Carib court ok’s suit against Barbados

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has granted special leave to 24-year-old Jamaican, Shanique Myrie, to begin proceedings against the Barbados government after she alleged she was sexually assaulted by a female immigration officer, insulted and then denied entry to Barbados on March 14 last year.

The five-member panel of the CCJ, headed by its president, Sir Dennis Byron, approved the application during a special sitting in Barbados, the first time the regional court, which was established in 2001 to replace the British Privy Council, sat outside its Trinidad-based headquarters.

Attorneys for the Jamaican will now have 21 days to file the necessary documents.

She wants the court to determine what is the minimum standard of treatment to be given to CARICOM nationals moving within the region under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) allowing for the free movement of skills, labor, goods and services across the community.

Earlier, Myrie’s attorney Michelle Brown, told the court her client was subjected to “forceful brutish language” by immigration officials at the Sir Grantley Adams International Airport on her arrival.

She said they were attempting to get Myrie to agree “she was doing something illegal, like having drugs” and had even threatened to have her jailed and twice made her bend over in order to carry out a cavity search.

The attorney argued that there was “no justification for the increasing level of the intrusion that she faced,” noting that “initially Barbados claimed she (Myrie) was a victim of human trafficking.”

But she told the court that if that was the case “then the role of the government was to protect her” and not brutalize her.

The Jamaican-born attorney said her client is “still not certain what laws of Barbados she broke” resulting in her being refused entry into a CARICOM country that had signed on to the 2007 declaration allowing for the free movement of people within the region.