The Immigration Department maintains that the human rights of Jamaican Kivesi Andrae McPherson were in no way violated during his five days of detention at the Grantley Adams International Airport.
In fact in a clear-the-air statement issued through the Barbados Government Information Service this evening, the department insisted that it did “everything in its power” to repatriate McPherson in a timely manner. Any delay, the department added, was not its fault.
Additionally, the immigration officials remain adamant that “the officers provided yeoman service by going beyond the call of duty” to ensure that McPherson got the meals he requested.
Last Friday, attorney-at-law Asante Brathwaite told Barbados TODAY that McPherson’s family was contemplating bringing a lawsuit against the Government of Barbados for unlawful detention.
She explained that her client who was arrested for importing $20,000 worth of cannabis on December 30th had been convicted last Thursday, paid the fine of $8,000, and was released into the custody of the Barbados Immigration Department as is customary.
Brathwaite was however puzzled over why her client could not get a flight home and complained that Macpherson reported that he had to purchase three meals daily.
But according to the Immigration Department, a request was made on January 10 for McPherson to travel to Kingston, Jamaica.
The department explained that Caribbean Airlines requires 48 hours advance notice for deportees to travel on its aircraft.
That permission was granted by the airline’s security manager, three days later on January 13.
The next day McPherson was checked in and issued with a boarding pass to depart on the 6 a.m. flight. He was escorted to the gate by an immigration official and at that point, “the captain of the aircraft refused to accept Mr. McPherson on board because he was not escorted by an immigration officer to Jamaica,“ the statement said.
The Immigration Department said it was not customary for escorts to be provided in these circumstances.
“The general manager of the airline was contacted and he subsequently advised that he would have to get additional clearance from the security manager in Trinidad, and the department would be informed when permission was given to travel, the immigration statement explained.
“That permission was granted on the evening of January 15, 2020. The following day, Mr. McPherson boarded a Caribbean Airlines flight, which departed for Jamaica via Trinidad at 4:58 a.m. His attorney was informed of his departure,“ the statement said.
The immigration department further pointed out that Brathwaite was never prevented from speaking with or visiting her client.
It also maintained that the department provided the Jamaican national with three meals daily with the exception of January 10, 2020 when he “opted” to buy chicken and chips from Chefette Restaurant because he did not like the meal that was offered.
“On January 12, 2020, the department purchased his lunch from Island Grill Restaurant at a cost of $33 and supper from Grab & Go Restaurant at a cost of $12 because he did not eat what was being offered by the department.
It also noted that McPherson refused breakfast on January 15, because he was upset that he was denied travel.”