PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jun 5, CMC – Shanique Myrie, the 24-year-old Jamaican woman, who has taken legal action against the Barbados government after she alleged she was sexually assaulted by a female Immigration officer, insulted, and then denied entry into the country last year, is seeking significant damages including an apology from the Barbados government.
In documents filed with the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which in April granted her special leave to commence proceedings against the Barbados government, Myrie is also claiming J$118,000 (US$1,340) in special damages to cover the cost of airline ticket, medical expenses and a slipper.
In addition she is also seeking unspecified amounts for exemplary damages, aggravated damages and interest.
Her lawyer, Michelle Brown had argued before the CCJ in April that Myrie was subjected to “forceful brutish language” by immigration officials at the Sir Grantley Adams International Airport on her arrival into the country on March 14 last year.
The Jamaican-born attorney said that her client is “still not certain what laws of Barbados she broke” resulting in her being refused entry into a CARICOM country that had signed on to the 2007 declaration allowing for the free movement of people within the region.
“She has suffered direct and indirect discrimination,” Brown said, arguing that Barbados exercised its sovereignty when it signed the 2007 CARICOM declaration and that failure to bring it in line with domestic legislation “does not negate its obligations under international law”.
In the documents filed with the CCJ last month, Myrie wants a declaration that the Barbados government breached her right to enter the country pursuant to Article 45 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement, CARICOM.
She also wants a declaration Barbados discriminated against here “on the ground of nationality only in denying her entry and subjecting her to inhumane treatment” as well as that the action by Barbadian border officials and agents of the government were “null and void”.
Myrie is also seeking an order that the Barbados government issue her with an official document “stating that the denial of entry on March 14, 2011 was unlawful and that the “Cancelled” entry stamp in her passport is null and void.
In addition, she wants an order that the Barbados government “issue an apology …for violating her fundamental human rights and freedom, in particular, by treating her in a discriminatory manner; conducting an unlawful body search; conducting an unlawful cavity search; arbitrarily and unlawfully detaining and verbally abusing” her.
She is also wants the Barbados government to take “reasonable steps to facilitate educational or sensitivity training for all Border Officials on Barbados’ obligations under the Revised Treaty and international human rights law, in keeping with the object and purpose of the Revised Treaty and the goal of free movement”.
In April, the five-member CCJ panel, headed by its President, Sir Dennis Byron, approved Myrie’s application to file the case during a special sitting in Barbados, the first time the regional court, which was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council, sat outside its Trinidad-based headquarters.