(Jamaica Observer) More than four months after Jamaican Shanique Myrie was finger-raped, verbally abused, locked up and kicked out of Barbados, the Barbadian Government is yet to respond to correspondence from her lawyers.
Attorneys Anthony Hylton and Michelle Brown, who represent Myrie, say they have made repeated attempts to get the government of that eastern Caribbean island to address the issue but to date no positive response has been forthcoming.
Myrie, who was detained at the Grantley Adams International Airport in March, claimed that she was subjected to two demeaning cavity searches, locked in a cold, filthy room and kicked out of the country the following day, despite not being found with any contraband or in contravention of that country’s laws.
She also said she was verbally abused by a female customs officer who allegedly told her that ‘All you (expletive) Jamaicans come here to do is either steal people’s man or bring drugs here’.
“…The Barbadian Government has not been responsive,” said Hylton. He said former Attorney General and Justice Minister Dorothy Lightbourne as well as Foreign Affairs minister Ken Baugh and permanent secretary in that ministry, Ambassador Evadne Coy, had written to the Barbadian Government seeking redress for Myrie but their efforts have also been spurned.
The high-handed attitude of the Barbadian Government has been confirmed by an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.
“There has been no concrete or diplomatic response from the Barbadian Government on the Shanique Myrie issue,” the ministry official said.
However, Hylton said any attempt by Barbados to ignore the issue, with the hope that it will die a natural death, would be a wrong move. “We feel that more than enough time has expired between the attempt by the Government to engage the Barbadian Government plus our own intervention and we are now at the stage where we are getting ready to take this to another level,” Hylton said.
In the aftermath of the incident, Barbadian Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said he was inviting Myrie to return to Barbados and point out her abusers, but according to Hylton, although Stuart made the statements during an interview with the Caribbean Media Corporation, they were just empty words.
“The impression has been given by the prime minister that he has invited Miss Myrie to Barbados to identify her attackers. All of this is just sarcasm because the (Barbadian) Government has taken the position that this (incident with Myrie) has never occurred. We, including the (Jamaican) Government, have sought among things to indicate that Miss Myrie is interested to return to Barbados to identify her attackers,” he said, “That publicly stated offer is a farce and an empty gesture.”
After Myrie’s claim became public, a Jamaican delegation visited Barbados and engaged in a round of talks with officials from that country, examined the detention centre at the Grantley Adams Airport and met with members of the Jamaican community living in that country.
In a press release in March, Baugh expressed regret that Barbados was snubbing attempts by the Jamaican Government to seek redress for Myrie.
The Barbadian Government has repeatedly claimed that Myrie was not being truthful and that the alleged abuse never happened. Barbadian Foreign Minister Maxine McLean dismissed Myrie as a liar and said that an investigation had revealed no record of any body search. McLean also blamed the Jamaican media for the negative waves the story, which was broken by the Observer, created for Barbadians.