Bermuda Customs Discrimination
Nerissa Irving Bermuda customs disrespected me to the MAXIMUM DEGREE Bermuda is a beautiful island. The beaches are lovely, the food is great, and there are many places to do photo shoots. I was actually invited to Bermuda take pictures in different beautiful places in Bermuda, party, and just have fun in Bermuda. But Im sorry to say Bermuda customs has left a negative taste in my mouth. They violated my human rights. I dont think I will ever come back to this island again. They treated me like I was smuggling drugs into the country. They interrogated me like a criminal and detained me from 10pm July 29 to about 1 am July 30th. I and another person were the only ones left in the entire airport being questioned. I feel like the only reason they pulled me out the line was because, Im a black female coming from Miami with dreadlocks. Not everyone with dreadlocks is a drug dealer. One gentleman went thru my suitcase and even ran my computer thru a scanner. He questioned me about some phone numbers I had written down on a piece of paper. I was so confused that I almost felt like was lying to myself. I thought people that got arrested for a crime only went thru these procedures. But I remained calm with a smile on my face so I could just get thru the humiliation quicker. A women customs officer came up to me accusing me that I knew the other person they detained. She walked up to the officer that was searching my bags and whispered loudly , like I wasnt standing next to her , that she thinks I know the other person that they were searching and Im lying about it. The other person that was held with me was a black male adult. I met him on the plane coming to Bermuda. I never saw or knew him prier to my Bermuda trip. The women custom officer then began to question me about where I would be staying. I told her I have a reservation at The Hamilton Princess Hotel and I told her who was here to pick me up. She left, then came back and said I dont have a reservation in my name or in the persons name that was picking me up. I told her I can call the person to find out what was going on. She then sent someone outside to find the person that was picking me up, which she then said wasnt outside. I called my mom and she said my ride has been waiting for me since 8:30pm. My mom and my ride were calling my phone constantly to find out what was going on, but I could not answer because the officer said we cant use phones. Why would they let me use my phone once then say I cant use it anymore Another officer went outside and found my ride, which wasnt hard to find since he was outside since 8:30, but I was told he wasnt there at all. The officer brought my ride in to claim me, but the women officer (short, stalky, low hair cut) said he needs to leave because he is not allowed in here. About an hour passed, and im still waiting. The lady finally comes back and says the hotel reservation is in my rides business partners name. I dont see that being a big deal, a lot of people have their friends book hotels for them and rent cars for them. The women officer comes back again with a totally different attitude. She was actually smiling.Telling me that all I had to tell her that I was a model. She found out that I was a model from the person picking me up. I being a model has nothing to do with anything I think. Even after the attitude change, she asked me if it was ok if they pat me down. She said I wont have to take off my clothes. She said I could appeal, but the process would be longer. I told her its ok, I just wanted to get it over with. She then tells me to follow two women into a room where they would pat me down. They lied to me. I had to take off all my clothing even my underwear. I was wearing a long black dress. When I took off my clothing, and was standing naked in front of these two women, one the ladies tells me I can put my dress back on because they only need to see the bottom half. I felt like they were just humiliating me on purpose. First I have to be completely naked, and now they just want to see my bottom half. The lady then tells me to go into the corner, squat down like I was using the bathroom, and cough. I felt soo violated. My dignity was stripped from me. But I kept a smile on my face the whole time. I wouldnt make them see me down. If Bermuda advertised that tourist and other travelers would subjected to such humiliation (stripping, squatting, and coughing) I would not have come..