Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer
In a landmark ruling this morning, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), laid out clear rules for the treatment of Caribbean nationals travelling throughout the region.
The CCJ has also outlined the grounds on which immigration and border officials across the region can deny access to CARICOM nationals.
The declarations formed part of the ruling in the Shanique Myrie case, which was handed down at the CCJ headquarters in Trinidad and Tobago and streamed live by video conference in the Supreme Court in downtown Kingston.
In awarding Myrie pecuniary damages totalling J$3.6 million, the CCJ said it found that she was wrongfully denied entry into Barbados by border officials in 2011.
Attorney-at-Law Michelle Brown, who represented Myrie, says this ruling by the CCJ sends a very clear signal to regional governments.
Myrie had claimed that she was subjected to a painful and humiliating body cavity search by Barbadian border officials.
She also claimed that she was held overnight in an unsanitary cell before being deported to Jamaica the following day.
These claims were, however, denied by the Government of Barbados.
Although agreeing that Myrie was wrongfully denied entry, the Barbados government dismissed her claim that she was denied entry solely because she was Jamaican.
Attorneys for the Barbadian government had argued that Myrie was rightly denied entry because she was untruthful about the identity of her host in Barbados.
IThe CCJ acknowledged that it does not have the jurisdiction to grant some of the orders Myrie sought, particularly on the grounds of human rights violations.
President of the CCJ Dennis Byron, in handing down the ruling, said the court was fully satisfied that its findings were fully supported by the objective evidence, the testimony of witnesses and the reasonable inferences it was able to make.
Myrie's attorney says the ruling by the CCJ vindicated her client, but more importantly it has wider implications for the treatment of CARICOM nationals travelling throughout the region.
Brown points out that the CCJ's decision is final and cannot be challenged.
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