by Shawn Cumberbatch
The political party which forms Barbados’ new government after this month’s general election will be almost immediately faced with an escalated judicial investigation into “finger rape” allegations by a Jamaican woman.
Not only has the Caribbean Court of Justice ordered that a female Barbadian immigration officer who is alleged to have committed the act against Shanique Myrie in 2011 give evidence, but the Jamaica government is being allowed to call four witnesses.
Additionally, on the afternoon of March 16, the regional court is expected to oversee an inspection of sections of the Grantley Adams International Airport mentioned in the evidence of Myrie’s case against Barbados.
These decisions were made yesterday during an hour-long hearing of the CCJ held by Justices Desiree Bernard, Jacob Wit, and Justice Winston. The case between Myrie and Barbados, with the Jamaican government acting as an intervenor, will be held in Jamaica between March 4 and 12, continuing in Barbados from March 18 to 22.
At yesterday’s application hearing, during which Roger Forde, QC, represented Barbados, Michelle Brown represented Myrie, and Deputy Solicitor General, Dr. Kathy-Ann Brown the Jamaican government, the CCJ panel ruled that based on the allegations made by Myrie, including those against the Barbados immigration officer, it was “crucial” for that individual to give evidence.
During several submissions involving the lawyers and the court on this specific matter, Forde agreed to produce a witness statement from the officer by Tuesday next week after Myrie’s attorney voiced concern about the absence of such.
“We believe from all the evidence that we have gotten, from the evidence of the defendant himself, that this individual is an individual that is very important to the court coming to the truth of what happened on the 14th of March (2011),” lawyer Brown told the court.
“We believe that (the immigration officer) is important in assisting us before the court (in proving) our claim and therefore we have asked for her to be brought as a witness in this matter.”
Anderson said the CCJ was summoning the officer to give evidence in court “in order to prove the truth or falsity of the facts which have been alleged”. As for the walk through/inspection at Barbados’ airport, Bernard said this would be “done under the control of the court and we think this is in keeping with our rules of procedure”.
“Those who we would like to be present would be of course the claimant [Myrie] and certain persons from the defendants. We accept the fact that the manager of the airport will be the one who will guide us through the walk through,” she said.
“I think if there are any matters which during the walk through counsel for the parties need some answers to, or places which they need to see, such information should be relayed to the president of the court who would facilitate this and make the decision.”
Anderson added that the court “will want to see the rooms that are mentioned in several statements maybe for itself” and would probably ask Myrie to “go through it with the court and indicate which rooms she mentions when she made the statement, and also the witnesses of the defendant they also speak about rooms and bathrooms and so on”.
“It’s not meant to be an examination of witnesses, but to get clarification of statements, which rooms they really mean etcetera. That I think will be the extent of the inspections so that we can all get a clear picture of how to situate the statements of these witnesses,” he added.
There will be a pre-trial review for the Myrie case on February 27 and those involved have until next Thursday to file and serve whatever documents they wish to. email@example.com