Montego Bay Pride, the Jamaican organization advocating for LGBTI rights since 2015, has won official government registration, which not only serves as recognition of its achievements but also grants legal rights that it lacked until now.
The organization issued this press release:
Montego Bay Pride announces registration
Montego Bay Limited has been granted registration under the Companies Act of Jamaica.
April 3, 2020 — After being in existence for five years and hosting an equal number of Pride festivals that celebrated the resilience of Jamaican LGBTI people, Montego Bay Pride Limited has successfully completed the process of registering with the Companies Office of Jamaica.
Since its inception Montego Bay Pride has faced significant challenges, including an attempt by the current and former mayors of Montego Bay to effectively shut down the 2019 festival by banning the city-owned Cultural Centre from hosting Pride events.
As an unincorporated entity, Montego Bay Pride could not have sued in its own right for this violation of the rights to freedom of assembly and expression and so, the organization’s founder, Maurice Tomlinson had to personally do so. Although initially successful at the Supreme Court the decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal on a technicality. Despite this setback Montego Bay Pride was still able to put on some activities in 2019, such as an LGBTI Walk for Rights that featured representatives from the Canadian, American and EU diplomatic missions.
In accordance with the work that Montego Bay Pride has been engaged in since its inception, some of the objectives of the registered company are:
- To foster pride among members of the LGBTI communities in Montego Bay and the wider Jamaica;
- To support efforts to achieve greater respect for the human rights of LGBTI people;
- To improve the health, economic, spiritual and social conditions of LGBTI people throughout Jamaican through making representations on their behalf to the relevant government and civil society agencies; and
- To assist with the acquisition of food, clothing, bedding, furniture, accommodation and other necessary items for shelters that serve LGBTI people in Jamaica.
Maurice Tomlinson, the founder and development coordinator for Montego Bay Pride said that this registration has been “a dream come true” as it will ensure stability and permanence of the organization while also assisting with fund raising. “What started as a one-day party at a villa in Montego Bay has grown into a movement for full LGBTI equality across Jamaica,” Tomlinson said.
Coordinator of Montego Bay Pride, Sharlene Kessna-Duncan added that, “Registration was a serious step with significant reporting obligations. But the Montego Bay Pride planning committee embraced these obligations as a demonstration of our commitment to the full dignity of every LGBTI citizen.”
- Jamaican court again blocks Montego Bay Pride events (
- Montego Bay Pride is now 1,000 people strong (
- Thriving Montego Bay Pride boosts LGBT+ acceptance (
- Jamaica needs more Pride, more often (December 2016, 76crimes.com)
- How was Montego Bay Pride a success? Let me count the ways (October 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Deliriously happy after Jamaica’s first Montego Bay Pride (October 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Why Jamaica Pride 2015 matters (Aug. 4, 2015, Jamaica Observer)