Barbados Government Addressing Corruption At Port

Chairman of the Barbados Port Inc. (BPI), Senator Lisa Cummins, speaking to the media prior to touring the West Indies Rum Distilleries (WIRD) Limited. Looking on is Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey. (Credit: BGIS)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday May 29, 2019 – Government has sought to put measures in place to strengthen and enhance security at the Bridgetown Port.

Chairman of
the Barbados Port Inc. (BPI), Senator Lisa Cummins, said the entity had started
the process of integrity testing for members of staff over the last two to
three weeks to ensure that they did not have any criminal activity, and that
there were no criminal ties.

“That
process has begun, and we expect it to continue over the next year….That is one
of the steps that we are taking to address the issue at the individual level in
terms of corruption,” she said, while thanking the Barbados Workers’ Union for
its support in the process.

Cummins
added that the infrastructural challenges being experienced with the scanners
were expected to be addressed by late June or early July.

The senator
also noted that structurally the port has a system in place where persons were
required to bring a certificate of character during the vetting process. 

And, in
instances where an employee is found guilty of an offence, they would be handed
over to the regulatory authorities to be dealt with appropriately.

Meantime, Minister
of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey said he did not want people
to feel that the port staff is corrupt and needs to be watched.

“The truth
is, the port is like any other entity that is a security border where goods
come and go. I believe that we have done what a responsible government would
do, we have fixed the scanner issue.

“We are
talking about having people subject themselves to the integrity testing, but
more importantly we are having conversations with the staff. There has been
consistent dialogue with the staff, as we try to vision our way as a country
out of the mire that we are in, and to build teams,” he said.

Humphrey
noted, though, that legal matters, such as contracts issued, were “more
troubling and costlier” to government than rumours circulated about low
corruption levels.

He stated
that going forward, deals entered into must be transparent, and make sense for
the Government and people of Barbados.

“We have done everything possible to make sure that Barbadians can live; to make it easy to do business,” he said.

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