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Jamaicans are understandably outraged by the treatment which Ms. Shanique Myrie has reported she experienced in Barbados on March 14.

Given the responsibilities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade to protect the interest of Jamaican nationals overseas, Jamaicans would wish to know what actions the Ministry has taken and will take in response to Ms. Myrie’s report of serious humiliation, abusive and degrading treatment, at the hands of Border Services Officials at the Grantley Adams International Airport.

The Ministry has overtime received mostly anecdotal reports, but few formal complaints alleging unfriendly treatment of Jamaicans in Barbados.

Anecdotal complaints do not equate to substantial statistical evidence.

The case of Ms. Myrie is the most serious one to have been reported to us. The Ministry received her written complaint on Wednesday, March 23. The following day (Thursday, March 24) our High Commissioner in Trinidad and Tobago, HE Sharon Saunders sent Ms. Myrie’s report to the Senior Foreign Service Officer of the Consular/Barbados Network of the Barbadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Foreign Trade and International Business.  She requested that the case be investigated.

Also on the Thursday of, (March 24), the Permanent Secretary (PS), Ambassador Evadne Coye and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Dr. Kenneth Baugh sought to communicate with their respective counterparts in Barbados.

Regrettably, despite repeated attempts to speak with the Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Coye was unsuccessful.  However, on the morning of March 25th, PS Coye faxed a formal Note to the Barbadian Foreign Ministry, stating Jamaican’s grave concern over the reported abusive, inhumane and degrading treatment of Ms. Myrie. The Note requested a thorough investigation and advised that a delegation led by HC Sharon Saunders, would travel to Barbados to discuss the Myrie case, and other reports of disrespectful treatment of Jamaicans in Barbados and entering Barbados.

Minister Baugh spoke with the Barbadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Foreign Trade, and International Business, the Hon. Maxine McClean two times on that day. Among other things, Dr. Baugh had requested statistical data on the arrivals and refusals of Jamaicans over the period 2008-2010.

The information received as a result, follows:

 

Jamaica – Arrival Statistics for years 2008, 2009, 2010

2008          

Arrivals  18,227

Refused 404

2009          

Arrivals   14,952

Refused 218

2010          

Arrivals   17,900

Refused 229

 

The Ministry has sought to address this case through diplomatic channels.  To date there has been no response to its Note faxed on March 25.  However Minister Baugh received from his Barbadian colleague, by email, the text of the Press Release signed by Barbados Government Information Service on 26th March, refuting the report by Ms. Myrie.

A senior level delegation, including officials from the Ministry of National Security/Passport Immigration & Citizenship Agency (PICA), led by HC Saunders, will travel to Barbados this week for free and frank discussions on the Myrie case and on the wider issue of the treatment of Jamaicans by Border Services Officials in Barbados.

 

Issued by: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade