Attorney-General, Adriel Brathwaite, believes “some actors” in Jamaica are making the settlement of fees for Shanique Myrie’s lawyers a political issue in a bid to block the island from leaving the London-based Privy Council and making the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) its final appellate court.
Myrie is the Jamaican national who won a case against Barbados before the CCJ almost two years ago. The case was related to the CARICOM provision for the free movement of people after she was denied entry into Barbados.
The lawyers who represented her have been complaining recently in the press that Barbados is yet to settle their
US$1 million fee claim. In a recent newspaper article here, Michelle Brown who led Myrie’s legal team also expressed disappointment.
But Brathwaite responded in comments to reporters yesterday.
“I believe that some actors in Jamaica want to continue with the status quo and not join the CCJ so that’s why they want to be able to say ‘Look the CCJ [Caribbean Court of Justice] enforced a judgement against Barbados et cetera’. That is what I believe. I honestly believe that.”
Brathwaite added: “We have maintained and I have maintained that we will honour the judgement of the Caribbean Court of Justice. We are not the kind of country that signed on to the CCJ and then (will) not follow the judgement.
“Ms Myrie has been paid, the costs have been awarded for senior counsel plus one. If we cannot agree on costs, we go back to the CCJ. They are free (to do so) but to say that Barbados refused to settle the fee is untrue,” he emphasized.
Brathwaite, who is also Minister of Home Affairs, again denied that his office was in receipt of the necessary documents requested from Brown to process the payment.
“My instructions are that the attorney has not yet provided the information that we requested,” he said. “…If she is saying that she has provided it to us, it is quite obvious to everyone that we have not received it or that I am lying but I venture to say we have not received it.
“So wherever she is, it’s very, very simple,” he went on.
“Provide us with the information so that we can begin looking at settling the matter and indeed if it is that she raised the matter with the press in Jamaica again, very, very simple, call us and say why have you not responded to me since August last year?
“But the reality is that it does not bother me one way or the other, frankly, because I do not believe that we have a responsibility to chase them to settle their fees,” the Barbados AG said.
Brathwaite made it clear that once the requested information is provided and “once [Myrie’s lawyers] are willing to sit down and talk to us, I would want to settle it.”