Barbados next stop in Myrie case
IT’S BARBADOS’ TURN next week to host the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as it continues to hear evidence in the Shanique Myrie case.
The Supreme Court Complex on Whitepark Road, St Michael, will be the place to be for two days – Monday and Tuesday – before judges, lawyers and witnesses head to the CCJ’s headquarters in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago for completion of hearings.
Myrie, a Jamaican, is alleging discrimination by the Barbados Government on a trip here in 2011.
She claims she was subjected to a humiliating cavity search at the Grantley Adams International Airport, detained in a cell at the airport, and then deported back home the following day.
March 14 was the two-year anniversary of the incident, which has developed into one of the most watched cases to be heard by the CCJ since it came into being in 2005.
Myrie’s Jamaican lawyers are arguing that the alleged search of their client is contrary to Barbadian law, as well as the country’s obligations under the revised CARICOM Treaty of Chaguaramas.
Myrie is seeking damages and an apology from the Barbados Government.
She took the witness stand when the CCJ convened in her home country a fortnight ago and was cross-examined extensively on the final two days of the hearing by Roger Forde, the lead attorney for the Barbados Government in the case.
Myrie also claimed that she was subjected to forceful and brutish language by airport officials on her arrival.
On the stand, Myrie retracted a statement she had made at the onset of the case.
As part of her original statement, the Jamaican had said a female immigration officer in Barbados had been directed by a male superior to go to retrieve her luggage. She said the woman then asked the colour of her suitcase and what name was on it, before leaving to retrieve the bag.
But during her cross-examination by Forde, Myrie admitted that she went along with the female officer to retrieve the luggage.
“It was a mistake,” she told the court in Kinsgton, about her pervious statement.
That form of questioning by the Barbadian lawyer formed part of several attempts by the lead lawyer to call into question the credibility of the witness.
Forde also questioned Myrie for more than an hour on issues such as her knowledge of video cameras being in use at the Barbadian airport, as well the identity of the person, a Paula Clarke, who is purported to have invited her to Barbados.
In addition to Myrie, evidence was also provided by a number of officials from Jamaica’s Immigration Department.
During cross-examination, director for immigration at the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency, Ephieum Allen, conceded that the number of CARICOM nationals denied entry to Jamaica and Barbados in the last five years were not far apart.
Allen also conceded that there was not much difference in the vetting process used in both countries. (BA)