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A Jamaican man, who claims he was locked up in the maximum security section of Her Majesty’s Prison in Barbados for two years without being brought before a court, says he is suing that state for false imprisonment, wrongful arrest and pain and suffering.

Fifty-year-old Jahnoy Cassells said the xenophobia of an immigration officer resulted in him being arrested and thrown into prison despite committing no crime or breaching any immigration law. Cassells said he was living in Guyana and travelled to Barbados at the invitation of the Barbadian parents of his girlfriend, who was born in Guyana.

“I got no hassle at the airport and was in Barbados for a couple weeks before I decided to access a work permit so I could organise a reggae concert featuring Sugar Minott, who fathered four children with my sister,” Cassells told the Jamaica Observer.

It was when he went to the immigration department in Barbados in January 2010, Cassells said, that his ordeal began.

He said after an immigration officer began perusing his application, the officer told him that Jamaicans were not wanted in that eastern Caribbean state. “He just said ‘we don’t want you here’. I asked why and said what he was doing was wrong but he took my documents and arranged for me to be taken to the (Grantley Adams) airport.

They locked me in a cell and tried to deport me the next day,” he said. Cassells claimed that the immigration official, upon learning that he was in the country with his Guyanese girlfriend, sent for the woman and ordered her to bring his belongings.

“When she arrived with my things, them lock her up too, and send her out of the country. Dem tell her say she should never deh with no Jamaican, is a Barbadian she should have and she wouldn’t get that treatment,” he said. According to Cassells, his Jamaican passport had expired and he was given special documents with which to travel by the Guyanese Government.

The authenticity of the documents were not challenged by the Barbadian authorities at the airport, he said, and he even made efforts to collect the passport, for which he had previously applied, from the Jamaican consulate in Barbados as the consulate in Guyana had recently shut down operations.

“The next day they came for me and attempted to deport me, but I refused, all the time telling them that I did not commit myself criminally so I can’t be deported and what they were doing was wrong,” he said. “The immigration officer attempted to give my documents to an air hostess and I objected strongly because she was not qualified to handle my documents.

They handed the boarding pass and the documents to me and I tore them up. The pilot then stepped in and said he was not flying with me,” he said. But Cassells’s actions only seemed to infuriate the Barbadian authorities more and soon he was carted off to prison, he alleged.

“They came for me in plainclothes and took me to Her Majesty’s Prison. There I was placed in the maximum security section with convicted murderers and all kinds of hardened criminals when I never committed a crime,” he said, while fighting back tears. He claimed to have endured a life of hell for two years inside the penal facility which is located at St Phillips and houses male, female and juvenile detainees and convicts.

“I was only let out to bathe. It was constant lock-down. I don’t eat meat and they carried pork for me. I went on a hunger strike and they stripped me of my clothes and locked me down in a cell with just four walls for weeks. I had to sleep on bare concrete naked.

I endured hell and all the while I was thinking that I never committed a crime to deserve such inhumane treatment,” he said. Cassells claimed to have witnessed an inmate on the R block where he was housed commit suicide. “The man had months to go to finish his sentence and his mother came to look for him regularly.

I watched as he tore up a sheet and hung himself in his cell. That is how hard the prison conditions are. His sentence would soon be over and he still killed himself,” Cassells said. He said after a while he began contemplating suicide himself, when it seemed that he had no hope of attaining freedom.

“The warders kept telling the other prisoners that I was withholding information from customs. I was never taken to court and every letter I wrote to the Jamaican consulate, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and my relatives were torn up by the guards. No one knew where I was,” he said. The obviously broken man told the Sunday Observer that after he had spent one year and eight months incarcerated, a guard overheard him planning to kill himself and had him taken to a psychiatrist.

“I told the psychiatrist I was not crazy but had been kidnapped and locked in the prison for almost two years without being taken to court or committing any crime. He was very shocked and told me to keep it to myself as he was going to assist me. The doctor got in touch with the Jamaican consulate and efforts started to be made to get me out,” he said.

With tears in his eyes, Cassells claimed that it was only then that he was allowed to contact his relatives. “I called my son’s mother in Canada and immediately she started asking me how I treat her so and how my son was wondering if I was dead. I told her what happened to me and she grew very upset and demanded to speak to the prison authorities.

