Nation e-Edition

Jamaican officials visit

Jamaican officials visit Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxine McClean (right) yesterday welcoming Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Barbados Sharon Saunders. (Lennox Devonish)

By Chris Gollop | Thu, March 31, 2011 - 12:03 AM

JAMAICAN OFFICIALS will get a first-hand look at the room at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) where one of their nationals has alleged that she was “finger-raped” by local authorities.

A high-powered Jamaican team flew into the island yesterday for talks with Government officials in an effort to bring closure to an issue that has been raging in the local and Jamaican media for the past week, following Shanique Samantha Myrie’s charge that she had endured a cavity search at the hands of either an Immigration or Customs officer.

With senior government ministers in Jamaica having called for further investigations into the alleged incident – despite a statement from Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator Maxine McClean that a thorough investigation had already been carried out that showed nothing of the sort had taken place – officials from both sides are now hoping that today’s talks could put the matter to rest.

Jamaica’s Trinidad-based High Commissioner Sharon Saunders, flew into Barbados ahead of the four-member delegation, and after a meeting with McClean, expressed confidence that the matter could be resolved through diplomatic channels.

“The aim is to get to the truth . . . and the facts,” she told reporters at the Culloden Road, St Michael headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Justice must be done and seen to be done.”

Noting that it was a “sensitive” matter, she cautioned against “sensationalising” what appeared to be an “isolated” incident.

Moreover, she said that relations between Kingston and Bridgetown remained as strong as ever, adding that in any family, there would be “squabbles”.

For her part, McClean also emphasised that it was the media that was playing up the incident, whereas she and her counterpart in Jamaica enjoyed the best of relations and had been speaking on the matter from the time news of the alleged incident first broke in the Jamaica Observer last week. 

She described her meeting with Saunders as “amicable, quite amicable” and felt confident that the matter would be resolved at the Foreign Ministry level, and would need not go any further.

Noting that she would not be part of today’s meeting, since she was already committed to travel to Belize on official duty, she said the Jamaican delegation and senior Government officials would be taken through the immigration process from start to finish when they travel to the GAIA this afternoon.

Minister of State responsible for immigration matters Senator Harry Husbands is expected to head the Barbados delegation in today’s talks.

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Posted by Pan Wallie 3 years, 6 months ago
Does the tour include the holding bay and bathroom described by the accusers?

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Posted by TONY GUMBS 3 years, 6 months ago
The sexual abuse of a young woman cannot be described as a "family squabble".

What is very clear, from the MANY complaints - not just one! - is that Barbados Immigration does not conform to the high standards of conduct that Bajans are noted for internationally.

Dancing around this issue will not cause it to go away, and the longer that it drags on, and on, and on...the greater will be the damage to Barbados international image and reputation. This is not in the nation's interests as tourism is very important to barbados' economy.

Responsible Barbadians need to take charge, clean up and clean out the immigration services, where and if necessary, and raise the immigration services' standards of conduct, management, supervison and professionalism. Bring it up to "Barbados Standards"!

If it is determined that criminal conduct has occurred, that needs to dealt with firmly and appropriately.

Prompt, responsible and appropriate action, and apologies and redress to anyone who has been wronged, will enhance Barbados' reputation and put this matter to rest.

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