The Government says that a four-month wait could be considered the outer limit for Jamaican Shanique Myrie to receive the J$3.6 million that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) awarded her in her suit against Barbados.
Minister of justice, Senator Mark Golding, who was responding in the Senate Friday to questions tabled by Opposition Senator Robert Montague, said that there is very little guidance, generally, as to the exact meaning of "prompt compliance". However, he said that it is generally taken to mean "without delay", or "within a reasonable time".
"Based on the jurisprudence of the CCJ, this must be less than four months," Golding said.
"However, the Government will not, at this stage, presume to doubt the readiness of Barbados to comply with the judgement promptly. As a state party to the agreement and the Treaty of Chaguaramas, Barbados has assumed an obligation to comply with all the judgements of the Court promptly. It would be premature for the Government of Jamaica to speculate on this matter, or to express any doubt about a fellow member state's willingness to assume its obligation to comply with the Court's orders," he added.
In a ruling issued on October 4, the CCJ awarded Myrie a total of Bds$75,000 or J$3.6 million after it found that the Barbados Government had breached her right to enter the country under article 5 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.
Myrie took the Barbados Government to the CCJ, alleging that she was discriminated against because of her nationality when she arrived in Barbados on March 14, 2011. The 25-year-old also said she was subjected to a dehumanising body-cavity search and placed in an unsanitary cell before being deported the next day to Jamaica.
The Barbados Government denied the claims and argued at the trial that Myrie had been untruthful to Immigration officials.
Myrie wanted the CCJ to determine the minimum standard of treatment for Caricom citizens moving within the region under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. She asked the CCJ to award her almost US$500,000 in punitive damages for the treatment she received on her visit to Barbados. She also wanted the regional court to award costs and special damages.
On Friday in the Senate, Montague asked what plans the Jamaican Government had to ensure that the other provisions of the judgement are enforced.
Golding responded that the judgement regarding the right of entry is binding on all Caricom states still participating in the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME).
He said that measures to ensure its implementation, at the Caricom level, would therefore be pursued through the Legal Affairs Committee of Caricom and other relevant bodies and organs of the regional body.
"A meeting of the Legal Affairs Committee was scheduled for the end of October, but is being rescheduled. It is anticipated that the meeting may be held in November," Golding explained.
"Therefore, while there is no mechanism within the court to enforce compliance, either through contempt proceedings or the imposition of fines, the Government of Jamaica will engage in dialogue at the diplomatic level and in various organs and bodies of Caricom to ensure that appropriate decisions are taken so that the free movement regime, as interpreted by the court, is fully implemented," he stated.
He said that Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and its high commission in Port of Spain, Trinidad, has consistently encouraged Jamaica nationals to come forward with their complaints.
However, he said that unless Jamaicans file reports with the relevant Jamaican High Commission or, on return, with a local immigration officer, or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government would not be aware of incidents, unless they are reported in the media.
He said, however that the Caricom Secretariat, acting on the decision of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), is in the process of introducing a complaints form, which is to be used in all CSME jurisdictions at ports of entry.
"It will ensure that the procedures and documentation addressing complaints are streamlined," he said.