Today’s Jamaica Observer highlights a story which alleges that a Shanique Myrie was “subjected to two demeaning cavity searches by a female immigration officer who continuously spewed venom about Jamaicans.” Immediately the question came to mind, how could the immigration officer have performed the cavity search in a manner that was not demeaning? The incident has provoked the elusive Parliamentary Secretary responsible for immigration Harry Husbands to respond to the story. It appears the lady was not allowed into Barbados for a legitimate reason.
Those of us who have travelled the world are aware of the limitless authority immigration and custom officials appear to possess. Individuals who are compliant with the law usually have nothing to fear. If we accept the position of the government conveyed by Husbands, Shanique Myrie was ‘pulled’ for a legitimate reason. All of those who are shouting for murder should remember Jamaica is a destination where drug mules originate in abundance. It is no excuse to profile people to the extent they are victimized or dehumanized, however simple logic says Barbados must protect its borders. If an immigration officer is found to be overzealous in carrying out their duty, there is a process to seek redress. The Jamaica Observer’s article is therefore alarmist, sensational and smacks of Jingoism.
Another part of this story worthy of comment is the haste with which local media ran with it. A woman makes an allegation carried by Jamaica media and the local press pulls out the fog horn. Not too long ago when Barbadians were begging local media to highlight the consequence of an open door immigration policy, local media sought to ‘manage’ public sentiment for fear of triggering an anti-immigrant backlash. Unfortunately the Jamaicans and Guyanese have not seen the need to reciprocate. why is the local media so quick to dump on local agencies?
It seems Barbados has become the whipping boy and door mat for all in the Caribbean. From St. Vincent next door, to Jamaica in the North, to Guyana in the South. There was a time not too long ago when late Prime Minister’s Barrow and Adams were alive regional countries would think hard before spitting their filth in our direction. The yellow bellies who now occupy leadership positions in Barbados have taken timid to a new level.