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Myrie firm on cavity search

KINGSTON — Jamaican Shanique Myrie today defended and maintained her account of events on the day she claimed she suffered a “cavity search” at the Grantley Adams International Airport two years ago.

And as her case against Barbados opened this morning at the Jamaica Conference Centre, lawyers representing her before the Caribbean Court of Justice insisted her rights as a CARICOM national had been breached here and that she suffered an unlawful, “painful and embarrassing cavity search” for “illegal drugs” by officers of the police Drug Squad.

Myrie, who was cross examined by the head of the Barbados legal team Roger Forde, Q.C., today and will be questioned further when the hearing resumes tomorrow morning at nine, told the court that her recollection of events on the afternoon of March 14, 2011 when she approached “window number 12” at GAIA were accurate.

“I went to window 12 the lady, she asked me where I was staying, I told her. I gave her the number of the person with whom I was staying, then she stamped in my passport ‘entry’ and then she took my passport into the immigration room or office and she told me to come with her into the waiting area, which I did, then she went away with the passport,” she said when Forde asked for a sequence of events following her arrival at the airport here.

“A gentleman came by, he had my passport and he asked me who I was staying with and I told him and I gave him the address and the phone number of the person. I waited and he came back and told me to come upstairs with him.”

Forde: “I am suggesting to you that the female officer did not stamp your passport.”

Myrie: “I disagree with you Sir,” she responded.

Forde: “I am suggesting to you that your passport was stamped by a male officer…”

Myrie: “No Sir.”

Myrie also disagreed with Forde that the immigration officers who processed her on the day were wearing uniform.

“I am suggesting to you that all immigration officers on duty that day were wearing uniform,” Forde said.

“I disagree with you Sir,” she responded. Forde: “And I am also suggesting to you that the first immigration officer with whom you spoke … was dressed in uniform.”

Myrie: “No, Sir.”

Forde: “Are you aware that there is video footage of your arrival at Grantley Adams (International) Airport?”

Myrie: “Yes Sir.”

Tomorrow it is expected that Forde will question Myrie, who is currently unemployed but told the court she worked “in food and beverage”, about her alleged cavity search, which she spoke of in her January 8, 2013 witness statement.

However, one of her attorneys Nancy Anderson told the CCJ panel her client was certain such a search did take place.

Anderson, who is appearing in association with attorney-at-law Michelle Brown, said the case was about two of the most important fundamental rights within CARICOM, freedom of movement of CARICOM nationals within the community and non discrimination on grounds of nationality.

“Miss Myrie was subjected to an offensive body search, a painful and embarrassing cavity search, a search for illegal drugs, and an illegal search in breach of the national laws of Barbados, in breach of its international obligations and in breach of the revised treaties, objectives and the rights and benefits the Treaty (of Chaguaramus) sets out for Community nationals,” Anderson said in her brief opening address. (SC)

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