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CCJ rules in favour of Jamaica’s Shanique Myrie

Shanique Myrie (Jamaica Gleaner photo)

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on Friday ruled in favour of Jamaican Shanique Myrie in her case against the Barbadian government and awarded her damages to the tune of BDS$75,000.

A release from the court said it found that Myrie had been wrongfully denied entry into Barbados, subjected to a humiliating cavity search and unlawfully detained overnight in a cell and expelled from the island.

She instituted proceedings in May, 2012 alleging that Barbados had violated her right to free

movement within CARICOM. Myrie had also claimed that she was subjected to discrimination on the ground of her nationality when Barbadian officials refused her entry into Barbados on March 14, 2011.

Jamaica intervened in the proceedings and at the trial supported the claims of Myrie. She gave evidence, which was corroborated by Jamaican medical practitioners, that the treatment she received continues to cause her post-traumatic stress.

“The Court rejected Ms Myrie’s claim that she was discriminated against on account of her nationality

but found for her on the other claims. In the course of its judgment the CCJ held that CARICOM

nationals are entitled to enter CARICOM Member States, without harassment or the imposition of

impediment, and to stay for up to six months,” the release said.

It noted that this right was derived from the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC) and a 2007 CARICOM Decision made at the Twenty-Eighth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM.

The right requires Member States to give the refused person written reasons for the refusal and also to advise them of their entitlement to access meaningful judicial review. The right may be denied only where the receiving State establishes that the visitor is an undesirable person or one likely to become a charge on public funds.

The Court defined “undesirable” as a person who “poses or can reasonably be expected to pose a genuine present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society.”

The Court also ordered Barbados to refund Myrie her medical expenses, her airline ticket and her reasonable legal expenses.

The full judgment of the Court is available on the CCJ’s website.