ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, September 26, 2018 (CMC) – The lawyer representing a Grenadian family, who claimed they were bullied and humiliated over a false accusation of stealing a mobile phone in Barbados, says the matter is now heading to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Barbados’ final court.
Attorney Ruggles Ferguson said that the action will be taken against the state of Barbados, and “we have applied for what you call special leave to bring the matter in the CCJ”.
“So the application before the CCJ is for special leave to file the matter in the Caribbean Court of Justice,” he said.
In October 2016, five members of the Gilbert family were in Barbados for an appointment with the United States Embassy to have their visas renewed.
Having successfully completed their business early, they decided to go to Bridgetown for some shopping and to enjoy each other’s company, since they had never travelled as an entire family before, Tamika Gilbert told the Barbados TODAY publication then.
But they said the trip became a nightmare, after a store owner accused the young women of stealing her mobile phone.
“Confident of their innocence, they offered to have their bags searched by the storeowner, who turned down the offer and said she would check recordings from security cameras. Instead, ‘an excessive amount of police officers showed up at the scene’ and during a heated exchange with the store owner, they were threatened with arrest,” Barbados TODAY reported.
They said three members of the family were virtually stripped of their dignity by the officers, who shouted at them, insulted them, prevented them from speaking to other family members, brought them water, three hours after they had made a request, and had one sister use the toilet with the door opened and an officer standing guard.
However, Tamika Gilbert said that the most humiliating experience was when they were strip-searched.
Ferguson, the former president of the Grenada Bar Association, said that a matter had been filed in the Barbados courts, on behalf of one of the family members, “who lives in Barbados and was also subjected to that treatment”.
“We have taken that matter in the local courts in Barbados. That matter is ongoing. But the ones involving those resident in Grenada, we decided to bring it to the CCJ, because in the CCJ, we can count on speed,” said Ferguson, who is also the President of the Organization of Commonwealth Caribbean Bar Associations (OCCBA).