It’s wrong!

Jamaica accuses Barbados of not honouring international treaty

Jamaica has called on Barbados to respect the rights of its citizens, in the wake of recent complaints of ill-treatment levelled against immigration authorities in Bridgetown.

During a town hall meeting at the Barbados Community College on Tuesday night, the Jamaican High Commissioner to Trinidad David Prendergast, who also has responsibility for Barbados, made specific reference to the Marsha Lee Cooke saga as he zeroed in on challenges facing nationals of his country in gaining entry to Barbados.

Jamaican High Commissioner, David Prendergast, addressing nationals resident in Barbados.
Jamaican High Commissioner, David Prendergast, addressing nationals resident in Barbados.

Cooke, a 30-year-old Jamaican national, was recently found not guilty of assaulting and resisting three police officers on arrival at Grantley Adams International Airport on June 28.  The woman, who was eventually released from lawful custody at the end of what she described as a two-month nightmare in which she claims she was strip-searched twice, accused of bringing drugs into Barbados, beaten, arrested and remanded for 16 days at Dodds Prisons.

Prendergast, who said he had been closely monitoring that situation, said it was “fortuitous” for Cooke that the island had recently reactivated its diplomatic representation in Bridgetown with the appointment of Ella Hoyos as its Honorary Consul.

He went on to credit Hoyos’ efforts, for not only ensuring that Cooke received visits while she was in prison, but also for the necessary legal counsel that led to her acquittal.

However, he said there were other cases in which other Jamaicans were not so lucky.

“A lot of people don’t know their rights. It’s a challenge we’ve had,” said Prendergast, who said he had earlier on Tuesday presented his credentials to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.

However, the Jamaican envoy contended that “under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, you are entitled to a call. Some immigration officers don’t seem to realize that, but it’s there, and all of our countries have signed on to the Vienna Convention.”

“We can’t solve some of the cases, but we have to ensure that your rights and your welfare are taken into account, and to remind people that we have rights too,” Prendergast said in his first public statement on the matter.

Newly appointed Jamaican Honourary Consul to Barbados Ella Hoyos (left), and Jamaica-Barbados Association President, Julian Greig, at last night’s meeting.
Newly appointed Jamaican Honourary Consul to Barbados Ella Hoyos (left), and Jamaica-Barbados Association President, Julian Greig, at last night’s meeting.

The Jamaican diplomat made mention of the Shanique Myrie case which winded up before the Caribbean Court of Justice after “[Myrie] was brave enough to speak out”. He also acknowledged  that “the cases in Barbados have been high-profile cases” but said if regional immigration figures on entry were tracked, they would show that Barbados does not have more issues with Jamaicans than other Caribbean states.  In fact, he acknowledged that  “we have countries where we have more people in prison than Barbados”.

Nonetheless, he also zeroed in on reports from detainees in Barbados who reported being detained until until two in the morning without being allowed a call.

However, he told those gathered: “You are entitled to a call [to] . . . at least to your representative, your family member, or someone, because if you are in distress, people don’t know.”

The envoy also referred to another recent case of a Jamaican man departing Trinidad where he was in transit on a flight to Barbados, but who seemingly disappeared.

“Family outside waiting for him in Barbados. Hours and hours passed and they have no idea where he was.”

Eventually, Prendergast said, the man’s family contacted Hoyos, who relayed the information to the High Commission, which contacted the Barbados Immigration Department.

“They told us that this man was held because he was disruptive on a flight . . . and then he was taken to the lock-ups.

“If we hadn’t had the connection, we would not have known, his family would not have had any idea. We had to track down the immigration people to find out what had happened.”

The Jamaican envoy said that all charges against the man were dismissed when he was finally brought before the court. “The issue of rights is very important. It is a challenge to remind immigration that these people have rights,” the High Commissioner said.

22 Responses to It’s wrong!

  1. BoboTheClown September 8, 2016 at 12:03 am

    Bajans seem to lack basic human dignity when dealing with some visitors. No wonder we are labelled by many other West Indians as being too” British” .We push our noses up,often pretending we are much more than we actually are. We should treat others as we would want them to treat us if ever found in a similar situation.

