(Barbados Nation) Jamaica’s Prime Minister Bruce Golding says the recent claim by a Jamaican national that she was improperly searched is not the first time that Barbadian officials have been reported for their maltreatment of Caribbean visitors.
In a radio clip aired yesterday on Starcom Network, Golding stated that he, along with other Caribbean heads, had spoken on the issue at more than one meeting.
“As recent as the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Grenada last month, the prime minister of St Vincent made complaints about the treatment of his nationals when they arrived in Barbados, and at the meeting before that a similar complaint was made by the president of Guyana. There are issues that we have not accepted. The deputy prime minister will confirm that at almost every heads of government meeting the matter is raised,” he said.
Golding made the comments in the aftermath of allegations by Jamaican Shanique Myrie that she was subjected to a cavity search by immigration officials on March 14, as she sought entry into Barbados.
But Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean, speaking on Down To Brass Tacks yesterday, defended her statement that cavity searches were not carried out at the Grantley Adams International Airport.
“All searches are supposed to be logged, and the other thing is these things are done in the presence of two persons. So the rule is that two persons conduct the search . . . at no time is there insertion of objects into body cavities,” she stated.
She however stated that both sides were innocent until proven guilty.
“There has to be sensitivity on all sides, sensitivity in relation to the young woman because we are innocent until proven guilty and that works two ways. She is making an accusation and we cannot dismiss it. On the other hand, we have to ensure that we provide our public officers due process . . . We want to give people the right to due process on all fronts,” she noted.
Former Opposition Leader Mia Mottley added her views yesterday, saying that officials in Barbados could no longer bury their heads in the sand in response to the perception that others had concerning Barbados’ treatment of the nationals of other Caribbean countries.
“I do not have all the facts. But if this is the perception of us, we need to deal with it – if not our social and economic well-being as a people will be affected as we warned when Government’s recent immigration policy was introduced two years ago,” she added.