Tag Archives: Atlantis

Atlantas Gay Cruise Ship Passengers Arrested in Dominica For “Buggery” Speak Out About Ordeal

John Robert Hart and his partner retired police officer Dennis Jay Mayer are speaking out about thier ordeal of being pulled from an Atlantas Gay Cruise ship in Dominica after locals complained that the couple was  having sex in public on the balcony of their ship cabin. But now able to speak  freely Mayer insists they were not having sex and has no doubt they were arrested in Dominica because they were gay:

“The total experience was horrendous,” he said. “They told us that they did not like us, that they did not like gay people.”
The trouble began shortly after the cruise ship Celebrity Summit docked Wednesday morning at Dominica in the eastern Caribbean. Mayer and Hart were in their room when they got a call from a cruise ship official. “We were summoned that the captain wished to speak to us,” Mayer said. “We were caught off guard.”
Three cruise ship officials and six Dominica police officers were waiting for them. After police interviewed both men separately, the assistant captain spoke:  “At this time, we are going to eject you from the ship. We have zero tolerance toward your behavior,” Mayer recalled him saying. And Atlantis Cruises then turned the two men over to the Dominica police.
After police took pictures and obtained fingerprints, a high-ranking officer began a nearly four-hour interrogation.
Police then drove them to their headquarters, where they sat on a bench for nearly two hours without legal representation despite repeated requests, Mayer said.
 ‘You’re being arrested for being gay. We’re arresting you for the crime of buggery,'” Mayer said. and added that other people said that we were engaging in homosexual sex and repeated that several times. I told him “I didn’t know why they would say that. I wasn’t doing that.” Mayer said he was naked in his cabin and nearly naked on the balcony. ” 
During the interrogation, the police official threatened to take them to a clinic and have them medically examined for proof of homosexual activity, Mayer said. “He said, you know, we’re looking for specific things, fluids, bruising, things of that nature,”  After making the threat, the official left the room, then came back saying they had a right to refuse the test. The “buggery” charges were then dropped and the two men were charged with indecent exposure and put in a five-by-eight-foot cell to await an appearance before a magistrate.
“The treatment was inhumane,” Mayer said. “We were detained for approximately 26 hours, and 19 of those locked in a cement cell, which had no running water, no toilet, no lights. It stunk of feces and urine. It was infested with cockroaches, ants and bugs.”
On Thursday morning, police drove them to the courthouse in the capital of Roseau, passing through an angry crow.  “They were chanting and banging on the police vehicle. They were screaming, I’ve never seen anything like this in my life, other than in movies. Both my partner and I really feared for our safety “It was very frightening,” Mayer said.

Once in the courtroom, Chief Magistrate Evaline Baptiste ordered the men to pay a nearly $900 fine after they pleaded guilty to indecent exposure. He called the two men “rogues and vagabonds and after the sentencing police then drove the two men to an ATM to get money to pay the fine and after paying drove them to the airport.

This is a very different story than the one released by Atlantic Cruise Lines. Rich Campbell, president of the West Hollywood, Ca.-based Atlantis Events on the company’s Facebook page today, as well. It reads, in part:

“Yesterday morning around 9:30 am two of our guests were seen engaging in a sexual act outdoors on their balcony in full public view of the port and town. Not only did many of the residents witness the act, several of our guests saw this incident as well. The local authorities responded to a complaint by several residents. The two gentlemen were arrested on a misdemeanor charge of public indecency and detained overnight. They appeared in front of the local magistrate this morning, paid a small fine, and were released in full.

Okay now, moralistic crap aside the bottom line is this. 

This never would have happened if this was a straight couple.  And the two different versions imerging of what happened is deeply disturbing.

Do we accept the word of a homophobic government, which has clearly stated it is offended by homosexuality and Atlantis who wants to make a quick buck; or do we accept the statements of the men accused of the “heinous “crime of public sexuality?    The truth somewhere probably lies in the middle. I suspect this was a case of (1) governmental authority foreknowledge of a gay cruise docking; and (2) two gay men unwarned about the homophobic and repressive culture they were visiting, who were expressing themselves in a way a homophobic culture found offensive.

Rich Campball and Atlantis Events bears some of the responsibility here for sending 2000 gay men on an explicitly sexual gay cruise, (and we kid ourselves to think of it as nothing less than a huge circut party on the high seas) to a port of Dominica where homosexuality is a crime punishable by incarceration of up to 10 years in prison because it is a cheap port of call to dock in and then giving the men up so easily.  The Atlantis memo from Rich Campbell was a disclaimer…a blow-off of any responsibility on their behalf by shifting the blame for their actions to the unfortunate men who were caught in the cross-hairs of an overzealous police department and out-moded, fractured justice system in a homophobic country.