    • Sherlock Holmes. September 8, 2016 at 4:38 am

      Bobo, i hardly disagree with your posits, but lets get real the Myrie case has opened the door for persons from that same country who has seen the outcome of that case and are prepared to go the same route at all cost to hold this country up to financial ransom for their personal gain.Even if it means the fabrication of stories and we simply cannot bury our heads in the sand to this real possibility.I do not care what is being said by these Jamaicans dignitaries they all have a bond and they will stick together we have to defend the rights that are expected and should be accorded to our land as well,we will not be bullied by those who come here with nefarious intentions and then expect to hold our country up to ridicule,i say a resounding NO.

      • Olutoye Walrond September 8, 2016 at 9:00 am

        Do you really think someone can just fabricate a case and win with the CCJ? Court judgements are based on credible evidence.

        • Sherlock Holmes. September 8, 2016 at 9:07 pm

          I would have seen first hand ,instances where fabrications blew credible evidence out of the water.

  2. Ossie Moore September 8, 2016 at 2:04 am

    Bajans are the worst of all the Caribbean folks and to reiterate what” Bobo the Clown ” said about them being too British it should never be forgotten that Bajans always felt pride inside about Barbados being called ” Little England “. . . . although England never really cared and still does not never care about them.
    Bajans are not very well liked at all and they always expect to be treated better than the other Caribbean folks . They are known for always using ” the comparison factor ” , for example if you say that there is quite a lot of crime in Barbados the average stupid Bajan will reply ” but crime in Barbados is not as bad as in comparison to Jamaica and Trinidad and Guyana etc. ” In fact the only thing that Barbados has got going right now is Rhianna and as soon as she starts putting her clothes back on B’dos will be at the bottom of the barrel.

  3. Sherlock Holmes. September 8, 2016 at 4:27 am

    It is wrong as well for these persons to come here with the tricks and schemes as if they are blatant fraudsters.

  4. seagul September 8, 2016 at 7:28 am

    We are all innocent until proven guilty or fraudulent. The dignitary is only stating that under law we must allow basic rights to one and all. There’s nothing fabricated surrounding that. But it all comes back to a system of pervasive corruption.

  5. Sue Donym September 8, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Calls for Barbados’ airport officials to be professional are in order but Mr Prendergast is not so naive as to expect that ANY country will give up its right to screen potential entrants. The High Commissioner will lose credibility if he insists that there is no reason to think that Jamaicans could be coming for reasons contrary to our laws or customs. Patriotism aside, perhaps he should have a look at statistics for persons found to have transported illegal drugs – by several methods.

  6. Joy September 8, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Barbados is a soft target. Trinidad sends back plane loads of Jamaicans. Jamaica needs to address the fact that many of its citizens travel to commit crime, traffic drugs and to prostitute. They have been held all throughout the region. I agree that rights should be respected but the Jamaicans also need to respect the laws of the countries to which they travel.

  7. harry turnover September 8, 2016 at 8:58 am

    I am not a Policeman ,but do Police Officers have the right to arrest and detained anybody they SUSPECT of committing a crime ? and do those suspects have the right to sue if found not guilty ?
    Every other week a Jamaican or two is found with drugs in their possession and are jailed. Does Bdos have the right to sue the Jamaicans for not properly screening their Nationals before they leave their Country ?
    Barbados needs to take that matter up with the CCJ asap to stop these drug mules from coming and looking for the ” denied entry ” excuse to obtain money.

  8. harry turnover September 8, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Jamaican High Commissioner to Trinidad David Prendergast, who also has responsibility Jamaica accuses Barbados of not honouring international treaty.
    I have NEVER heard of a BARBADIAN being arrested at any of the Jamaican Airports for importing DRUGS ,yet every other week some drug ingested Jamaican is arrested here and you talking about Bdos not honouring an International Treaty.

  9. Alex Alleyne September 8, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Barbados must set a fee of One Million US Dollars on the Country of where the person(s) board the plane and then get caught with drugs in BIM. One cannot just walk on to a plane with drugs without going through security. Barbados must get serious and stop from looking to the world like clowns.
    I am sorry for the ones like this lady.