I put them on the phone, but I am not sure what they said,” he claimed. The Sunday Observer has since contacted the woman in Canada who confirmed that she had written him off and was shocked to know of his ordeal. “I wasn’t sure if he was still alive. They did not give me any good explanation why they treated him like that and locked him up for nothing.

It was a terrible time for my son, who kept asking for his father,” the woman said. Cassells is the father of four more children. When the details of his tribulation at the hands of the Barbadian authorities came to light, the Jamaican Government started making efforts to get him out of prison. In three months, exactly two years to the date when he was flung into a maximum security cell, he was released.

“I never even knew that Michael Jackson died. I never saw daylight for a long time. There were Africans in the prison who overstayed their time and they were held in the minimum security section where they could play cards and watch TV, but because I was Jamaican they treated me like a dog,” Cassells charged.“I did not deserve that treatment, as I am an honest man who has never been in trouble with the law.

They robbed me of two years of my life for nothing,” he said. Cassells was full of praise for the bravery of Shanique Myrie, who was recently awarded damages by the Caribbean Court of Justice against Barbados for inhumane treatment at the hands of a female Barbadian immigration official who subjected her to a degrading body cavity search, and accused her of coming to Barbados to steal their men and being a drug mule.

Myrie was locked in a filthy cell before being deported back to Jamaica the following day. “I am proud of what she has done because I, too, have felt it at the hands of the Barbadians and it is no lie that they hate Jamaicans and Guyanese people,” he said. Repeated attempts over the past three weeks by the Sunday Observer to contact Barbadian attorney Alair Shepherd, who Cassells says is representing him, have not been successful.


  1. I only hope a really big powerful law firm will take on one of these cases and take it to the world stage so these abuses happening in that country will cause them serious financial consequences. Only when they have to pay Millions in fines and their precious tourism industry threatened will the Bajans be forced into reform. Tek it to the World Press. Expose dem. The few shillings dem gi Myrie fi dun it will not bring about change. My yute, leggo di likkle attorney. Contact every news outlet you can find. Start with A.P., Reuters, WSJ, New York Times, Washington Post, London Times…….get the word out.

  2. Wat a wicked set a ppl smh a long time dutty Barbados nuh like wi. Mi feel it fi di man mek dem gwaan cuz time ago catch up pon dem…Jamaicans fi stop go a Barbados & Trinidad

  3. I agree with pretty nikki, Bahamas dont like us Jamaicans either. Went threw almost the same experience there in Bahamas, they made it clear they don’t like Jamaicans.I was 7 months pregnant and detained because my childs father who I went on vacation with at the time passport was expired which had nothing to do with me, but my documents where up to date. Thank God I had dual citizenship with the US so the American embassy was notified of my situation after i was held in lock up…..dirty cell and no communication to the outside world or food! Too bad for my child’s father the US couldn’t help him. They held him for three months without reason and we had to purchase his ticket back home after threatening law suits for his release.

  4. Dem hate we pon JMG tu….da hate is everywhere…sickenin.
    Sorry fi d bigman…cyant deny dat!!!!
    Blessup JMG, met, jmg crew, bloggers, peepers an all.

  5. Mek ma laugh do !!! So because Shanice sued & got money everybody feel them gine sue Barbados & win… Lmaoo fyi them will turn over in them grave first before them see that money…

    1. Baj, I’d like to know…if you can enlighten me some on the matter…why such a strong hatred towards Jamaicans? Are there any conversations amongst your family members n’ friends and if so, what sorts of things do they say about Jamaicans, or is the hatred towards all “outsiders”?

    2. Dis is funny too u….small islander.
      Like met said we will c!
      U hav just confirmed the hatred…bajan!!!!
      Shanice get, him ah guh get….watch!!!

  6. Is awrite Baj….yu tink a di sue mi a pree? Widdout tourism whe Barbados have? Mek di world know seh dem love abuse people. Watch dem apologize when di tourism get weak and countries put out travel advisories.

    1. Sorry fi tell you willie but Barbados naa go pan no travel advisory because of a few Jamaicans. It is sad yes, but a so the ting set.

  7. After reading what he went through I hope he gets justice$$$$$$$. But lets not pretend that this only happens to Jamaicans. It overwhelmingly happens to people of colour from all over the world, especially if one’s pigment is of the darker variation. I can almost guarantee that Syrian,Chinese and Caucasian Jamaicans are not being treated this way when they visit these countries.


