Colours Cayman, the islands’ advocacy group for the LGBTQ community, responded to comments made in the Legislative Assembly on Friday, 22 Nov., that took aim at lawyer Leonardo Raznovich.
The non-profit flagged remarks made by MLAs Anthony Eden and Ezzard Miller calling for the deportation of Raznovich, who has defended the right to same-sex marriage in Cayman’s courts.
“Eden and Miller both called on the Attorney General for the deportation of Dr Raznovich after much lambasting and accusing him of ‘bad-mouthing people’ in an obvious attempt to smear his good name and threaten him and his partner’s livelihood,” read a Colours press release.
“Our organisation views this behaviour as a blatant and gross abuse of power. Are we to believe that any lawyer or individual advocating for the rights of LGBTQIA+ people is at risk of facing deportation or being ostracised somehow by our own government?”
Without directly naming Raznovich, Eden told the Legislative Assembly, “I don’t know how we can sit down and continue to house someone that has inflicted so much pain on so many of our people in Cayman …
“Why are they just rubbing dirt in our face? They know how we feel and as I’ve said in my letter to the Compass and others and on my debate, a lot of our Caymanian families have people with this movement, this desire of living in that lifestyle, but never in my lifetime have I known of anyone to be injured, no one to be harassed.”
Later in the debate, Miller questioned the attorney general on the legal definition of seditious activity.
“It is in section 120 of the Customs and Border Control Law. [Section] 120 (2) says, ‘Where the Cabinet considers that a person is an undesirable person or that the person’s presence in the island is not conducive to the public good, the Cabinet may make a deportation order in respect of such a person’,” Miller said.
“I guess it should be the Cabinet and you to consider whether the activities of that funny name person that has been causing all of these problems rises to that section of the law.”
Colours has called for an apology from Eden, Miller and Premier Alden McLaughlin “for this abhorrent behaviour and to state clearly that the Cayman Islands Government will not tolerate nor promote a witch-hunt directed at lawyers, activists or defenders of human rights of any kind residing in the Cayman Islands”.
Colours also refuted Eden’s assessment that same-sex marriage is not a human right.
“We would politely suggest he pull his head out of the sand and recognise that our organisation, often with the assistance of Dr Raznovich, has been working alongside other prominent and respected local organisations and government agencies who would undoubtedly claim otherwise,” the press release stated.
“Rest assured, we will continue to defend and fight for the rights of our LGBTQIA+ community in spite of such comments and wholeheartedly support Dr Raznovich in his efforts.”