The union representing Immigration officers has warned
them to be on their guard, following last week’s landmark
judgment, handed down by the Caribbean Court of Justice
in response to an action filed by Jamaican Shanique Myrie
against the Barbados Government.
The aspect of the judgment that has most concerned
the Immigration officers’ bargaining body the National
Union of Public Workers relates to new guidelines laid
down by the court regarding the treatment of CARICOM
nationals who come to Barbados.
For example, all CARICOM nationals are now
entitled to an automatic six-month stay in each other’s
country. Where a Community citizen is refused entry
on a legitimate ground, that national should be given the
opportunity to consult an attorney-at-law, a consular
official of his or her country, or to contact a
Using the accountability principle, Barbados and other
regional states that refuse entry of a Caribbean national
are now required to promptly, and in writing, inform that
person not only of the reasons for denied entry, but also
of his or her right to challenge that decision.
In this regard, the CCJ indicated that it expected
Barbados to interpret and apply its local laws liberally, so
as to harmonize them with Community law, or, if this is
not possible, to change them.
The regional panel of judges also ruled that, where
freedom of movement within CARICOM was concerned,
local courts or tribunals would be guided by the CCJ as it
sets out the relevant Community law.
If, in the course of a local proceeding, new issues arise
that have not been addressed by the CCJ, local courts
and tribunals are required to refer these new matters
to the regional court of justice for determination before
NUPW general secretary Denis Clarke told Barbados
TODAY the ruling had “serious” implications for
“We have not met yet to deal with the ramifications
of the decision, but from its face value, we would want
them [Immigration officers] to be cautious in what they are
doing. We would have to get together to deal with this,”
“There must be some amendments to our Immigration
laws to deal with the CCJ judgment,” the trade union
In her case, Myrie claimed that when she arrived at
the Grantley Adams International Airport on March 14,
2011, she was made to undergo a painful and humiliating
body cavity search by a Barbadian border official, that
her detention cell was insanitary, and that this and other
treatment to which she was subjected amounted to a
serious breach of her right to free movement and also a
violation of her fundamental human rights and freedoms.
The Jamaican woman also claimed an entitlement to a
right to free movement within the Caribbean Community,
specifically a right of entry without any form of harassment,
based on the combined effect of Article 45 of the
Revised Treaty Of Chaguaramas and a decision of
the Conference of Heads of Government in 2007.
Myrie had also alleged that Barbados breached her
rights to non-discrimination on the grounds of nationality
only, and to treatment that was no less favourable than
that accorded to nationals of other CARICOM states.