Officials are still feverishly trying to get valid travel documents to get Latin American Juan Abrahan Ramirez Rijo back to Dominican Republic.
In the meantime, the non-national will remain at Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds despite pleas to Magistrate Douglas Frederick to move him to another facility.
“Please help me . . . prison is too much suffering . . . please send me to another place that is not prison,” Ramirez pleaded to the magistrate.
The pleas came moments after Immigration Officer Terry Simmons told the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court that efforts were still underway to get Ramirez’s travel documents and they were hoping that there would soon be a resolution to the matter.
“ I cannot say how long it will take but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has given us the assurance that they are actively working on this matter,” Simmons said.
It was at this time that the 35-year-old construction worker, whose address is listed as Calle Sanches, Casa 112, San Pedro, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, asked to be moved claiming among other things that he had been beaten by other prisoners.
He has been on remand for the past few weeks after admitting to criminal damage at the Grantley Adams International Airport detention centre where he was being held initially. He damaged an external door, two door locks and hardware, a washroom doorframe and drywall after becoming belligerent.
“I am asking for one thing from you sir. Prison is too much suffering. Prison is causing me to get thinner. The prisoners are beating me. Look at my eye. How can I continue to be in that prison were I am suffering. I am asking you to send me to another place that is not prison because I am suffering a lot. You can see my eyes are swollen and they are beating me,” Ramirez said through an interpreter.
“Please send me to another place that is not prison even though it is a very small place for just myself alone. I don’t want to be in prison because I am suffering. Please help me, that’s all I am asking, I cannot support it anymore,” he added.
However, Frederick informed him “there was no place else” to house him and remanded him until June 17.
“Twenty-eight more days here in Barbados? Today will make five months that I am here. Since I have been here all I have been in is prison and I have not done anything to deserve this. Please send me to another place that is not prison,” he again pleaded.
Ramirez was one of 13 people rescued by the crew of a cruise ship en route to Barbados on December 20, 2018 from a small vessel, which was adrift 47 nautical miles from Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.
The 13, including a pregnant woman, were medically examined, found to be in good health, and were housed here “in a secure location” until they were identified. They were also allowed to contact family and friends in an effort to return home. After being held here for two weeks, all but Rijo were returned to their homeland.