BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Cameras installed at the Grantley Adams International Airport have been functioning since they were put in place as part of the security arrangements for the 2007 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) was told yesterday at the first sitting of the Barbados leg of the trial in the Shanique Myrie case.
The Trinidad-based CCJ is hearing testimony in the case in which Myrie, a Jamaican, has sued Barbados claiming that she was assaulted by an immigration officer in 2011.
Myrie, 25, who was granted leave by the CCJ to file the action, alleges that when she travelled 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.
She also alleges that she was subjected to derogatory remarks by a Barbadian immigration officer at the Grantley Adams International Airport and is asking the CCJ to determine the minimum standard of treatment applicable to Caribbean Community (Caricom) citizens moving across the region.
On September 27 last year, Jamaica was granted leave to intervene in the matter.
Two weeks ago, the CCJ held its first-ever sitting in Jamaica to hear testimonies from several witnesses.
Ian Best, the systems manager at the Grantley Adams International Airport, told the panel of judges headed by the CCJ President Sir Dennis Byron that all the cameras installed had a 360-degree coverage and all have been functioning since being installed.
Asked whether it was possible the cameras were not working, Best replied "that would be news to me. I am not aware of the cameras not working".
"The cameras have all functioned from their installation to now," he said, even as he acknowledged that the cameras may fail from time to time and be replaced or upgraded.
But he told the court the airport is never without surveillance cameras for a period of time and that since they were installed in 2004, only one camera has been replaced.
In his testimony, Acting Comptroller of Customs Frank Holder said he had requested the recordings of the surveillance video from the Airport Manager Joseph Johnson and they were delivered sealed in an envelope to his office.
He told the court that he personally delivered the video to Sergeant Vernon Farrell, who was carrying out investigations into the allegations made by Myrie.
Myrie's attorney Nancy Anderson asked Holder whether or not during a meeting with High Commissioner to Jamaica Sharon Saunders he had been asked about the cameras and whether they were functioning.
Holder said he could not give an exact date for when the cameras were installed, but they had been installed for the 2007 ICC World Cup.
He said he told Saunders he was not sure if the cameras were functioning, prompting Queen's Counsel Roger Forde -- who is representing Barbados -- to indicate that the Office of the Comptroller of Customs, was not responsible for installation or maintenance of cameras at the airport.
Airport Manager Joseph Johnson told the court that the cameras were installed prior to March 2011 when the alleged incident involving Myrie occurred.
He stressed that they were not newly installed and were fully functional and that in April 2011 Holder requested the footage of the tapes, which were delivered on three discs.
He said it was unlikely that there would be gaps in the recording as the camera rotated, but admitted that there were no cameras installed in the security area of the airport's Immigration Department, the detention cell or bathrooms at the Grantley Adams International Airport.
Meanwhile, the court will rule today on whether it will allow the statements of two people, who were not employees of the airport and interviewed by Sergeant Farrell, to be admitted.
Farrell had earlier told the court that he had interviewed a number of people as part of his investigations, prompting Myrie's attorney to ask for the statements made by the two unidentified people to be admitted as evidence.
But Forde objected, saying to admit the statements without examining their veracity would be highly improper.
He argued that Myrie's lawyer should have done it during the pre-trial disclosure.
However, attorney Kathy Brown, who is representing the Jamaican Government, argued that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accepts all documentation submitted by any party.