Jailed and raped in Barbados
Horrific allegations of another J'can woman
THE 27-year-old Jamaican woman who has accused officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force of rape and sexual assault has given a graphic and horrific account of the treatment she said was meted out to her after she was jailed in that country two months ago for drug smuggling.
The Sunday Observer obtained a copy of her signed statement, in which the woman, whose name we have been asked not to reveal, described the men she accused of the crime.
According to the woman, who lives in Spanish Town, she arrived at the Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados on a Caribbean Airlines flight from Jamaica on Saturday, February 26. She cleared immigration, but was stopped by customs officials who searched her bag and found approximately two kilos of ganja hidden in a secret compartment.
She was strip-searched and taken to the Oistins Police Station where officers took a statement from her, but denied her the opportunity to make a phone call. They also denied her the opportunity to seek legal counsel, she said, and mocked her by saying that no lawyer would take her case because she had no money.
Later that night, she was transferred to the Central Police Station in Bridgetown, where she again gave a statement. She was then placed in a cell where, over the course of the next day, she alleged, she was raped, sexually assaulted and verbally abused by police officers.
According to the woman, after being locked in the cell, she heard a man call her name. The man, who she said was dressed in a plaid shirt and a pair of jeans, questioned her about her life in Jamaica, verbally taunted her, forced her to take a tablet he gave to her after which he demanded sex.
“When I took the tablet I felt like I was floating. I felt reckless and tired, but I was conscious of what was going on around me,” she said.
“He asked me if I didn’t want to have sex and I said ‘Sex? Sex a di least a my problems right now. Sex a di last thing pon my mind’. He said I had to have some sex with him before I go to Dodds (prison), so I started to cry,” she said.
The policeman, she continued, was let into her cell by the female cop on duty, whose responsibility it was to guard the female detainees.
“He told me to take off my panty and asked if I don’t want sex. I told him no, but he told me again to take off my panty. I was afraid, so I took it off. Then he asked me ‘front or back?’ I noticed a ring on his finger, suggesting that he was married, so I said to him, ‘you really a go sex me without condom?’ and he asked me if I had one.
“He told me to lie on the tough slab on the jail cell and I did. He inserted his penis inside of me and had sex with me. I never gave him any permission to have sex with me. I only let him do it to me because I was afraid. When he was done he pulled out his penis and came (ejaculated) on my dress. He then left.”
Some while later, she said, another man in a long-sleeved navy blue uniform came to her cell. He, too, called her by name.
“This one seemed drunk. He was there talking to me from behind the bars, outside my cell. He asked if I wanted something to drink. I said, ‘Jesus Christ, not again!’
“He told me I was going to court, and he told me that when I get there I must plead guilty with explanation and I would get nine months. He told me he would get a call for me and he was talking like he wanted to help me. I started to cry, and he asked me what I was crying about. He offered me something to drink again, and I told him no. After that, the lady police officer who was responsible for me pulled the cell and he came in.
The policeman, she said, had a cup which he pushed to her mouth and said ‘drink it’. “I took a sip, and it tasted like Red Bull mixed with an alcoholic beverage, I don’t know what kind of alcohol. He told me to drink some more and because I was afraid I took another sip and put down the cup. Then he said I must make ‘one drink’ and I told him I did not want any more. He said ‘Drink it!’ in a forceful tone, so because I was afraid, I drank it in one go.”
That police officer, she said, proceeded to sexually assault her, in the end ejaculating in her face and on her chest.
She said the policemen held his penis in his hand and ordered her to ‘taste it’.
“I refused, so he kept on rubbing it on my lips and he started to groan. He let go of my head and he said that I must rub him down. While rubbing him down I felt the gun on his side and I was so afraid that I pull back my hand fast,” she said.
The woman said she cried throughout the entire ordeal and vomited while the cop had his way with her.
“He then grabbed all my clothes — my panty, my dress and the blouse that the lady gave me — and used them to wipe the ground where the sperm was and other places where the sperm dropped.”
