(Jamaica Observer) Jamaican finger-rape victim Shanique Myrie says a flood of bitter memories fell on her like a ton of bricks on her return to the Eastern Caribbean island of Barbados last week.
Myrie and her attorneys, Michelle Brown and Marc Ramsay, went to the island to take her case to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). The court ruled that she has an answerable case and gave her 21 days to file an application to sue the Barbadian Government.
But while Myrie expressed relief that she will finally be given her day in court, the return to the island where she claimed she was bad-mouthed, subjected to a dehumanising cavity search, and locked up in a cold, dank room before being booted out of the country, brought back sordid memories of her ordeal.
“When I went into the airport the bad memories just came flooding back. I saw the room I was locked in and everything came back to me. I had to be strong and compose myself,” Myrie told the Jamaica Observer.
She said while at the Grantley Adams International Airport in Bridgetown she tried to look for any of the immigration officials she claimed abused her, but none were in sight.
“None of them were there,” she said.
Myrie said that every Barbadian inside the terminal dropped what they were doing, went over to where she was and stared at her. Some colder and harder than others. “Everybody came to look at me. Some ‘cut’ their eyes, while others just stared coldly. I felt like a victim, like a criminal…” she said.
However, she said others were less hostile.
“Some came over to me and hugged me and apologised softly,” she said.
Although she tried to keep her trip to Barbados a secret, Myrie said it seemed the entire Barbados knew when she was arriving and the media came out in full force. “The whole country knew I was coming. The media was out, and they were all up in my face. I never commented and my lawyer did not allow them to get to close to me,” Myrie said.
Myrie spent a week in the country, but most of the time was spent indoors as she was not sure what type of reception she would be dealt by the Barbadian people. “I hardly went outside, but when I did I was surprised. I thought Barbados was more sophisticated. They have board houses and zinc fences. I was shocked. I thought I was in rural Jamaica. I didn’t knew that it would be so ordinary,” Myrie told the Observer.
She was, however, delighted that the first phase of her struggle to get justice was behind her.
“I am relieved and I am certainly looking forward to the trial,” she said.
Myrie admitted that she has not yet fully recovered mentally from her ordeal and is still having therapy sessions to help her cope.