The man in charge of the daily running of Grantley Adams International Airport has testified that all cameras at the nation's lone airport were fully functional on March 14, 2011 when Shanique Myrie first came to Barbados.
Joseph Johnson, who has worked at Grantley Adams for more than three decades and is now the facility's chief operations officer, told the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) yesterday that the cameras were not newly installed and had been working from around 2005 when the airport's new terminal began operations.
He made the revelation in the No 1 Supreme Court under cross-examination on the first leg of the CCJ's hearing of Shanique Myrie's discrimination case against the Government of Barbados.
Myrie is claiming she was discriminated against because of her nationality and also subjected to a body cavity search by Immigration Department officials when she arrived in Barbados.
In response to a question by Myrie's attorney, Nancy Anderson, Johnson said there were times faulty cameras had to be replaced, but the ones in place are always working. He also revealed there are no surveillance cameras in the Immigration Department's security area, nor are there any in the bathrooms at the airport.
"They were fully functional in March 2011," he told the court when asked by Anderson. "The terminal opened in 2005 and the cameras were installed shortly after."
Also giving testimony yesterday was Acting Comptroller of Customs, Frank Holder, who testified he told Jamaica's High Commissioner to Barbados, Sharon Saunders, that the cameras were being tested.
Also under cross-examination by Anderson, Holder denied he told Saunders there were times when the cameras didn't work.
"I didn't tell her they only work sometimes. I told her I wasn't sure if they were functioning. I also told her they were being tested," Holder noted.
The acting Customs chief said he and Saunders had that conversation after a request was made for surveillance footage.
Copies of the footage were not presented to a Jamaican contingent which was investigating Myrie's claims, the witness added.
Holder said copies of the discs containing the surveillance footage were made by airport officials and delivered to his office in a sealed envelope. That envelope was later handed over to Sergeant Vernon Farrell of Royal Barbados Police Force.
When re-examined by Barbados' lead attorney Roger Forde, QC, Holder said the country's Customs and Excise Department was not responsible for installation nor the maintenance of cameras at the airport.
Yesterday marked the first day of the Barbados leg of the CCJ hearing of the Myrie case, which claims she was discriminated against when she arrived at Grantley Adams International Airport on March 14, 2011.
The first leg of the case was heard in Jamaica and the final leg is set to be heard at the CCJ's Port of Spain headquarters next week.
Four witnesses gave evidence yesterday when the matter convened.
Apart from Johnson and Holder, systems manager Ian Best and police Sergeant Vernon Farrell also testified.
The hearing attracted a large number of spectators who virtually filled the upstairs and downstairs sections of the spacious courtroom.
Myrie was on hand for the entire four-hour session, sitting alone in a corner of the court and listening attentively to the testimony.
The case resumes at 9 a.m. today.