Barbados’ Ambassador to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), David Commissiong has cautioned against labelling every issue in Barbados involving CARICOM citizens as a “CARICOM matter”.
He was responding to the case of five Vincentian visitors who claimed police barged into the house where they were staying early Monday morning and brutalised them to the point that they had to seek medical attention.
While acknowledging that every allegation of police wrongdoing should be treated with utmost seriousness, Comissiong indicated that unless otherwise revealed, the incident should not be judged a case of malicious profiling or xenophobia.
“Unless the allegation is that the alleged abuse took place because they were non-nationals then really and truly we should not give this a regional dimension. Those could have been Barbadians and every week you will hear Barbadians alleging that their rights were infringed by police officers,” argued the CARICOM ambassador.
“Sometimes there are two sides to a story so if a citizen or a visitor makes an allegation to the police, we need to put that allegation through due process. In other words, there is a procedure for that complaint to be lodged, investigated and depending on what those investigations show, disciplinary or legal action could result.
“At this stage it is an allegation and of course any such allegation of infringement of rights at the hands of the forces of law and order has to be taken seriously, treated seriously and be properly investigated, but we can’t prejudge it. So we would need to wait and see what the results of those investigations are,” suggested Commissiong.
Allison Louis, the mother of at least one of the alleged victims has vowed to leave no stone unturned in her fight for justice. Her son, Bashan Chance was involved in an altercation near their home with some boys. According to Louis, after filing a complaint at the District A Police Station, members of the Task Force barged into her home at 4 o’clock without a warrant and beat all of a group of family members on their first trip to Barbados.
The frustrated woman said she made contact with the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and was attempting to speak with Prime Minister Mottley on the matter.
Nevertheless, Ambassador Commissiong has urged them to act cautiously.
“We have to be careful not simply because a person might be of another CARICOM nationality that we treat it like a CARICOM matter, pertinent to the revised treaty of Chaguaramas and the Caribbean Court of Justice,” he said.