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Johnson: Airport cameras functioning

Barry Alleyne

Johnson: Airport cameras functioning

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The man in charge of the daily running of the Grantley Adams International Airport has testified that all airport cameras were fully functional on March 14, 2011 when Jamaican suitor Shanique Myrie first arrived in Barbados.
Joseph Johnson, who has worked at Grantley Adams for more than three decades and is now the facility’s Chief Operations Officer, told the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) today that the cameras were not newly installed, and had been in place and working from around 2005 when a new terminal began operations.
He was being cross-examined in the No. 1 Supreme Court on the first day of the Barbados leg of the CCJ’s hearing of Myrie’s lawsuit against the Barbados Government.
Myrie is claiming that she was discriminated against because of her nationality, and also subjected to a body cavity search by Immigration Department officials when she arrived in Barbados.
In response to a question by Myrie’s attorney Nancy Anderson, Johnson said there were times that faulty cameras had to be replaced, but that the ones in place were always working. He also revealed there are no surveillance cameras in the Immigration Department’s security area, nor are they any in the bathrooms at the airport.
“They were fully functional in March 2011,” he told the court in response to Anderson. 
“The terminal opened in 2005, and the cameras were installed shortly after.”
Also giving testimony was the acting Comptroller of Customs, Frank Holder, who testified that he told Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Barbados, Sharon Saunders, that the cameras were being tested. Also under cross-examination by Anderson, Holder denied he told Saunders that there were times when the cameras didn’t work.
“I didn’t tell her they only work sometimes. I told her I wasn’t sure if they were functioning. I also told her they were being tested,” Holder said. The acting Customs chief said he and Saunders had that conversation after a request was made for surveillance footage. Copies of the footage were not presented to a Jamaican contingent which was investigating Myrie’s claims, the witness added.
Holder said copies of the discs containing the surveillance footage were made by airport officials and delivered to his office in a sealed envelope. That envelope was later handed over to Sergeant Vernon Farrell of the Royal Barbados Police Force.
When re-examined by Barbados’ lead attorney Roger Forde QC, Holder said the Customs and Excise Department was not responsible for installation nor the maintenance of cameras at the airport.
Other witnesses to give evidence yesterday were Grantley Adams systems manager Ian Best and police sergeant Vernon Farrell.
Today was the first day of the Barbados leg of the CCJ hearing of the Myrie case. 
The first segment was heard in Jamaica and the final leg is set down to be heard at the CCJ’s Port of Spain headquarters next week.
The hearing attracted a large number of spectators who virtually filled the upstairs and downstairs sections of the spacious courtroom.
Myrie was on hand for the entire four-hour session, sitting alone in a corner of the court, and listening attentively to the testimony.
The case resumes at 9 a.m. tomorrow.