Barbados disappointed with ruling
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Oct 4, CMC – Barbados Friday appeared to be disappointed with the ruling of the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) after it found Bridgetown had breached the rights of a Jamaican national when she sought entry into the country in 2011.
But the CCJ stopped short of awarding 25-year-old Shanique Myrie the one million Barbados dollars (One BDS dollar = US$050 cents) in compensation she had sought.
Instead, the CCJ ruled that Myrie would be awarded pecuniary damages in the sum of BDS2, 240) and non-pecuniary damages to the tune of BDS$75,000.
Queen Counsel Roger Forde, who led the Barbados government defence in the case, was tight lipped in his response telling reporters he needed to study the judgement before giving his assessment.
But he added “you can travel without harassment, take a flight and go to Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.”
Myrie, who had been granted leave by the CCJ to file the action, alleged that when she travelled to Barbados on March 14, 2011 she was discriminated against because of her nationality, subjected to a body cavity search, detained overnight in a cell and deported to Jamaica the following day.
Myrie also claimed that she was subjected to derogatory remarks by a Barbadian Immigration officer and asked the CCJ to determine the minimum standard of treatment applicable to CARICOM citizens moving around the region.
On September 27 last year, Jamaica was granted leave to intervene in the matter.
Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, Sharon Saunders, who was present in the court when the ruling was given, told the Caribbean Media Corporation “my first reaction..is that in principle it has been a victory for Myrie and Jamaica because it has validated her claims and that was indeed the objective.
‘The award of damages that was secondary and in fact her costs will be met by the amounts announced. This I think is a landmark judgement and the court has been very fair. Of course in any court the burden is on evidence and clearly the court deliberated long and hard and this i think is an extremely good outcome”.
She said Jamaica would be examining in full the judgement and “I am sure my government will make further statements on it”.
But I am very happy, in fact I am feeling a little emotional because it has been a long journey,” the
She said the ruling sets a standard that news to be observed by all Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states, quoting CCJ President Sir Dennis Byron as saying decisions by regional leaders must be upheld and where local laws are not in tandem the Community laws and decisions are sacrosanct.
“It has set a precedent it will mean that governments across the region will have to raise the bar. The excuse cannot be the immigration officials have so much discretion. By7 and large this is an excellent judgment,” she added.