Cool it!

Mitchell wants Barbadian authorities to temper their approach

Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell said today he was yet to receive an official complaint from members of an aggrieved Grenadian family of five who claim they were not only falsely accused of stealing a mobile phone in Barbados, but also subjected to humiliating and degrading treatment by officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force.

However, based on what he has heard and seen reported in the media so far of the incident, which is alleged to have involved a strip search of two female members of the Gilbert family, Mitchell has issued a veiled warning to the Freundel Stuart administration that it may need to seriously rein in its law enforcement officers.

“The truth is watching it and listening to it, it doesn’t look well or doesn’t sound well at all, particularly given the need for continued deepening of the [Caribbean Community] family unit,” Mitchell told Barbados TODAY in an interview this evening.

“It seems to me that there might have been an over-reaction from a report, and if what I saw is true, the [Barbadian] police may have to examine their approach in a matter of this nature because, as it turns out, there may not be any basis for it from all reports I have heard,” he added.

What started out as a family’s visit to Bridgetown for a visa appointment reportedly turned into the Gilberts’ worst nightmare last October after a store owner accused one of the women of stealing her mobile phone.

Tamika Gilbert and her sister Lynell subsequently claimed that both them and their cousin were virtually stripped of their dignity by the officers, who shouted at them, insulted them, prevented them from speaking to other family members, brought them water three hours after they had made a request, and had one sister use the toilet with the door opened and an officer standing guard.

However, the sisters, who were also travelling with their mother and father, said the most humiliating part of the experience was when they were actually strip-searched.

“I went to the bathroom and she [female police officer] is at the stall with her back to the door and she said, ‘take your hair down’ cause my hair is in braids and it was in a bun, then she says, ‘take off all your clothes stoop and cough’.

“I started to cry . . . [but] she wasn’t even satisfied with how low I stooped,” said Tamika in recounting the incident to Barbados TODAY last week after she and her sister spoke out publicly for the first time on the incident on a television programme in their homeland on Thursday night.

With the matter still under investigation by Barbadian police, Mitchell said it was “extremely unfortunate” and sent the wrong message about CARICOM.

However, he acknowledged that from time to time there were reports of overzealous customs and immigration officials in the various territories, whose actions appeared to run contrary to the very objectives set by their leaders and their country as a whole.

Admittedly Grenada was not immune to such behaviour, said Mitchell, though he was particularly worried about the growing frequency of such reports with respect to Barbados.

“Maybe what is necessary, like what I do here, is a second look at the operations and the approaches in the system,” he suggested to the Barbados Government amid the worrying allegations by members of the Gilbert family who now swear that they will never visit Bridgetown again.

“Watching it, it looks very painful and if I had a daughter, I certainly would not want her to go through what I saw reported,” Mitchell told Barbados TODAY, who pointed out that the two women at the centre of the strip search allegations were the daughters of a Grenadian pastor.

“I know the family and they have a very good history in terms of their character and conduct in their society, so I don’t know them to be the type of family to walk in and do what I saw reported.”

However, the prime minister said he was prepared to give Barbados the benefit of the doubt, at least until the matter could be fully investigated.

The incident has evoked an emotive response from Grenadians of all walks of life, including some who have called for the withdrawal of diplomatic relations with Bridgetown.

However,  Mitchell, who is married to a Barbadian and also went to school here, said: “That is certainly out the question at this stage”.

In fact he cautioned his countrymen that an over-reaction would not solve the problem, even though he acknowledged that as a private citizen he had encountered “a sense of arrogance on the part of some customs and immigration officials in Barbados”.

Nonetheless, Mitchell was not about to paint all Barbadians with the same brush.

“Sometimes public servants take individual decisions that send a wrong message at the political directorate level and the country level and sometimes we as leaders have to find out the facts and advise accordingly, and that is precisely what will be the approach. But it does not look good and it is not the kind of incident that we want to see prevailing, especially in light of the incident that occurred sometime ago with the Jamaican lady; it is not one that the Barbados Government and people would want to see continue,” he said.

