Statement on Sean Macleish & Javin Johnson v Attorney General of St Vincent & The Grenadines for LGBTQ+ Equality
In continuation of movements to strike buggery laws from Commonwealth nations, today the High Court of the St Vincent & The Grenadines, under the honourable Justice Esco Henry and legal teams for both sides, sat in a case management conference to decide on matters moving forward with this historic case to decriminalize consensual adult same-sex intimacy.
These laws, leftovers of British Colonial rule in the Caribbean, are discriminatory, inhumane and against the basic tenets of the Constitution that protect the rights and freedoms of every Citizen, and they were removed from the UK some time ago.
Both claimants, Mr. Sean Macleish and Javin Johnson have brought separate cases to the courts, however, it was agreed upon by all parties involved to have the matters heard jointly. Both Macleish and Johnson are openly gay St. Vincent nationals, who’s struggles with discrimination and abuse based on their sexual orientation and enforced by the archaic law took matters into their own hands identifying this as the first step for equality for all citizens regardless of sexual preference.
“Today in the High Court is very important, not just for LGBTQ+ Vincentians like me, but monumental for access to social inclusion and equality for all marginalized groups.”, said Macleish,
“Growing up and living in St. Vincent as a gay man, I was made to feel insignificant and less than because of my sexual orientation. With so much progress in the world towards quality, very little has changed here, and I still see LGBT Vincentians being victimized and harassed because of who we love.
We just want to live our lives free of these discriminatory obstacles that the criminalization of homosexuality fuels. I place my confidence and hope in the Judiciary to correct this inhumane injustice because justice is a remedy for pain and a step towards healing and freedom.”
“I am very happy that this legal challenge has begun!” said Johnson “I am committed to making sure that what happened to me in St Vincent, doesn’t ever happen again to future generations of Gay People. Thanks to all our legal team who are working so hard for our human rights.”
The legal team is led by Jeremy Johnson QC and supported by Peter Laverack of 5 Essex Court Chambers London. In St Vincent Lawyers Zita Barnwell & Jomo Thomas are instructed and Hogan Lovells International LLP are the solicitors.
Of special note is the inclusion of Barrister Peter Laverack on the legal team who has been centrally involved with both the landmark victory for LGBåTQ+ equality in Trinidad & Tobago in 2018, and the excellent victory for marriage equality in Cayman Islands this year. Laverack together with Jason Jones were nominated for the Pink News “Campaigner of the Year” Award 2018 for their case.
As with the victory in Belize, then Trinidad & Tobago, then India, Angola & Botswana, we fully expect justice to be served in the continuing fight around the World for Equality and Justice for LGBTQ+ people. Search #macleishjohnsonvsvg on social media to follow this story as it develops.