According to the complainant, the cop left with her clothes and she has not seen them since then.
“He told the lady officer who let him into the cell to let me shower because I had court. I told her what happened, and she said “life goes on”… that I had two kids to live for and that some people got it worse than me. She took me to the showers and told me to wash out. She asked me if I had soap and rag, and told me to “wash out” and bathe because I had court to go to,” the statement read.
“She then gave me a green soap and she watched me shower. I washed out because I felt nasty and I didn’t know if they, the men, gave me anything, STI or any other disease.”
The Jamaican woman then said that a man with “funny-looking eyes” came into the cell and mopped it out with a strong chemical which gave her an asthma attack.
“I have asthma, and the scent was bothering me so I climbed up on the thing that they made me lay down on so as to gain access to air from a little vent that was in my cell, because my asthma was acting up due to the smell of whatever it was that they used to clean the cell,” the complainant said.
She said the female officer who allowed her male colleagues into the cell then changed shift with another female cop.
The next morning she was taken to court then transferred to the Dodds penal facility after she begged a magistrate not to send her back to the Central police lock-up.
She said that at the prison she was again insulted after explaining her ordeal to a female correctional officer.
“After a while I told her that they raped me, and she asked me if when I had sex with my boyfriend back home, if I don’t feel pain,” the Jamaican woman stated.
She also said despite her ordeal, no medical examination was conducted on her for more than a week.
“The doctor told me his name, but I could not remember it. I asked the doctor what he would test me for. He told me it was too late to do anything, and that he could not swab my mouth but that he would swab me inside my vagina. He swabbed my vagina and took some blood. After he draw the blood he told me he was supposed to ask permission to take the blood, and I told him it was OK. I asked him if he was going to test me for HIV and pregnancy, but he said that he can only test for what they (the police) told him to test for,” she said.
The woman also accused the Barbadian authorities of not allowing her to call home to inform her loved ones that she had been arrested.
“I told them “all mi want a one phone call and mi can’t get it” so I told them that I wanted to call my consulate. I told them that I would not go with them until they contacted someone in Jamaica. I got a phone call after over a week had passed. I had to call someone here and I gave that person the number back home and the message that I wanted the person to pass on for me. I was told that the person at the prison responsible to give calls was on leave,” she said.
She said the prison officials warned her not to speak to any of the other prisoners about her ordeal.
However, she had praise for a Barbadian nurse who she said was the only person to show her compassion and demanded that she be taken to hospital after she complained of excruciating pain in her womb.
“A Barbadian nurse — the first person who showed me any compassion — said ‘…you got raped. Have you seen any doctor?” I said no. She said, “I’m not sending you back to the cells, I’m keeping you down here until someone comes to carry you to the hospital.’ They never came to take me to the hospital until later that evening. When they came the nurse was cursing them. I went to a clinic in the hospital where the doctor told me that since two weeks had passed from the rape, there was nothing they could test for as it pertains to the rape. They did do the STI test as well as the pregnancy test for me. I was told that I would have to come back to the clinic to repeat the STI tests and any infections that I may have contracted might not show up on the tests now, but might show up at a later date,” she said.
The complainant also said that she feared the policewomen more than the men.
“My biggest fear is not the men, it’s the women; because the women are the ones who let in the men and let them rape me. I made several complaints about the rape and no one was listening,” she said.
Last week, two of the cops accused in the incident were arrested, charged and granted bail in a Barbados court.
The two — Constable Jonathan Barrow, 32, of Pasture Road, Haggatt Hall, St Michael, and Woman Constable Melanie Denny, 25, of No 40 Golden Mile, St Peter — were pointed out in identification parades last week.
This case came to light after Jamaican Shanique Myrie accused Barbadian Immigration officials of subjecting her to a demeaning cavity search at the Grantley Adams Airport, verbally abusing and detaining her before deporting her to Jamaica the day after she arrived there.