Travel figures show no disparity
A senior Jamaican immigration official yesterday conceded, during the Shanique Myrie case before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), that there was no significant disparity in the number of Caribbean nationals denied entry to Barbados in the last five years when compared with Jamaica.
The admission by Ephieum Allen, acting deputy director for immigration at the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), came while he was being questioned about the statistics tendered as evidence in the landmark case.
The Jamaican government joined the Shanique Myrie case last year in a move it said was aimed at safeguarding certain rights and freedoms that should be accorded its citizens under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.
Jamaica has argued that since 2007 there has been a “persistent and relatively constant disparity” in the number of Jamaican nationals denied entry to Barbados when compared with nationals from other CARICOM countries.
But during cross-examination, Roger Forde, the lead attorney for the Barbados Government, pointed to the statistics for 2009 which showed that, by contrast, 233 CARICOM nationals were denied entry to Jamaica compared with the 218 who were not allowed to enter Barbados.
For 2010, Forde said the statistics showed that 225 CARICOM nationals were denied entry to Jamaica compared with the 229 turned back by Barbados.
“So your turnaround and our turnaround are not much different?” Forde asked Allen.
“Yes, sir,” the PICA deput director replied.
Forde also raised questions about Jamaica’s turnaround figures, pointing out that the statistics did not include the number of people who were allowed into the country.
“Do you agree that if you only give me the turnarounds and not the acceptance (figures) that that would be insufficient to do any analysis?” he asked Allen.
“Yes, I agree,” Allen responded.
Myrie has alleged that she was subjected to two body cavity searches, detained overnight in a dark, filthy cell then deported to Jamaica the following day.
She is not only seeking damages and an apology from the Government of Barbados, but has also asked the CCJ to interpret and apply the revised treaty and determine how CARICOM nationals travelled within the region.
The case was adjourned by the CCJ, which had been sitting at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston since Monday and heard evidence from ten witnesses.
It is scheduled to resume in Barbados on March 18 when the Barbados Government will present its case.
Lawyers for both sides will then travel to Trinidad and Tobago in April to make their final submissions.