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Shanique Myrie’s wait not a long one, says AJ

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY Senior staff reporter dunkleya@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, March 22, 2014    

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JAMAICA'S Foreign Minister Senator AJ Nicholson says the five-month time period which has elapsed since the decision of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in the Shanique Myrie ruling "is by no means a long time to await the payment of a judgment debt and the settlement of legal costs in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

Myrie, a Jamaican, was awarded damages amounting to $3.6 million, following a CCJ ruling declaring that the Barbados Government breached her right to enter the country under article 5 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. Myrie complained that she was unceremoniously detained and ill-treated by airport officials on a visit to the island and subsequently deported.

Myrie, in a story carried in yesterday's Jamaica Observer, expressed frustration at the length of time it was taking the Barbados Government to compensate her.

Senator Nicholson, who was responding in the Senate yesterday to questions posed by Opposition Senator Robert 'Bobby' Montague about actions being taken by Jamaica to coax Barbados to pay over the sums, said Jamaica was standing by the words of Prime Minister of Barbados Freundel Stuart, who is on record as saying his country is committed to complying with the decision of the CCJ.

Senator Nicholson said informal discussions on the matter were held with Barbados in the margins of January's Summit of the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Havana, Cuba, and at the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) in St Vincent and the Grenadines, March 9 to 11.

"The Prime Minister of Barbados addressed the matter frontally in the press conference which was held at the close of the Caricom Heads Meeting," said Nicholson.

Nicholson, in responding further to Senator Montague, said while there may be no legal mechanisms available to Myrie, or a claimant or an applicant under the treaty for the enforcement of judgments of the CCJ, "given the commitment of member states to the rule of law, member states will comply with the decisions of the CCJ".

Addressing the issue of implementation of legislation which enabled Caricom member states to subscribe to the CCJ in its original jurisdiction, while there is no provision for an enforcement machinery or mechanism whereby judgment debts may be pursued, Senator Nicholson said this "is not a fatal lacuna".

He noted that while there is this acknowledged commitment on the part of the heads of government of member states, the question still arises as to whether each member state should not address the issue in an amendment to the implementation legislation.

"It is therefore considered that this is a matter which the Legal Affairs Committee of Caricom may be moved to contemplate and to give their advice. Jamaica may wish to have that issue placed on the agenda of the Caricom Legal Affairs Committee," he added.

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