Wed | Apr 8, 2020

Glimmer of hope - J’can alleged rape victim hopeful for justice after long-awaited call to face accused cops in Barbados

Published:Sunday | February 16, 2020 | 12:34 AMKaryl Walker - Sunday Gleaner Writer

The Jamaican woman who has alleged that she was raped by two police officers, who were aided and abetted by a female cop while she was in custody in Barbados, is hopeful that after 10 years she will soon be able to face her accused abusers in court.

The complainant has revealed that she was contacted by a representative of the Donna Babb-Agard-led Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in the eastern Caribbean country following an exposé by The Sunday Gleaner revealing that, despite her accusations, the case seemed to have grown cold.

“They asked me if I was available in March or April to attend a trial in Barbados. I think the time is finally going to come when I can get justice. It has been very rough for me to have had to live with the memory of being so violated and humiliated because I made a mistake,” the woman said.

The woman said she had fallen on hard times and was suckered into transporting marijuana to Barbados in the hope of making quick cash. She managed to make it past the security apparatus at the Norman Manley International Airport but her luck changed as soon as she landed at the Grantley Adams Airport in Barbados. The contraband was detected and she was arrested and detained at a holding facility.

It was then that her ordeal began.

The woman claims she was raped by a cop who ordered her to strip naked and smirked menacingly after he had finished committing the sordid act. But her trials were not over. She claims another cop entered her holding cell moments after and, in addition to raping her, demanded that she perform oral sex on him.

“He smelled like liquor and gave me a pill to take and liquor to drink before he raped me again. After he was finished he took my clothes and wiped his semen off the floor. Then he took out his thing and forced me to do what I never ever did to any man in Jamaica. I was frightened. I did not know how to react, trust me. When he laughed and left, a man came in and wiped the floor with a strange-smelling chemical. I have never gotten over that,” she said.

Both men, she said, were given access to the cell by a female cop, whose responsibility it was to ensure the detainees were secure.

Two cops, Jonathan Barrow and Melanie Dennie, were charged in 2011 after they were pointed out by the complainant. A third accused male cop has not been brought to book as his whereabouts are unknown.

But, despite her accusations, the woman’s case has not come before the courts in Barbados for a decade.

SECOND PUNISHMENT

“They keep setting a date and for some reason the trial never get off the ground. I committed my crime and served my sentence. Was that treatment part of my sentence, too? Is this long wait to get my day in court a part of my sentence, too?” the woman asked.

“I think that this time they are serious. They know the world is watching so we will see if the case will be put off for another 10 years or they will do the right thing and ensure that justice is served. I paid the price for my crime and those who abused me must also pay the price for their crimes,” she said.

The woman is represented by Jamaica-born attorney Jaydene Thomas, who is also frustrated at the length of time it has taken for her client to be given a chance to seek justice.

But Thomas was hopeful that her client’s long wait for justice might finally be over.

“I am happy that a trial date is being set. We are finally seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel,” Thomas told The Sunday Gleaner.

The case came to light after another Jamaican woman, Shanique Myrie, accused a female immigration officer at the Grantley Adams Airport of subjecting her to a demeaning cavity search and accusing her of visiting Barbados to steal their men. Myrie was locked in a dank room and deported to Jamaica the following day, despite breaching no laws.

Myrie took her grouse before the Caribbean Court of Justice, which ruled that the Barbados government should compensate her for the trauma she suffered and their breach of the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which provides for free travel throughout the CARICOM region by nationals of member states.

Myrie was compensated to the tune of J$4 million.

The complainant in the rape case against the Barbadian police officers has also brought a civil suit against the Barbados government.

karyl.walker@gleanerjm.com