Final submissions in the matter Shanique Myrie v Barbados

4 Apr 2013

The Caribbean Court of Justice will sit on Monday 8th and Tuesday 9th April 2013 to hear final submissions of the parties in the Original Jurisdiction matter of Shanique Myrie v Barbados.

The sitting will take place from 10.00am on both days at Courtroom 1 of the CCJ headquarters in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

 

 

ABOUT THE SITTING

The Caribbean Court of Justice will on the 8th and 9th April hear the closing submissions in the case of Shanique Myrie against the State of Barbados.

On March 14, 2011, Shanique Myrie, a 22-year old Jamaican national, took her first flight from Kingston, Jamaica to the Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados.  She alleges that she was not allowed to leave the customs area in the airport.  She says she was subjected to insults based on her nationality and to a body cavity search in demeaning and unsanitary conditions. Ms. Myrie was kept overnight and deported to Jamaica the next day.

Ms. Myrie alleges that she was discriminated against because of her nationality in violation of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC) and the 2007 Decision of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government. These Agreements, she claims, provide CARICOM nationals with a right of entry to all CARICOM countries.  She also claims that her detention overnight in Barbados was unlawful and that her treatment violated the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter of Civil Society, and other international accords and agreements.

The defendant, the State of Barbados, admits that Ms. Myrie was kept overnight, questioned, and returned to Jamaica the next day, but Barbados maintains that it is not liable to Ms Myrie for the following reasons:

  • the 2007 Conference Decision is not binding because a) it was not approved by an affirmative vote of all the parties as required by Article 28 or the RTC and b) even if properly approved, its language indicates that it was not intended to be binding;
  • that even if the 2007 Conference Decision were compulsory, it would not give Ms. Myrie an unconditional right of entry into Barbados and in light of Ms Myrie’s responses to the questions posed to her, some of which Barbados alleges were clearly false, Barbados was entitled to deport her;
  • that the RTC does not authorize the Caribbean Court of Justice to adjudicate questions arising under the International Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter of Civil Society, or other international declarations, conventions, and accords.

Further, Barbados strenuously denies that any search of Ms. Myrie’s body was ever conducted and Barbados further denies that Ms. Myrie was subjected to discriminatory, cruel, inhumane, insulting, or demeaning treatment.

On the 27th of September, 2012, the Caribbean Court of Justice granted the State of Jamaica permission to intervene in this case. On 29th October, 2012, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) indicated that it will make written and oral submissions in the case.

Following its commitment to improving access to justice to all CARICOM nationals, and as its Rules of Court allow, the CCJ made the historic decision that its Judges will travel to Jamaica and to Barbados in order to hear witnesses and take evidence in those countries. This has saved the parties the expense of flying all their witnesses to the Court’s headquarters in Trinidad.

The trial began in Jamaica on Monday, 4th March 2013 and proceeded from day to day until all the Jamaican witnesses had been heard. The Court then moved to Barbados where the hearing of the witnesses from Barbados commenced on Monday, 18th March.

Counsel for Ms. Myrie, Barbados, Jamaica, and CARICOM will make their final submissions at the Seat of the Court in Trinidad and Tobago on Monday 8th April and Tuesday 9th April 2013.

The Attorneys who have appeared  before the Court are Ms. Michelle Brown and Ms. Nancy Anderson, attorneys-at-law for Ms Myrie; Mr. Roger Forde QC, Mr. Patterson Cheltenham QC, Dr. David Berry, Ms. Donna Brathwaite, Ms. Nargis Hardyal attorneys-at-law for Barbados, Dr. Kathy-Ann Brown, Ms. Lisa White, Mr. O’Neil Francis, attorneys-at-law for Jamaica and Ms. Gladys Young and Dr. Chantal Ononaiwu, attorneys-at-law for CARICOM.

 

Who are the parties and how are they referred to?

  • Ms Myrie is the claimant
  • The State of Barbados is the defendant
  • The State of Jamaica is an intervener.
  • Submissions will also be made by The Caribbean Community (CARICOM)