(Jamaica Observer) Shanique Myrie, the Jamaican woman who complained of being finger-raped and humiliated by Barbadian immigration authorities earlier this month, has hit back at claims by the Barbadian Government that she was not subjected to a body cavity search.
On Friday, Barbadian senator Harry Husbands claimed there was no record of Myrie being searched by either immigration or customs officers and alleged that the Jamaican was a victim of human trafficking.(Barbados Foreign Minister Maxine McClean today also denied the charges. See other story on this page.)
“Shanique Myrie, on arrival in Barbados, claimed she would have been staying with a female resident, but a closer investigation however revealed she was actually staying with a Barbadian man who actually facilitates the entry of non-nationals into the island,” Husbands was quoted in the online edition of Nation News as saying.
But yesterday Myrie was livid at Husbands’ statements and threatened to sue the Barbadian Government for the treatment meted out to her.
“I am not lying. They humiliated me and searched me like I was an animal. They can carry me back to the Barbados airport and I can show you every room they took me into. I can identify the woman who defiled me. They are the ones who are lying,” she told the Sunday Observer.
Myrie insisted that she was defiled by the Barbadian authorities at the Grantley Adams International Airport on March 14.
In her interview published in the Daily Observer on March 24, she said: “The lady took me into a bathroom and told me to take off my clothes. I did as requested. After searching me and my clothes she found no contraband or narcotics. She then asked me to bend over, open my legs and spread (my private parts). She said that if I did not comply then she would see that I end up in prison in Barbados. When I bent over and spread my (private parts) I felt something enter my (private parts) and when I looked between my legs I saw her gloved hand in my (private parts). I screamed and stood up.
“She then told me if I obstructed her doing a cavity search she would have me locked up. I bent over again and spread. She again inserted her fingers and poked around. I felt like I was being raped. I was so hurt and ashamed. I felt dirty and defiled, I don’t even know if the gloves she used was clean or had been used on somebody else,” she said.
Myrie, who said the immigration officer removed her identification tag before humiliating her, also said the immigration officer expressed her hatred for Jamaicans.
“I am going to sue them,” she went on.
The trip was her first out of the island and Myrie lambasted Husbands’ claim that she was a human trafficking victim.
“I went to visit Mrs Pamella Clarke. When I arrived at the airport they asked me who I came to and I gave them her number. They called her and she told them she wasn’t feeling well and had sent a man called Daniel to pick me up. They asked me about Daniel and I told them I did not know him. I have no reason to lie. They are the ones that are lying,” she said.
Myrie said she was locked in a room with another woman whom the Sunday Observer contacted yesterday. The woman, Rickrisha Rowe, said Myrie cried all night as she recounted her ordeal.
“I saw her being carried up and down by a man and a lady. She was crying when she came into the room and she told me what they did to her,” said Rowe.
“She said they stripped her two times and that the woman was squeezing her breasts as if she could cut her skin and put something inside them. She said they made her bend down and spread,” said Rowe, who revealed that she was also denied entry into the island because she had overstayed on a previous visit.
Rowe, however, said she found that strange because she had returned to the island without a problem since the time she overstayed.
She said the conditions in the cramped room were deplorable.
“I was locked in the room for over 12 hours. There was dirty toilet paper stuck on the wall and the place was filthy. You wouldn’t want to lean up anywhere. The bed was small with board and a raw sponge. In addition, the place was freezing. It was very cold, don’t care what you put on,” Rowe said.
Both women claim they were herded out of the room minutes before the flight back to Jamaica and were told they would only have time to wash their faces and brush their teeth.
Myrie’s claim sparked outrage in Jamaica and abroad and Public Defender Earl Witter has been mandated by Security Minister Dwight Nelson to investigate the incident. Witter is scheduled to meet with Myrie this week.