of the Port-of-Spain City Corporation, City Hall,
Port-of-Spain, Martinez said, "People pay a lot of
money for their property to maintain it throughout
the year, and nobody would like their property to
just be defaced because somebody is having an ex-
tra good time. So if a masquerader or a band should
deface somebody's property, I would think that the
consequences would have to be borne."
His comments followed Tuesday's announcement
by National Carnival Commission Chairman Kenny
De Silva that band-leaders would be held accountable
for damages to residences and properties throughout
the capital and environs.
Residents of Woodbrook and surrounding areas
have been complaining for years about the damage
left behind by carnival revelers beginning with J'ouvert
at 4 am on Monday, followed by the two-days leading
up to midnight on Tuesday.
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