By Alecia Smith-Edwards
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- Prime minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart, says his country is committed to complying with the decision of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in the Shanique Myrie ruling.
Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart, responds to questions posed by journalists at a press conference convened following the conclusion of the 25th inter-sessional meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, which took place in St Vincent and the Grenadines last week. JIS Photo
Stuart was addressing journalists at a press conference convened following the conclusion of the 25th inter-sessional meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, which took place in St Vincent and the Grenadines last week.
The case refers to Jamaican national, Shanique Myrie, who was awarded damages totalling JA$3.6 million (Bds$75,000 / US$37,500), following the CCJ’s ruling declaring that the Barbados government breached her right to enter the country under article 5 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.
The heads of government were provided with a report on the implications for decision-making of the ruling, by Jamaica’s minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, A. J. Nicholson, during a caucus session of the meeting.
Stuart said government heads recognised that the judgement has implications for all member states and how they do their business, noting that several issues have arisen in terms of how member countries would carry out the orders of the court; what institutional mechanisms they would have to put in place to ensure that effect is given to the judgement of the court; and what would be the responsibilities of immigration officers operating at the borders.
“What we all agreed on is that member states are committed to the rule of law, unmistakably, unequivocally and that whatever is required to be done to give effect to the judgement of the CCJ, member states are committed to doing; but in terms of being able to itemise all of the changes that will have to take place, we are still in the process of going through all of that,” he said.
The prime minister noted that the Shanique Myrie judgement highlighted the fact that after the court had awarded Myrie damages, the actual legal mechanisms for her to enforce the payment of those damages did not exist in the context of present law.
“That does not mean that Barbados walks away from the case without any obligations. The government of Barbados is not viewing that as an escape route, and the government of Barbados is committed to complying with the provision of the judgement in the Shanique Myrie case,” he said.
Stuart pointed out that based on his last enquiry, the only reason the damages have not been paid over is that there are still issues outstanding in relation to the settlement of legal costs.
“Usually in these matters… when you are settling matters, you don’t settle the damages and then haggle over the legal costs later, you try to settle all of these matters at the same time, so that when you close a file, it is closed,” he said.
The Shanique Myrie ruling was one of the major issues addressed during the meeting on which journalists were briefed following extensive discussions among government heads who pored over more than 20 items on the agenda.