Fri | Jul 3, 2020

MoBay Pride granted interim order to rent cultural centre

Published:Tuesday | October 15, 2019 | 12:23 AMDanae Hyman/Staff Reporter
The Montego Bay Cultural Centre located in Sam Sharpe Square in the Second City.
The Montego Bay Cultural Centre located in Sam Sharpe Square in the Second City.

Maurice Tomlinson, founder and development coordinator of Montego Bay Pride, secured a victory in the Supreme Court yesterday when he was granted an interim order that allows his organisation to rent the public facilities at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre.

The interim order also clears the way for Montego Bay Pride to once again host the public events at the venue as it has done in the past.

During a meeting of the St James Municipal Corporation in September, Montego Bay Mayor Homer Davis stated that he would be revoking permission for the group to use the facility, stating that the move was necessary to preserve the “sacredness” of the space.

The Montego Bay Cultural Centre is a public venue that provides meeting rooms for rent to the general public, among other things.

Banned from using the space they have used to host Pride events over the last four years, the LGBT group filed a judicial review against Davis and the St James Municipal Corporation, which owns the centre.

Lawyers from Jamaicans for Justice are representing the gay-rights group.

In his application for judicial review, Tomlinson stated that by rescinding the permission given to Montego Bay Pride by the management of the cultural centre, the decision of the mayor and the municipal corporation was “discriminatory, unconstitutional and ultra vires”.

Given yesterday’s ruling, the matter will now proceed to judicial review where the full court will examine the manner in which the decision to prevent Montego Bay Pride from using the facilities was made and determine whether it was lawful to deny access to public facilities based on the personal opinions of the officials involved.