(Barbados Nation) “The worst experience of my life!”
That is how 23-year-old Shonae Proverbs summed up her two-day encounter at the hands of Immigration officials two weeks ago at Grantley Adams International Airport.
Proverbs, who married her Barbadian sweetheart Gladston Bridgeman in Jamaica last January, said she was coming here to spend some time with her husband and to bring their wedding cake for him and his family to share.
After she was detained at the airport and threatened with deportation, her husband secured the services of attorney Douglas Trotman, who filed an urgent application at the High Court to have her released.
She was temporarily released into the care and custody of her husband, but is due to attend a court hearing on May 30.
Proverbs, who arrived in Barbados on March 20, said after a lengthy interrogation with Immigration officials at the airport, she was informed that she was being denied entry because she had previously been deported for overstaying her time.
“I told them that I was never deported from Barbados,” she stated, pointing out that she had come here twice before.
She said she was put in a holding cell with two other Jamaican women who were also being deported.
“They were crying and saying that they were being treated like criminals. The cell was small and nasty. There was water on the floor and the toilet was filthy,” she stated.
She said her suitcases were thoroughly searched and later that day she was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital along with three other Jamaicans to be scanned for drugs.
“It was very embarrassing. At one point an Immigration officer told me not to remove my panties and when I didn’t, they said I was hiding drugs. I had to let them know that I?was told not to remove my panties,” she stated.
Proverbs said she was most shocked by the behaviour of the Immigration officials.
“They would come into the room and laugh at us and taunt us. One of them said to me, ‘I saw you stripping in the club’.
I told her I?was not a stripper.”
She said the next day she was treated even worse when her attorney informed her she had the right not to get on the plane.
“They were taking me to board the plane, but they called my husband to collect the wedding cake from me. When my husband came into the door, Mr Trotman rushed in with him and told me that I had the right not to board the plane and I could discuss it with my husband.”
Shonae said she immediately told the Immigration officer that she was not getting on the flight.