BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Tuesday January 21, 2020 – Immigration officials in Barbados have insisted that the human rights of a Jamaican awaiting deportation after being convicted of drug importation were not violated, as his attorney has claimed.
The allegations of mistreatment had come from Asante Brathwaite, the attorney of Kivesi Andrae McPherson who paid a BDS$8,000 (US$4,000) fine for importing cannabis on December 30, 2019, and was handed over to the Immigration Department to be sent back to Jamaica.
According to Brathwaite, her client was detained for a week at the Grantley Adams International Airport. He was eventually able to get a flight back home last Thursday, but Brathwaite told the Barbados Today online newspaper that his family was considering pursing legal action.
But in a statement, the Immigration Department sought to clear the air about why McPherson remained in custody so long before getting a flight to Jamaica.
It explained that Caribbean Airlines requires 48 hours advance notice for deportees to travel on its aircraft, and permission was granted on January 13 for McPherson to travel to Kingston – three days after a request was made.
The Jamaican was ready to leave on a 6 a.m. flight the next day, but when he was escorted to the departure gate by an immigration official, the plane’s captain refused to accept him on the aircraft because he was not being escorted by an immigration officer to Jamaica – a practice the Immigration Department said was not customary in the circumstances.
“The general manager of the airline was contacted and he subsequently advised that he would have to get additional clearance from the security manager in Trinidad, and the department would be informed when permission was given to travel,” statement explained.
“That permission was granted on the evening of January 15, 2020. The following day, Mr McPherson boarded a Caribbean Airlines flight, which departed for Jamaica via Trinidad at 4:58 a.m. His attorney was informed of his departure.”
Regarding claims by the attorney that her client had to purchase his own meals while in custody, the statement said that except for January 10 when McPherson declined the meal offered by the Immigration Department and bought food from Chefette instead, he was provided with three meals daily.