It was an obvious reference to the ugly Shanique Myrie episode on which Barbados was tried, tested and found guilty of infringing the rights of the CARICOM national to enter its doors in keeping with the provisions of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.

While touting the historically strong relations between the two CARICOM countries, Mitchell stressed that “the matter was one that needed to be tackled at the public service and the administrative level within Barbados”.

In the meantime, he expects to receive a formal report on the incident involving the Gilberts before the end of this week.

kaymarjordan@barbadostoday.bb

14 Responses to Cool it!

  1. jrsmith January 17, 2017 at 6:28 am

    As I am always saying we must blame our nation’s failure on our non productive politicians , who treat the majority people of Barbados like second class citizens…they are rude dis honourable and not trustworthy.They are lazy and very detached from our nation……
    As good thinking bajans would realize, these politicians is in power makes you feel as though they are there to destroy our country…
    We have now become a tin pot government, everybody gladly having a swing at us , a bunch of cowboys running the government , the only difference they drive around in flash cars not on horses.
    From one case to another, we must follow Donald Trumps line Barbados first, as the region seems to all want to have a dig at us Caricom a bad mistake , the (CC J) another big mistake ……….

    WE THE PEOPLE OF BARBADOS NEEDS A NEW GOVERNMENT…
    PRIMINISTER ,IF YOU ARE AWAKE YOU AND YOUR MINISTERS DO THE RIGHT THING ,CALL A GENERAL ELECTION….

    Reply
    • Carson C Cadogan January 17, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Rubbish.

      This has nothing to do with the Govt. of the day. Over zealous and out of control BLACK police officers were the ones giving Barbados another black eye.

      The last time with Shanique Myrie, Police and Immigration officers involved. There have a few other complaints from our Caribbean visitors about mistreatment at the hands of state agents here Barbados in the recent past as highlighted in our Bajan press. All we hear is that they are being “investigated” and thats thats.

      This type of bad behavior has been going on for too long time. It is not good enough to just settle these cases with financial payouts. Offending officers must be fired, brought to court on charges or made to financially recompense victims. This is simply not good enough.

      Reply
  2. ralph January 17, 2017 at 9:27 am

    The last officer who was involved in the Myrie case is now managing the cafeteria at that problematic government institution when you can be allowed to shame barbados and be shifted to another cushy job

    Reply
  3. harry turnover January 17, 2017 at 9:49 am

    I would like to know if that family got their visas renewed at the time when they said that they had completed their business “SUCCESSFULLY” before deciding to shop or did they have to wait until their application was reviewed and then notified ?
    Someone said the visas are not issued at the same time but over a period of time.
    @CCC…that IS the Government of the day … he was only mentioning some of their ” highlights ” by taking this opportunity to swipe at wunna…wha wrong wid ya.

    Reply
  4. Helicopter(8P) January 17, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Certainly Honorable Prime-Minister please have the Comissioner of Police look into the conduct of these constables or Non commission officers ASAP. I know Prime Minister Mitchell has know Barbados to be a home away from home during the late sixties and he was welcomed into many Barbadian family homes including my family as a young university student. Your Honor please do not allow junior ranking police personnel to destroy our enormously good relations with our sister state Grenada. I do not know the substantial details but if what is said to be true; I as a fellow Barbadian am truly embarrassed at the performance of those responsible.

    Reply
  5. Zeus January 17, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Forget all the dramatics… Can anyone tell me the correct procedure for the searching of males and females when in custody… If the RBPF followed the wrong protocol and procedure then let there be punishment and compensation… We have a Regional police training college where the FBI RCMP and the British police come to train our officers… Do you believe that the procedure carried out by the RBPF were invented by them

    Reply
    • Donild Trimp January 17, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      Zeus, here is a little lesson for you.

      1: What you learn in “Theory” is not always carried out in “Practice”.

      3: “Stoop, bend over and cough” is not a Police procedure.

      4: You have to know your rights. If the Police ask you to go with them to the Police Station based on a flimsy accusation of larceny by another individual, you do not have to go.

