Cop denies claims
by Emmanuel Joseph
Jamaican Shanique Samantha Myrie was not subjected to any body cavity search when she arrived at Grantley Adams International Airport on March 14, 2011.
During hours of cross examination before the Caribbean Court of Justice in Bridgetown today, that testimony was given by Police Constable Sirphene Carrington, the Barbadian officer accused by Myrie of taking her to an airport staff bathroom, and carrying out a body cavity search.
Carrington also categorically denied allegations by Myrie that she locked the bathroom door from the inside, made her take off all her clothes, instructed her to turn around and bend over while holding on to a toilet seat, put on gloves and shoved her finger inside her “private parts”.
She also rejected other accusations put to her by Myrie’s lead attorney, Nancy Anderson, that she “felt her up” and groped her breast.
The police officer, who had accompanied her senior colleague Everton Gittens when he interviewed the claimant on the day in question, told the CCJ she did not try to force her finger into Myrie’s vagina a second time, as suggested by attorney Anderson, while referring to the Jamaican woman’s statement.
“After the interview, we (including Gittens) took Miss Myrie to customs to collect her luggage. It was searched there,” the witness stated.
As Carrington was giving her evidence on the details of the alleged body cavity search, Myrie, who sat several feet away, showed little or no signs of emotion.
Dressed in black suit and blue inside shirt, she at times craddled her chin in her right hand or looked thoughtfully at Carrington as she responded to a series of intense questions by Anderson.
The state witness also denied telling Myrie she was her greatest nightmare and that all Jamaicans came to Barbados to steal their men and carry drugs.
Carrington was not called as a witness by the state’s attorneys. President of the CCJ Denis Byron informed the court they decided to summon her, since the Barbados team would not, because the justices felt she could assist the hearing.
Earlier, Police Constable Gittens told the court he did not threaten Myrie if she did not cooperate and tell the truth during his interview with her.
He said when Myrie was at customs with his colleague, Carrington, it was at that time he left and went outside to seek Daniel Forde, the man who Pamela Clarke testified previously in the hearing was the person with whom Myrie was coming to stay.
Gittens’ evidence was that Forde told him Clarke could not drive (to collect Myrie) because her hips were hurting.
“I accused him of lying,” the constable added.
Responding to questions from Justice Wit, he said, on conclusion of his interview, he felt Myrie had come to Barbados to work. When asked by the judge if that was a crime in Barbados, he replied “no”.
But when pressed further for clarification, the police officer said “from my experience, persons who say they met their hosts on the Internet suggest they come to work… I suspect Forde was the kind of person who would bring girls from one country to another”.
Gittens said he did not suspect Myrie was a drug courier.
“The only suspicion I had was that she had come to work,” he added.
Questioned by Justice Hayton, the state witness informed the tribunal that he had a hunch Forde was involved in human trafficking.
“I went no further than that,” added the police officer.
The final witness of the six called today was Assistance Commissioner of Police, Tyrone Griffith, who led a team of investigators looking into the Myrie complaint at the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.
Griffith revealed that his findings were inconclusive, adding that the CCTV cameras installed at the airport on the day in question were of no evidential value, in that the videos they recorded did not show if the police officers went in the direction of the bathroom identified.
It was another day when the public gallery was almost packed. It was also another day on which cellphones rang out, despite members of the audience being warned before hand to turn them off. Unlike other days when that happened, this time the two guilty individuals were removed from the gallery.
The Barbados leg of the hearing ended today and the court will now move to its headquarters in Trinidad and Tobago to hear final arguments on April 8 and 9. firstname.lastname@example.org†