Statement From The Immigration Department re: Detention Of Jamaican National
Kivesi Andrae McPherson, a Jamaican national, arrived in Barbados on December 30, 2019, on a Caribbean Airlines flight from Jamaica.
A check by Customs officials of the laptop bag he was carrying revealed three taped packages of cannabis concealed in a false compartment. He was arrested and charged.
On January 9, 2020, Mr. McPherson pleaded guilty to the offences of unlawful possession of cannabis, possession with intent to supply, trafficking and importation of cannabis.
He was fined $8,000 forthwith, with an alternative of nine months’ imprisonment for the importation of cannabis. He was convicted, reprimanded and discharged for possession of the drug, possession with intent to supply and trafficking.
The fine was not paid immediately, and Mr. McPherson began serving his term of imprisonment. However, on January 10, 2020, the fine was paid and Mr. McPherson was released into the custody of the Barbados Immigration Department.
He was detained by the department in accordance with section 13(8) of the Immigration Act Cap. 190, pending deportation. Section 13(8) gives the Chief Immigration Officer the authority to detain a person pending the making and execution of a deportation order.
Given, Mr. McPherson’s convictions he was considered a prohibited person in accordance with the paragraph 4(b) of the First Schedule of the Immigration Act, Cap 190 that speaks to persons that have been “convicted of an offence under any enactment relating to dangerous or narcotic drugs.” The deportation order was signed on January 13, 2020.
Caribbean Airlines requires that permission for persons being deported from Barbados must be requested 48 hours in advance in order to travel on its aircraft. That request was made on January 10, 2020, for Mr. McPherson to travel.
On January 13, 2020, the Immigration Department received written confirmation from the General Manager of Caribbean Airlines indicating that permission was granted by their Security Manager for Mr. McPherson to travel to Kingston, Jamaica.
The following day, he was checked in by Caribbean Airlines personnel, and issued with a boarding pass to depart on the 6:00 a.m. flight. In accordance with Immigration protocol for the repatriation of deportees, he was escorted by an Immigration Officer to the boarding gate at 5:15 a.m.
However, the captain of the aircraft refused to accept Mr. McPherson on board because he was not escorted by an Immigration Officer to Jamaica. It should be noted that it is not customary for the Immigration Department to provide escorts in these circumstances. Usually, the airline readily accepts such persons without objection.
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.
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.
During the time that Mr. McPherson was detained, his attorney, Asante Brathwaite, was aware that the Immigration Department did not have any control over the airline, and that the department had met all of its obligations with respect to the repatriation of persons being deported.
She was never prevented from speaking with or visiting her client. The department’s records show that she visited Mr. McPherson at 7:47 p.m. on January 10, 2020, and again on January 14, 2020, at 5:39 p.m.
He was also allowed to contact his family members via telephone; provided with meals, shower and toilet facilities and a room to sleep. His basic human rights were not in any way violated.
In relation to meals, the department provided him 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 $33.00, and supper from Grab & Go Restaurant at a cost of $12.00 because he did not eat what was being offered by the department.
On January 15, 2020, Mr. McPherson refused breakfast because he was upset that he was denied travel.
The department did everything in its power to repatriate Mr. McPherson in a timely manner; the fact that his departure was delayed was not the department’s fault.
The officers provided yeoman service by going beyond the call of duty to ensure that he got the meals that he requested.