March 24, 2006
Restructuring to take place at Port

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves believes the settlement that was reached between the St.Vincent and the Grenadines Port Authority and the National Workers Movement (NWM) was an excellent one. {{more}}

Commenting on the workers who were reinstated Dr. Gonsalves said: “No assessment was done on Nicole Nelson. Somebody clearly had her terminated without an assessment. I said in fairness to the lady she must be reinstated.”

The Prime Minister said he also felt that Walwyn Nichols who is pursuing studies should be reinstated. He will take up employment at the Campden Park Container Port.

Dismissed from the Port Authority are Alban Foster, Philmore Williams, George Byron, Laverne Quammie, Leslie Samuel and Nicole Nelson

According to Dr.Gonsalves, an overall restructuring process is ongoing at the ports throughout St.Vincent and the Grenadines, financially and systematically, owing to the fact that the government wants to make them more competitive.

He said the Campden Park Container Port and the Cruise Ship berth, unlike the Kingstown Port, have never been viable. Dr. Gonsalves expressed the desire to have the Kingstown Port continue being viable.

The Prime Minister used the opportunity to refer Vincentians to page 66 of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) Manifesto which focused on the restructuring of the ports. The issue was mentioned and brought before the electorate, he noted.

Dr. Gonsalves said his government has no intention to cause unnecessary pain to people while it carries out the mandate of the Manifesto but has promised to make every effort to find alternative solutions for persons affected when a restructuring process is carried out.

The Prime Minister said he was informed of the difficulty at the port while in Malaysia and had requested that the workers be given an extra month pay along with their severance and a month pay in lieu.

“We are a labour government and I respect Noel Jackson, the trade unions and all the workers,” said Dr.Gonsalves.

The Prime Minister said if an employee is a good worker he or she has nothing to fear.

Dr. Gonsalves said all that was required to solve the impasse was an intelligent discussion.