(Jamaica Observer) Public Defender Earle Witter has been asked to take up the issue of a Jamaican woman who was the subject of demeaning cavity searches and verbal abuse in the tiny island of Barbados earlier this month.
In a statement yesterday, Minister of National Security Dwight Nelson said that he had written to Witter “asking him to intervene in the issue surrounding the reported abuse of Jamaican Shanique Myrie by officials at the Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados”.
Myrie was stripped-searched and cursed by a female immigration officer then locked up in a window-less, bed-less room when she tried to enter the country on March 14 to visit a friend — her first trip out of the island.
The immigration officer accused Myrie of trying to enter the island to steal ‘people’s man’ and went further to label Jamaican women as man thieves and drug mules.
Myrie was booted from the country the following day.
The issue has sparked widespread condemnation from the Government as well as political, business and women’s groups.
Many Jamaicans in the Diaspora have also blasted the Barbadian authorities, saying that the Jamaican government should lodge the strongest form of protest against the incident.
“I believe Miss Myrie’s account of the incident, because it has been happening for years. They went as far as causing our (Jamaica’s) honorary consul to resign. We cannot take it like that. We must do something now,” an angry caller to the newsroom fumed.
However, yesterday Barbadian authorities denied the incident, claiming that there was no record of the body searches.
In an article in the Barbados Nation, Parliamentary Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Immigration, Senator Harry Husbands claimed that Myrie was the victim of human trafficking.
However, nothing was said as to what action would be taken against the so-called human trafficker.
Yesterday, efforts to get information from Witter as to how he would proceed with the case proved futile as calls to his cellular phone went unanswered.