2O Jamaica Women Assaulted At Airport
December 7, 2008 Leave a comment
More than 20 female passengers who arrived in Barbados on a flight from Jamaica on November 30 are now claiming that they were abused and ‘touched’ on their private parts by immigration officials.
They also say that after going through the abuse, they were sent back to Jamaica without any explanation.
Immigration requirements are that all persons who wish to enter Barbados are required to hold a valid passport and a valid return ticket. But, despite fulfilling these requirements, they were still denied entry.
One passenger, *Angella Bassy, said she was assaulted and disgraced by a policeman. “I felt so humiliated as we sat there for over three hours waiting on Immigration to address us. When the police approached us, one said to me, mi hear seh you have drugs inna your. I said to him ‘excuse me? It’s my husband who sent me on a vacation. I have no such thing on me’. He then said ‘so how youso fat?”
Bassy said the policeman then walked off and a lady came and addressed the group saying they would not be permitted to enter the country and that they would have to board the next flight back to Jamaica in the morning.
Bona fide visitor
Halle Sprint*, another passenger told THE WEEKEND STAR that when she decided to visit Barbados for a month she did not know that she would be treated like an animal.
“The plane arrived in Barbados some minutes after 7 p.m. When we checked in, we were told that immigration needed to speak with us. One lady told me that I don’t look like a bonafide visitor and as a matter of fact she sending us to detention,” Sprint said.
She added that her nightmare started when she was locked up in a cell with three other women. “The cell had one little cot, some of us had to sleep on the floor and I was even denied a shower. That was devastating for me as I practice to bathe twice daily and my skin itched me for the entire night. Trust me, it was horrible and all now I don’t know why I was treated that way,” she said.
In the case of one of the other victims, Lacy, she claims that she was punched in her mouth because she was chewing a gum. “The officer asked me to stop chewing the gum and I didn’t, as me look a him come over and give me one ‘thump’ inna mi mouth, mi shock,” she said.
She said that she was also placed in a room for approximately three hours where an immigration officer questioned her. “… I must say that them treat we like dogs, I didn’t even get anything to eat.”
The women say that no one told them why this treatment was meted out to them and they were not charged for any crimes.
When THE WEEKEND STAR spoke to Herman Lamont, assistant director of the Diaspora and Consular Affairs Department at Jamaica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he said that he had no knowledge of this particular incident.
Lamont said that the passengers should however make a formal complaint to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the matter will be investigated. He added that some months ago one passenger had made a complaint that the Bajan immigration department treated him unfairly and that this particular matter is now being investigated.
Efforts to reach the Bajan immigration department proved futile as the numbers were unavailable.
*Names changed on request.
Source: Jamaica Star