KINGSTON: Shanique Myrie, the Jamaican national who successfully challenged the Barbados government after she was denied entry into that country in 2011, says she will file a claim before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) for payment of the compensation awarded to her by the Trinidad-based regional court.
In October 2013, the CCJ ruled that Myrie be awarded pecuniary damages in the sum of BDS$2,240 (One BDS dollar=US$0.50 cents) and BDS$75,000 in non-pecuniary damages.
Myrie alleged that when she travelled to Barbados on March 14, 2011 she was discriminated against because of her nationality, subjected to a body cavity search, detained overnight in a cell and deported to Jamaica the following day. She also claimed that she was subjected to derogatory remarks by a Barbadian immigration officer and asked the CCJ to determine the minimum standard of treatment applicable to CARICOM citizens moving around the region.
She told the Jamaica Observer newspaper last weekend that Barbados appears to be deliberately delaying the payment of the awards.
“I am prepared to go that route,” said Myrie. “It cannot be that the Barbadians just sit back and seem to be laughing at me and by extension, Jamaica. I will not rest until they comply with the order of the court. I have waited patiently and it seems as if it is being delayed out of spite.”
Prior to Myrie’s statements, Foreign Affairs Minister A.J. Nicholson told the Senate that the ball was in Myrie’s court to lodge a complaint to the CCJ about Barbados’ lack of compliance despite a promise by Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart three months ago that payment would be made.
“That was three months ago,” said Myrie. “Have they contacted me or my lawyer? It’s all talk and no action.”
Nicholson said that “based on the court’s directive concerning the manner for securing compliance, it is for the party, Miss Myrie, through her attorneys, and not the intervener (Jamaica), to notify the court of Barbados’ lack of compliance.
“It is, therefore, the duty of the party to file any necessary report or application to the Court with a view to securing compliance by Barbados,” he said.
However, Nicholson said the CCJ had no real powers to enforce its judgments but had instructed that individuals who have been wronged should file a complaint.
“The court has now made it clear that the parties to a case, where judgment has been given and orders made, are at liberty to, and ought to, apply to the Court in relation to concerns they may have in relation to compliance,” he said.
Nicholson also promised that the Jamaica government would make representation on Myrie’s behalf, but warned that it should not be seen as the primary responsibility of the State to secure compliance.
“The Government of Jamaica will continue to make political representation on the issue to the Government of Barbados,” he said. “Indeed, at the last meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in February, I raised the matter personally with the Prime Minister of Barbados and it may be recalled that he issued a statement confirming the intention of the Government of Barbados to comply with the Court’s ruling and I reported to this Honorable Senate accordingly,” he said.