(Barbados Nation) The government of Barbados has been accused of being involved in a “huge cover-up” after local authorities trampled on the rights of Jamaican woman Shanique Myrie.
That claim was made yesterday before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) by the lawyer representing Myrie in her discrimination case against Barbados.
Attorney Michelle Brown, in her closing argument before the six-judge panel at the CCJ’s Henry Street, Port of Spain headquarters, urged the court to completely believe the entire testimony of Myrie because the woman’s evidence had remained consistent and accurate throughout the process of the hearing before the CCJ.
Myrie claims she was discriminated against because of her nationality when she arrived in Barbados on March 14, 2011. The 22-year-old also claims she was subjected to a body-cavity search in unsanitary and demeaning conditions before being detained and deported the next day back to Jamaica.
In a 43-minute submission yesterday which attacked the quality of evidence given in Barbados between March 18 and 20, Brown urged the court to find the evidence of Barbadian police officers Everton Gittens and Sirphene Carrington as “untruthful” and therefore not credible.
It was Gittens and Carrington who interviewed Myrie in a police office at the Grantley Adams International Airport after she arrived in the country.
During testimony in Barbados on March 19, Carrington stoutly denied she ever searched Myrie’s body in a bathroom at the airport’s police facility.
“There was a clear level of collusion by Everton Gittens and Miss Carrington. This involved a huge cover-up,” Brown told the court. “Both of these police officers provided statements which were almost identical in most instances. In essence, their statements were letters written to the Commissioner of Police. They were not taken under oath, or sworn when they were provided. These statements were not properly taken for investigative purposes,” Brown added.
The lawyer said that since Myrie’s initial claim she had openly admitted to making a mistake, but that the remainder of her testimony had shown to be steady. “Miss Myrie gave the same version of her story to Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials in Jamaica. She did the same to police in Barbados and provided detailed comments of the rooms she was placed in which could only have come if she was in those rooms. Had she not seen those conditions, she would not have been able to so accurately describe them,” Brown told the court.
The Jamaican attorney also asked the court to discard the testimony of Gittens and Carrington as not credible, and that of Pamela Clarke. During testimony in Barbados last month, Clarke said she had never had a conversation with Myrie, and also denied knowing the Jamaican woman.
“We would ask the court to find that it is not probable someone like Pamela Clarke, a middle-aged lady, would have allowed her name to be used like that. Based on Miss Myrie’s information given to Immigration Officer Merlo Reid, she was cleared to enter Barbados.
Myrie had told Immigration Department officials that Clarke would have been her host during her 15-day stay in Barbados.
The lawyer also contended that Myrie had a right not to be subjected to prejudicial treatment or torture, as well as cruel and inhumane treatment when she arrived in Barbados.