In a weird ending to a weird cruise story, two California men who were arrested on the Celebrity Summit cruise ship while it was docked in Dominica pleaded guilty to indecent exposure at a hearing yesterday and were then ridiculed by a local magistrate.
Yesterday we mentioned the bizarre circumstances surround the Atlantis Events cruise: Busted for Buggery: Controversy Surrounds Another Atlantis Gay Cruise.
A newspaper in Dominica "DaVibes" described the incident as follows:
"Local taxi operators expressed outrage as they reportedly witnessed the defendants engaged in sexual activity on the balcony of the ship." When the local police boarded the Celebrity cruise ship, one of the passengers responded “we were naked on our balcony but were not having sex.”
Today another newspaper in Dominica reports that the two men's lawyer in Dominica told the local magistrate at a 30 minute hearing yesterday that her clients were "remorseful" and overcome by the beauty of the island:
"They were struck by the beautiful mountains, clear fresh air and had a few cocktails and having a few cocktails they found themselves in this indiscretion. They threw caution to the wind, they came here to have a good time and they did not mean to offend anyone” she told the court.
According to the newspaper, Chief Magistrate Baptiste (photo above left) denounced the men's actions as “an outrage” that was “morally wrong” in any country. She described the men as “rogues and vagabonds.” She fined them around $900.
After the hearing, the local police drove the two men (photo right) to the airport to be flown out of the country.
Many Caribbean islands like Dominica, Jamaica and Barbados are openly hostile to gay travelers. Nonetheless, sex on a balcony at port seems like a good way to be arrested.
However, the two men, Dennis Mayer and John Hart who have been partners for 17 years, deny that they were engaged in sex on the balcony.
They state that they were arrested by military police and placed in a small cell for 19 hours. They told the LA Times that "we were taunted all night long. They paraded us around like we were some oddity." They were led to a ATM at a bank to withdraw money for their fine as a crowd of residents watched. "I've never seen something like this," Mayer said. "I've never seen people chanting and protesting in the street. It was amazing."
An AP article quotes Dominica Tourism Minister Ian Douglas as saying that tourists should abide by local laws regardless of their religious or sexual orientation, and that cruise ship officials should make passengers aware of these laws.
Magistrate Baptiste - Dominica News Online
Cruise passenger - Carlisle Jno-Baptiste / AP