BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – Eight months after the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled in favour of a Jamaican woman who successfully challenged the Barbados government, Bridgetown says it will this week make the payment of compensation awarded to her.
Shanique Myrie had been denied entry into that country in 2011, and the CCJ had in October last year awarded her pecuniary damages in the sum of BDS$2,240 (One BDS dollar =US$0.50 cents) and non-pecuniary damages to the tune of BDS$75,000.
Last week, Myrie threatened to file a claim before the CCJ in order to get Barbados to comply with the ruling.
But Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, said the payment will be made this week “once the money is released from the Treasury.
“I’ve committed that I will speak to the Central Bank and have the money remitted to her attorney’s account, and my word is my bond. It will be done this week.”
“We’ve never had any intention of not abiding by the court’s judgment. We’ve signed on to the CCJ and I’m in full support of the CCJ,” Brathwaite told radio listeners on Monday.
But, in an immediate reaction to Brathwaite’s commitment, Myrie’s attorney, Michelle Browne, was skeptical, saying that she has not received any word from the Barbados authorities.
“We have had a promise that she would be paid by a particular deadline, and she has not been paid any money yet,” Browne told local media as she reflected on experiences since the court award was made.
Last week, Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs Minister AJ Nicholson told the Senate that the ball was in Myrie’s court to lodge a complaint to the CCJ about Barbados’ lack of compliance despite a promise by the country’s Prime Minister Freundel Stuart three months ago that payment would be made.
Nicholson said that “based on the court’s directive concerning the manner for securing compliance, it is for the party, Miss Myrie, through her attorneys, and not the intervener (Jamaica), to notify the court of Barbados’ lack of compliance.
“It is, therefore, the duty of the party to file any necessary report or application to the Court with a view to securing compliance by Barbados,” he said.
However, Nicholson pointed out that the CCJ had no real powers to enforce its judgments but had instructed that individuals who have been wronged should file a complaint.
He said the Jamaica government would continue to make political representation on the issue to the Barbados government.
Myrie, had alleged that when she travelled to Barbados on March 14, 2011 she was discriminated against because of her nationality, subjected to a body cavity search, detained overnight in a cell and deported to Jamaica the following day.
Myrie also claimed that she was subjected to derogatory remarks by a Barbadian Immigration officer and asked the CCJ to determine the minimum standard of treatment applicable to CARICOM citizens moving around the region.