  10. Tee White September 8, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    The behaviour of these immigration officers is a disgrace to Barbados! When was the last time you heard white tourists from North America or Europe complaining of this kind of treatment at Grantley Adams International Airport? It seems these officers only dish out this kind of racist and disgusting treatment to our Caribbean brothers and sisters. It is time this stupidness get stopped.

    • Sherlock Holmes. September 8, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      When last have you read of Americans and Canadians being arrested and detained at our Airport for narcotic drugs? Some were even jailed for the possession of illegal drugs.

  11. Tee White September 8, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Harry turnover – what about the drugs that coming in on the yachts in Port Ferdinand and Port St Charles? But still the millionaires from North America and Europe don’t get treat like that. If police officers have reasonable reason to believe that some body is breaking the law, they have to take lawful steps to deal with the situation but they can’t just be harassing people because they come from Jamaica. That is called racial profiling and is racist

    • harry turnover September 8, 2016 at 5:01 pm

      Tee White what EXACTLY is your point ? Jamaicans have been ARRESTED at the Airport for bringing in drugs and fined ,confined and deported.How did the Police achieved that ?…not by ARRESTING them ?
      Where is your EVIDENCE of drugs coming in at Port Ferdinand and Port St.Charles and people not being arrested ?
      Are you saying that because those at those Ports are NOT caught that those who are caught should be set free.
      So what is the LAWFUL step the Police should take ?…the ONLY lawful step is to ARREST….and what about those who were caught ,were they harassed too ?
      Instead of critisizing the Immigration Officers why not say to the Jamaican Authorities SCREEN YOUR PEOPLE FOR DRUGS BEFORE THEY LEAVE JAMAICA FOR BARBADOS.
      Jamaica is the ONLY country that Bdos has that problem with,yet you say if someone is caught there is no mention of harassment,but if not caught it is harassment…yet you go on to say that. If police officers have REASONABLE REASON to believe that some body is breaking the law, they have to take lawful steps.

      • Sherlock Holmes. September 8, 2016 at 9:18 pm

        Good points Mr Turnover.

    • Sherlock Holmes. September 8, 2016 at 9:17 pm

      You seem to have intimate knowledge of drugs coming at the ports of entry you mentioned, are you part of a narcotic operation there? If not why haven’t you contacted and informed the police or crime stoppers? Are you just giving your mouth liberty just to give credence to the baloney you wrote above?

      • Sherlock Holmes. September 8, 2016 at 9:20 pm

        A note to Mr Tee White….re ports of entry.

  12. Audley Stewart September 8, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    I am a resident of Jamaica but as a result of living in England most of my life I speak with a very English accent.
    My wife and I travel through Grantley Adams on many occasions in transit or on a visit to Barbados. We observe with interest the immigration officers’ posture and attitude on presentation of our Jamaican passports and the change that sometimes come about once I start to speak. Comments like “oh you live in England” or “you don’t sound Jamaican” sometimes follow. Point is, there are huge assumption been made base on nationality, prejudice by any other name. The irony of this matter is, should we as Caribbean peoples travel to many countries in Europe we could very well be greeted with some degree of hostility and prejudice based, on guess what!!

  13. Tee White September 8, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    The simple point is that we as Bajans cannot tolerate a situation where people, especially fellow Caribbean citizens, are being harassed at the airport and accused of smuggling drugs just because of their nationality. There is no evidence that in the two cases mentioned by Mr Prendergast, these women had anything to do with smuggling drugs. How many times have you heard a story about white visitors from North America or Europe getting treated in ths way and then having had nothing to do with drugs? The Immigration officers should deal with each case on an individual basis, regardless of where visitors are coming from, and stop making assumptions based on people’s nationality.

  14. Terry September 13, 2016 at 6:43 am

    We are outraged by the immigration department’s apparent prejudice against our brothers and sisters (and rightly so in my opinion), yet I think that their hostility stems from wider attitudinal problems in our society that we as Barbadians need address.

    How many times have we witnessed the use of the word “foreigner” reference to one of our caribbean neighbours? My simple question is this, how can a Jamaican, a St Lucian, a Trinidadian etc in Barbados be considered a “foreigner”?


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