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Jamaica to pursue Shanique Myrie case

Published:Thursday | April 7, 2011 | 8:44 AM

Debbie-Ann Wright, Assistant News Editor

The delegation sent to Barbados to investigate a report of abuse of a Jamaican woman, at one of the country’s airports, returned to Jamaica even more convinced that her allegations warrant a full investigation.

The delegation made a report to Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Ken Baugh on Monday.

They reported that meetings with Barbadian officials, and with Jamaicans living in Barbados, led them to conclude that there are widespread perceptions of negative attitudes towards Jamaicans in Barbados.

Shanique Myrie reported that on March 14 she was subjected to two demeaning cavity searches by a female Barbadian immigration officer and that she was detained for hours for interrogation.

Myrie, who has since retained legal representation to seek redress, said the immigration officer made several derogatory remarks about Jamaicans.

Following her report, Barbadian foreign affairs minister, Senator Maxine McClean, dismissed the allegations as false.

This prompted the Jamaican government to send its own delegation to Barbados to deal with the matter which was threatening relations between Kingston and Bridgetown.

A release issued by Dr. Baugh yesterday, said that the Jamaican government considers the press release issued by Barbados on March 26, regarding the issue, to be an unacceptable response to the formal communication from Jamaica.

He said the Government of Jamaica will be vigorously pursuing this matter.

Dr. Baugh said the details of the delegation’s report have been shared with Myrie’s attorneys, to assist them in determining how best to proceed on her behalf with regard to the alleged illegal cavity search.

He said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Barbados has already indicated that she would welcome a visit from Myrie to Barbados, for the purpose of pursuing further investigations.

Baugh noted, due process can only be served when Miss Myrie is allowed to identify the persons who interrogated her. He said the Government of Jamaica is very serious about defending the rights of its citizens and that Miss Myrie’s case will be pursued on its own merit.

Jamaica and its CARICOM partners must frankly confront any unacceptable intra-regional attitude which could undermine the fabric of the Community, Baugh said.

According to Dr. Baugh the entire CARICOM project could be injured by a refusal to deal with such matters with frankness and honesty.