When will heads roll at the Port?
Our Readers' Opinions
August 13, 2004

When will heads roll at the Port?

Editor: The issue of one of this nation’s newspapers on July 30, 2004 headlined “Customs Close Down, Heads Will Roll” was most misleading.
I was shocked but not surprised, because it was not the first time that the newspaper was doing something like this … rushing to print without verifying what they were writing about. To make matters worse, the next week they came back with the “Heads Will Roll”. {{more}}I did not make that comment, said the Prime Minister, without any apology. I think that these so-called journalists would first check then recheck their information before writing them, much less to print them.
The article mentioned names like Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, National Security Minister Sir Vincent Beache, Press Secretary/Personal Aide Glenn Jackson, Senior Customs Officer Elvis “Abijah” Abbey, Port Manager Paul Kirby, Head of Port Security Cornelius Charles and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Godfrey Pompey. Any one of these gentlemen could have helped with what was said in that meeting, not just reporting that, “A customs officer said the P.M. said, ‘Heads Will Roll’.”
But when you have a new comptroller of customs who simply does not want to take the bull by the horns, all this will happen. The comptroller leaves things like pre-delivery up to some supervisors of customs. One of them gives a business woman pre-delivery for dry goods that could wait until the entries are completed, and at the same time denies small traffickers the same pre-delivery for perishable goods. When asked by the authorities to explain his action, he gets vexed and refuses to give the Port Authority a pre-delivery. When that same supervisor of customs could say that he has already seen six comptrollers of customs and four Prime Ministers and he will see more, then I am saying “Heads Must Roll”. When you have another supervisor of customs saying that another customs officer must be transferred because he makes the traffickers pay for the excess goods, I say “Heads Should Roll”.
But, when you have a machine that costs over one million dollars at the Port just over one year giving problems and not even the chief mechanic can do anything about it, while customers don’t get their containers, I think, “Heads Go Roll”.
With the implementation of the ISPS (International Ship and Port Security) code, a new chief of port police was put in place, but the holder of that office is hardly seen by the port police themselves, much less the public. Other workers only see him when he wants to change his travelling allowance cheque from the accountant at the Port.
Mr. Prime Minister, you have to be mindful of these people whom you appoint, and pay attention to the people who you are to look out for. People are looking for “Heads To Roll”, make sure it is not your head. My question to you is “When Will Heads Roll?”