Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace says he was disturbed to hear that U.S.-based Garifuna leader professor Wellington Ramos was searched as he left St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) via E.T. Joshua Airport.
“And I want to condemn that act unequivocally,” Eustace said on his weekly radio programme on Monday.
“I don’t believe it was any random search. I believe it was a deliberate thing to harass him,” Eustace said.
“We can’t operate like that. We’re supposed to be a civilised country and I believe people were acting on instruction. There is no random nothing. And it’s deplorable and I want to make that unequivocally clear,” he said.
Ramos came to SVG for a one-week visit to hold talks with the opposition New Democratic Party about its proposal to grant honorary citizenship to all Garifuna.
He arrived in the country to VIP treatment arranged by the NDP, including use of the VIP lounge at the airport.
But Eustace said that when Ramos was departing, after he had checked his bags and was proceeding to the VIP lounge, someone approached him with a document saying he had been selected for a random search.
Eustace said it seems “like if his (Ramos’) name was picked out of some line”.
Ramos was then taken to another section of the airport where his bags were search, then he escorted back to the VIP lounge.
“I don’t understand that, you know,” Eustace said.
He explained that when Ramos arrived, he waited in the VIP lounge and his bags were brought to him after Customs checked Customs.
“When he came here, I met him. I was at the VIP lounge waiting for him when he came off the plane — along with other members of our party. He was processed there; nobody didn’t search his bag when he came in,” Eustace said.