UPDATED: March 27, 2011 10:14 pm
Barbados Government: “Shanique Myrie is lying. There was no body cavity search”
After three days of investigations, however, McClean told reporters:“There is absolutely no truth to a story carried in a Jamaican newspaper on Thursday, March 24, that a female citizen of that country was body-searched by Immigration officers on arrival at the Grantley Adams International Airport.”
In a prepared statement, she added: “Chief Immigration Officer Ms Erine Griffith has refuted this allegation made in the Jamaica Observer. She has confirmed that her department and Customs ‘have carried out extensive investigations and the claims were baseless’.”
From The Nation story: Finger Rape Claim Untrue
Shanique Myrie: “I am not lying. They are the ones who are lying”
“I am not lying. They humiliated me and searched me like I was an animal. They can carry me back to the Barbados airport and I can show you every room they took me into. I can identify the woman who defiled me. They are the ones who are lying,” she told the Sunday Observer.
Shanique Myrie in the Nation News: Jamaican Myrie plans to sue
UPDATED: March 25, 2011 3:57 am
Barbados Government says Shanique Myrie involved in Human Trafficking
“No record” of vaginal search.
The Barbados government issued a statement late last night about the Myrie incident. Does “no record” mean the vaginal search never happened or does it mean something else? We’ll be watching this story closely, but as we said before…
“Even if Ms. Myrie was suspected and then deported for good reason such as gang affiliation or crimes committed in Jamaica, she deserves to be treated with human dignity.”
That dignity is not only about ensuring that when necessary, cavity searches are performed by qualified personnel under as clean and dignified circumstances as possible, it’s also about a bare foam mattress with no bed linen, no shower etc.
Barbados scored badly in the latest Trafficking in Persons Report, so on one hand it is good to see the authorities paying attention to the problem. On the other hand, as the Trafficking in Persons Report states, one of the big problems with prosecuting the traffickers is that the first reaction by authorities is to immediately deport the witness, in this case Ms. Myrie.
It looks like our leaders need to read that Trafficking in Persons Report again because rather than charging the Bajan male trafficker mentioned by government, they sent the witness back so the trafficker will continue in business.
As the TIP Report says of Barbados:
“Law enforcement and immigration officials continued to summarily deport undocumented foreigners without determining whether they are trafficking victims, the government opened no investigations into possible cases of sex or labor trafficking, and it did not prosecute any trafficking cases during the year. Therefore, Barbados is placed on tier 2 Watch List.”
… from page 73 of the Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 (available at US Dept. of State link here)
Our original story…
Is our title really so provocative if it is the truth?
Jamaican Shanique Myrie (photo above) flew into Barbados on March 14, 2011. Upon arrival, she was strip-searched and then a female Barbados Immigration officer shoved her finger into her vagina twice while continuously spewing venom about Jamaicans, according to Ms. Myrie.
Immigration officials thoroughly examined her clothes and luggage and found nothing. Nonetheless she was denied entry, confined to a cell for the night and then summarily ejected onto a flight the next morning without time to brush her teeth or shower.
“Every time that a flight arrives from Jamaica, the nothing-to-declare line is automatically closed. We are treated like criminals by the authorities.”
Jamaican Jaydene Thomas, now an attorney in Barbados
Persons detained by Barbados Immigration deserve respect and dignity
We don’t know if Ms. Myrie is a convicted mass murderer, prostitute, Nazi party member and child pornographer who was coming to Barbados to destroy our country. What we do know is that she was not carrying a kilo of cocaine in her luggage, clothes or vagina.
We also know that she was placed in a cell with another woman being deported. The cell contained one raw foam mattress with no bed linens.
Even if Ms. Myrie was suspected and then deported for good reason such as gang affiliation or crimes committed in Jamaica, she deserves to be treated with human dignity.
After reading the Jamaica Observer, we don’t believe that Barbados Immigration authorities are in the right here. We believe that they acted improperly, but we’re willing to listen to the other side of the story.
What we need to hear from the Barbados Immigration leadership…
Bajans, Jamaicans and the world need to hear more details about why Ms. Myrie was chosen for special attention. Is it that she was a single Jamaican female traveling alone? Or is it something more.
If the standard is “single Jamaican females traveling alone must undergo a finger in the vagina to be admitted to Barbados”, then Jamaica and the world need to know.
If Ms. Myrie was given special attention for other reasons, the world needs to know that too.
Jamaica Observer: Finger-raped in Barbados