Our Readers' Opinions
September 3, 2004
Mr. Lynch misinformed on Port issue

Editor: Last week Wednesday, August 25, I listened to Eduardo Lynch on his radio programme New Times talking about the Hyco Boss Reach Stacker machine at the Port in Kingstown, which was out of action for about 18 months. {{more}}
He congratulated the chief mechanic on a job well done. He stated that most of the work on the machine was done locally and the guys that were brought in from St. Lucia only did technical work.
But I know that Lynch was misinformed by someone at the Port who doesn’t know what is going on at the Port Authority workshop. Most of the work on that machine was done by two workers at that garage. They had to make trip after trip up to Oscar Machine to get the machine working. That machine has been working over a one year, but the lifter could not work after everything was put in place. Not even the chief mechanic, whom Lynch praised so highly, could get it to lift an empty container.
That is why the person who gave Lynch the information wanted to save his face. It has to be the same person who is just loosening nuts and bolts and tightening them back.
This is the second month that the Port police have not gotten their overtime money on time. The Port pays on the last or closest Tuesday to the end of the month. But the new chief of police only cares about himself. The workers (police), don’t want to work with him because he does not listen to anyone. He was shown how to make up the overtime sheet, but it appears that he can’t do the job.
The Port has a jeep that is on duty any time a ship works. For years, the union and its workers had been trying to get the Port to take home workers who live as far as Greggs and Spring Village when they finish sometimes after midnight.
They were bluntly refused by the management. But do you know that the chief of police took that same jeep Sunday, August 29,
and drove his dogs
to Chateaubelair and back.
On Monday, the lady who takes money to the bank complained about the dogs’ scent in the jeep. The guys at the garage say they are not riding in it until it is properly cleaned.
This man’s like he is on the Port for a ride. Workers at the Port cannot make an outside call without getting a supervisor who has a pin number to give them a call. This man has a direct line. There is nothing wrong with that, even though it is always busy. But he was also provided with a celluar phone by the Port Authority. Do you know that the bill for July was $758. That is not bad at all. What is bad is that most of the calls were made after working hours in the night and even worse, he only worked half of July.
I would like to know what August is. The assistant accountant and internal auditor had a problem with the bill. When they took it to the accountant, they were told to pay the bill because the manager signed it. I want to know if the manager looked at it before or he doesn’t care?
The Minister of Education and most of all the Prime Minister have asked the Football Federation for accountability with the public financing. It leaves one to wonder if they know what is going on at the Port with government money.
The manager will have no problem paying those bills. He has a Cable & Wireless cell phone paid for by the Port Authority. The chief of police has a more sophisticated Digicel phone. The manager fell in love with the one that the chief of police got from Digicel and he ordered a similar one for himself. It will be a guess for Sir Vincent and the Prime Minister the cost of the manager’s two cell phone bills.
Mr. Prime Minister you will have to look carefully at people whom you think are there to help the country. It is never too late to do the right thing. These fellas don’t have to ask anyone to vote your party and the same people who they are putting to ride in the dog jeep are saying that not even you can get them to go to the polls and put an X if the election is called and you still have those two fellows as manager and chief of police. Mr. Prime Minister, please take another look at the Port Authority.
At the Customs, things seem to be taking shape. The traffickers have realised that the Customs mean business and that if they were allowed to do what they were doing, time would have caught up on them.
The Prime Minister has promised that he would see what he could do in the next six months to prepare them for the Caricom Single Market and Economy. In the meantime, the Customs must do what is expected of them. Things like putting good officers at places like the baggage room, have it closed at 4 p.m., and have all personal effects wait until the following day.
Enforcement officers must be on the wharf when those vessels are off-loading cargo after 4 p.m., or they must stop and unload the cargo the following working day. It is very difficult to work those ships in the night.
There is a particular Customs guard who’s like a man from Mars. Even if he is not on duty, he is mingling with the cargo. When other workers tell what he is doing is not right, he gets vex
and responds that he knows where Sir Vincent’s office is.
Other than that, the new comptroller of Customs is doing a good job. The next thing he must do to help the public is see after all this thing at the Port where the police take away your national ID and downgrade you for an hour. You will take 20 minutes for someone to find your barrel, and before you get it, he wants $5 to open it. A Customs officer takes ten minutes to dig it up.
Then the worst thing you want is a cashier who appears to be vexed with the world and is waiting to tell you: “You have to have the exact money. I don’t have any change.”
Then you have to go over to the Port office at C.K. Greaves for a tail gate, than a gate pass that takes up the next 30 minutes before you can be a citizen of SVG again when they return your ID to you.

Worried Citizen