AG clears air
Brathwaite explains payment delay
While acknowledging that lawyers for Jamaican Shanique Myrie have not yet been paid by the Barbados Government, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite this afternoon said that the real story was not being told.
The Jamaica Observer reported Sunday that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had still not managed to secure payment
for lawyers who represented Myrie in the notable case almost two years after its historic judgment.
Myrie was herself paid damages of $76,000 eight months after the decision of the CCJ, which found that the Jamaican woman was unlawfully treated on arrival at Grantley Adams International Airport in March 2011.
The paper also reported that the Government of Barbados remained unmoved, and there was no indication as to when payment, in part or full, would be made to the attorneys.
But the Barbados Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs insisted that the truth needed to be told as to why the lawyers have not been paid as ordered by the regional court.
“Myrie’s lawyers submitted a claim to us. We asked for further particulars since August last year from what I have been told. We have not heard anything from Myrie’s lawyers since then. Ok,” he stated.
“If they had gone to the press in Jamaica to say that they have not been paid, it would have made more sense for them to contact the Attorney General of Barbados and try to see how we can reach an agreement on their fees,” added the Government’s chief legal advisor.
“They have not contacted us since August last year,” Brathwaite emphasized, “and I do not believe it is our responsibility to chase them for their fees.”
An official source told Barbados TODAY that the lawyers for Myrie have asked the Freundel Stuart Administration to pay them US$1 million in legal fees, a figure which has not yet been settled between the two sides.
The source told Barbados TODAY even though the CCJ had ordered Barbados to compensate Myrie and cover the costs of her legal representation, it allowed the parties to work out the amount of special damages and come to an agreement.
When asked to comment on this Brathwaite said Barbados had not questioned the amount charged for general damages, only the special damages which included the expenses. “We have not queried the quantum as yet, we have just queried the special damages that she claimed in terms of her expenses and she has not been able to supply us with that information,” he said.
Myrie had complained of being subjected to a dehumanising cavity search by a female officer at the airport and that she was locked up overnight in a filthy room and sent back to Jamaica the following day.
She sued the Freundel Stuart Administration for damages through the CCJ, which found that she was unlawfully treated and ordered Barbados to pay compensation to her and to cover the costs of her legal representation.
Although the court failed to settle certain aspects of the treatment allegedly meted out to Myrie, it ruled that she had been illegally refused entry into Barbados, and ordered that damages be paid for this.
Having been heard in two stages of the case, Barbados was required to make payments at both. As a result, this country had to compensate the lawyers for amounts from the end of the first stage on April 18, 2012 and the second stage, October 4, 2013.
When the court ruled in Myrie’s favour in the Originating Application on October 4, 2013 it made another award of costs to her attorneys Michelle Brown and Nancy Anderson, with regards to the trial of the matter. These costs have also not been paid.