      5: Think about this one, if an individual accused you of stealing their cell phone and the Police told you to “take off your clothes, stoop, bend over and cough”, would that be ok with you?

      Please give an honest answer.

      Reply
      • harry turnover January 17, 2017 at 5:18 pm

        Donald Trimp agree with no.! .With regards to no.2 women have been know to pass drugs through their private parts so therefore are you saying that they stand upright and pass them WITHOUT INSTRUCTIONS from the Police ?
        The ONLY way to pass them IS BY STOOPING and COUGHING TO EJECT THEM,
        As regards to #4 one would have to be CRAZY not to accompany a Policeman to the Station IF the Officer has reasonable grounds of suspecting you of larceny.YOU either go or FACE ARREST
        Larcency fyi IS NOT a FLIMSY accusation and women have been known to carry LARGER objects than cell phones in their private parts.
        …..and

        Reply
  6. George January 17, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    @Harry turnover, YES!! they were successful with their RENEWALS. FYI, two of the sisters have successful business operating in Grenada. The procedures for visa is after you are told that you application is approved, you may travel home with your passport and mail it back with some given protocol or you leave it and return home, using your national ID card.

    Reply
  7. jrsmith January 17, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    @,Carson, C ,C hail, hail, the policing and security of barbados is nothing to do with government…
    I totally agree with you, because one day we hope soon this present government ,would wake from they deep sleep and try remembering why they are call a government……..
    You should be ashamed to mention the (Shanique ) case against Barbados, look who won against barbados and they will all win against us again ………………………………

    Reply
    • Carson C Cadogan January 17, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      People who are degraded and humiliated while in Police custody, treated worst than animals, they should win.

      Reply
  8. Zeus January 17, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Donald I hope you are not letting emotion blind you common sense… The day you move away from your theory to your own practice you are breaking the law …the theory is lawful theory…. When you are asked to accompany the police and you refuse you are arrested on suspicion.. Do you know is after anyone that refused according to you…. Yes that search is legal check the law…. However flimsy that accusation is the investigation must be carried out to the letter of the law….. Anbody can accused another of anything and yes I would be embarrassed but it’s the law

    Reply
  9. Donild Trimp January 17, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Zeus, I can see from your response that you are out of touch with reality and not well versed in the Law so I will leave it there.

    Reply
  10. North Point January 17, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    I think that everyone seemed to be blinded by who the persons are that were involved, and that they all have business, and all of that. Some talked about the government as well. First of all we must always start from the beginning, and then we would not find out selves running off the road in trying to find out who was right or wrong.
    1. A report of a crime was made to the police who are there for that purpose.
    2. It must be treated like any other crime report, and it must be investigated
    3. When the police arrives at the scene and the complainant is there, that person reports the matter to them and as long as it is legitimate he ask for a written statement, this can only be done at a police station and not at the place of the crime
    4. If the suspect (s) is there that person(s) (are) is told of the report and is then asked to accompany the police to the station where further investigations will be carried out.
    5. If that person refuses then the police can arrest them on suspicion of having committed a crime (THEFT)
    6. The procedures at the station are the normal procedures for that kind of crime, “intimates searches” sometimes the body cavities are involved, women are known to secure objects in their “PRIVATE PARTS” .
    7. As long as the police officers involved followed those guide lines then all should be well. If they did not well heads should roll.
    8. Don’t get carried away because you don’t like the police, or had some bad experience with them, they are human,
    9. So just give a balance to your thoughts in this matter
    10. I know that the media has caused this matter to hype. If it was not there im sure that all of those sorry comments would not have been said.
    11. Last but not least, do you all think that that report of “THEFT” was the only report of “THEFT” that was reported for the week and persons were taken into custody and searched. I don’t think so.
    12. Zeus you know a thing or two, just teach them.
    13. And you know something, it will not be the last.
    14. If they want to milk the cow, “BARBADOS” go for it.
    15. Ching ling, $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    Reply

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