Barbados policeman denies Myrie was subject to cavity search, mistreatment

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday March 22, 2013 - A police officer accused of conducting a cavity search on Jamaican Shanique Myrie vehemently denied the allegation as she took the stand before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on Thursday.

As the Barbados leg of the case wrapped up after four days of testimony, Constable Sirphene Carrington, an officer of the Royal Barbados Police Force with more than 10 years experience also insisted that she did not make any derogatory remarks or searched the luggage of the Jamaican national who was denied entry into the island on March 14, 2011.

During cross examination Myrie’s Attorney, Michelle Brown sought to suggest that Carrington was gruff, rough and boisterous with her client.

Brown told the court that prior to taking Myrie to the bathroom during which a demeaning vaginal search was conducted, Carrington said she hated Jamaicans and accused Jamaicans of being liars who came to Barbados to steal men.

“Ms Myrie was never in the bathroom. Ms Myrie was not subjected to a cavity search…”, Carrington said.

Carrington, who was attached to the Barbados Drug Squad, for two years testified that she was present during an interview conducted by her superior officer, Constable Everton Gittens but she hardly spoke during the interview which she estimated lasted for about 15 minutes.

Carrington maintained that  Gittens did not search Myrie’s bag or her cell phone –  rejecting claims leveled by Brown.

The police officer said Myrie was questioned in relation to the purpose of her visit to Barbados, where she was staying and her relationship with her host.

Carrington told the court that after the interview was completed Myrie was taken to Customs where her bags were searched by officials there.

Carrington said  no drugs were found and Myrie was  returned to the Immigration office.

The police officer said she left the airport along with  Gittens soon afterwards.

But Brown sought to bring into question the accuracy of  Carrington’s statement suggesting that it was near identical to the one provided by  Gittens.

Carrington maintained it was written by her and no one helped her to word the statement.

Ahead of Carrington,  Gittens delivered his testimony.

Pressed on why Myrie was selected for the police interview, Carrington told the court that as a normal practice police interview passengers who are referred to the Immigration Supervisor.

Gittens also told the court that he had a feeling Myrie was a drug courier but he later dismissed the thought after conducting an “extensive interrogation” with the Jamaican national.

He told the court he felt Myrie came to work.

The police officer said Myrie was not under arrest and if she wanted to she could have left.

The police officer who is also attached to the Barbados Drug Squad strongly denied suggestions that he showed Myrie blue folders which represented Jamaicans who had tried to enter Barbados with illegal drug.

Gittens also rejected suggestions from Myrie’s lawyer Nancy Anderson that he cut a slipper owned by Myrie, denied her a phone call and threatened to take here to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to be x-rayed for drugs, while attempting to persuade her that if she told him the truth he would help her.

“I did not make any threats to Ms Myrie,”he said.

During Brown’s cross examination, the police constable stoutly defended his colleague Constable Carrington.

He said Carrington had not made any derogatory statements to Myrie neither did she take her to the bathroom.

“I was the senior officer on duty, no such statement would have been made by Ms Carrington.

“Ms Carrington did not go to any bathroom with Ms Myrie, “he said.

Gittens told the court he discovered Myrie was lying about her host in Barbados after having separate conversations with Pamela Clarke , the woman who Myrie said she was staying with.

The officer also spoke Daniel Forde the man who came to the airport to collect Myrie. In a witness statement, Forde said he had asked Clarke for her name and number to give to a visitor he was expecting from Jamaica.

The Trinidad-based CCJ is hearing testimony in the case brought by the 25 year-old Myrie, who alleged that when she traveled 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.

The case will now head to Trinidad and Tobago on April 8 where the legal team will present final submissions. (CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)