This week in the news we learned that a Canadian woman will have to remove her Niqab in order to testify against her attackers. This is a case which has occupied the attention of the Courts for five years – read Niqab ban in sexual assault trial causes controversy. Also in the news this week, and closer to home, we heard from Jamaican Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade AJ Nicholson uttering his concern that Jamaica is not satisfied with how free movement of nationals across the Caribbean Community (Caricom) is being facilitated – read Nicholson to address Jamaican travel across CARICOM.
BU took interest in the comments of Nicholson because he pointed to the Shanique Myrie case which is pending before the Caribbean Court of Appeal. By doing so he made his intention obvious that Barbados was in his ‘gun sight’.
In strictly legal terms the two cases are unrelated BUT for BU the cases resonate because in the Canadian judgement there is a sense that the laws of Canada are in consonance with the expectation of mainstream society. In the case of the Myrie matter one gets the feeling that Barbados is being bombarded by some obligation under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas even at the risk of compromising its rights as a sovereign country. Are we a sovereign country or not? Why doesn’t Jamaica take a similar case to the World Court to challenge the decision to refuse their citizens entry into the USA, UK and several other developed countries which occur with frequency on a daily basis. If they were to pursue this avenue one may believe that their motive in the Myrie case is sincere.
“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” – More details on CCJ website.
BU is reminded by a comment made by Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart in his former role as Attorney General. At that time when Barbados was gripped in the Guyanese invasion debate, he stated to the effect, that Barbados will not allow itself to become the warehouse of unskilled labour. BU is always tempted to replace warehouse with whorehouse. A visit to Nelson Street, Fontabelle, Clubs and private parties there is the possibility to be treated to the performances of imported girls from neighbouring islands especially from JAMAICA. Are we saying that our border authority should have their hands tied by the RTC where we must allow unrestricted access to our country by girls with $300.00 in their bosoms who want to stay for 3 weeks?
BU issues the disclaimer that all immigrant from Caribbean islands do not subtract form wholesome productivity. We however have to be intelligent enough to separate the issues by quelling our urge to become emotional.
For many years Jamaica looked North to fulfil the economic aspirations of its people. It seems to BU because this channel has been choked off because of the tightening of immigration laws and the global economic downturn, our tiny islands are being bullied to welcome this influx of immigrants whose majority objective is to add to the burden of our moral, security and economic fabric.
It is premature to take this matter any further until we receive the CCJ decision promised in 2-3 months. Given Barbados penchant for taking it in the gut from the other Caribbean islands post the Tome Adams era, one wonders what Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart will do if the CCJ rules in favour of Myrie.