THE EDITOR, Sir:
I listened with shared passion to the evocative presentations by the representative of the Jamaican Government as she made her opening remarks for the State's case in the Caribbean Court of Justice Shanique Myrie trial's just-concluded Jamaican sitting at the Conference Centre, as she summarised the broad brush drawn across Jamaicans visiting Barbados, and the intrusive questioning and indignities to which we are treated.
I could not restrain myself from thinking: Why is similar concern not expressed for degrading procedures recently adopted by our own local law enforcement to our own people?
Persons taken into custody for alleged traffic breaches, others who have been charged and offered bail, and are simply awaiting their papers to be processed are reportedly now subjected to unspeakable indignities. In particular, it now seems routine to carry out strip and cavity searches on such persons. "Take your clothes off! Bend over and cough!" Oh, no! What next? And this from fellow Jamaicans. I have had this complaint made to me by clients.
The objections made by me on behalf of at least one of them to the authorities have gone unanswered, and the Independent Commission of Investigations seems unable to investigate it unless my client is willing to put herself forward as a complainant. She apprehends that to do so would cause her more trouble.
As we turn the searchlight on treatment meted out to our citizens by our Caribbean neighbours, we should, at the same time, undertake some self-examination. What lessons do we impart to our people as to the value of their own humanity and individual worth when we subject them to avoidable and unnecessary indignities?
JACQUELINE SAMUELS-BROWN (QC)