    1. I understand your frustration, but in the future it would be wise to think before you speak. If you didn’t know let me be the first to tell you all of us are one.

  9. Stop it! This is the problem with all brown people all over the world, killing and hating on each other while the enemies watch us at courtside seats smiling from afar. I am bajan and i never hated on jamaicans or any nations where my peoples suffer everyday, never did never will. i grew up in a big community where reggae and dancehall played from every direction and i never once heard anything bad about jamaicans, I live with peoples from different nations in my community and never had a problems getting along. But let me say this, I strongly believe that the government of Barbados is discriminating against the jamaican people with evil intentions, stereotyping and bad minded behavior. so with all that said i hope he really finds a good law and sue for millions, he should of never spent a min in maximum security much less two yrs.
    P.S. Brown people been brainwashed from slavery days and even in today society we still are. Your government and my government are no exception to this fate, they all are control by one force and thereby sell they soul for a dollar dollar bill y’all. Me personally, i vote for GOD only but i also refuse to worship fictional characters in a book meant to control nations with pale faces, red hair and green eyes images all over brown ppl churches. Jews are invaders of Israel and so is the letter J which isn’t even in the Hebrew languages.

  10. What’s up w/Barbados? I travel there yearly & I definitely have noticed the distain towards Jamaicans there. Why? Where it stem from? One of their officers made some rude as comment to me b/c she heard my accent. Truth of the matter is I’m American born so what’s the problem? I challenged her authority after she told me “Open your bag!” I told her to open it herself since it’s her job. When she saw my badge she fell the f**k back! I told her no matter where I’m from or where SHE thinks I’m from I’ll notify the US Embassy & let them know they’re harassing folks for DISCRIMINATION! She STFU & closed my bag & was like “YOU CAN GO!” I noticed the male officers don’t behave that way but the female officers are OVERLY aggressive there.

  11. Its sad that they eowould treat people that way nd for them to say Jamaicans go to their country to take their women nd men what nonsense is that, that’s crazy for aggovernment to imprison a Jamaican because they don’t like the people, I advise all Jamaicans not to go back to them country because u don’t see daylight he was lucky the doctor helped him cah he would of still been lost in their prison system… I hope he gets all what he ask for nd that government expose for the evil they are… I woukdnt go and visit their country not at all!!!

  12. MET a weh KGN 13 deh. a him this a post pon observer website? a cyan the same bredda this.

    ” kgn 13 yute
    • 15 hours ago

    Just so you know. A visa is an invitation to a country’s border. When you get there its up to immigration if they want you to enter or not. After entering they have all rights to ask you to leave.

    Consult an immigration lawyer if you need confirmation.

    Regarding me being behind bars. It has never and will never stop me from traveling. I have no issue clearing immigration.

    Please answer my question. If you were asked to do some time for Mr. Cassell to be compensated would you.

    You mentioned not walking away when you are wronged and also of being a coward.

    I would never encourage anyone to risk prison for something as stupid as what he did. He should have boarded that flight.

    His actions cost him two years. Like I said for his stupidity and arrogance he should have done 15.

  13. anyway is about time this f**kery stop now. the worst thing me ever hear anybody seh bout we apart from we self was from a bajan. and this about 20 years ago when me a yute a england this was from 3 old bajan bredda who never know me a hear weh dem a say inna one car repair shop. this no have nutten fi do wid drugs inna barbados cah dem man yah lef bados even long before yardman start go deh go do dem things deh.

  14. when Jamaican travel to these small islands we are only putting our selves in danger. I traveled to Bermuda and showed Jamaican docs the immigration lady held me in the airport for over two hours, I was the only one stopped on that particular flight every one looked at me funny, she emptied my bags mined u no questions asked, and wiped it with something on a white stick and placed it in a machine ,and took apart my suit case handles telling me they found traces of cocaine, as old as I am ivd never seenit in real life only tv and internet so I kept calm she then asked why I was traveling from Canada an hour and a half later so I then explained im a student they ask me the course im taking even my professor names call multiple other official uniformed and plain close two flight came in after mine and I was still standing there 30 min later they just say pack up ur things and go so I did. my driver waited for me and was just about to leave I was scared at one point cause I don’t save people number in my head and knew know one this was my first vacation at spring break my driver is correctional officer and he told me he expected it but not for me to take so long he said be cause lots of young girls carry drugs into and out of the island that’s y it happened.

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