Delays reported at GAIA
There has been very little indication that the go-slow by immigration and customs officers at the airport at the behest of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) has had a major impact on the travelling or business public.
The NUPW announced on Friday that the border security agency would take the first leg of industrial action to pressure Government into reversing a decision to revert NUPW President Akanni McDowall to an entry level position, dramatically terminating his acting role in a senior post.
When Barbados TODAY visited the Grantley Adams International Airport today there were no signs of delays, with incoming passengers saying they had no complaints.
Boxer Kimberly Gittens, who had arrived with her teams from Guadeloupe, described the customs and immigration process as “smooth sailing”.
“I actually had a pretty reasonable time coming through Grantley Adams [International] Airport. I didn’t have any issues at all – no luggage issues, no stops at immigration, and that was the same for my teammates and they have actually come and gone. It was smooth sailing,” Gittens said.
A similar account was given by a male passenger who arrived on a LIAT flight, which landed at about the same time as a much larger international flight.
On Saturday, reports had surfaced of lengthy queues at the immigration checkpoint at the airport’s departure hall. However, one airport worker told Barbados TODAY this was par for the course.
“Once September hits there are long lines at departure and long lines in arrival when the big planes land. So a big crowd or a long line is no evidence that there is a go-slow,” said the airport official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
However, GAIA Corporate Communications Specialist Keith Goddard confirmed that there “were delays and this was regrettable”.
Meanwhile at Terminal 2, staff at LIAT Cargo and Seawell Agencies said they had noticed no difference in the time it took for shipments to be processed or cleared. As a matter of fact, one customs officer told Barbados TODAY he was not sure if the call to industrial action applied to the cargo section as officers there had only learned of the go-slow through the media.
At the Bridgetown Port, Custom’s Broker Marcus Evans told Barbados TODAY it has always been busy at the port and today was no different. Port officials confirmed that it was business as usual.
However, NUPW General Secretary Roslyn Smith said the industrial action was a success based on a lower than usual staff turnout and the go-slow.
Following a meeting last Friday with a handful of customs and immigration officers, Smith had promised escalated industrial action if the union had not received a favourable response to its demand after the Public Service Commission’s meeting today.
Smith had also said the union was confident of the support of its members to the cause.
“We are satisfied with the commitment of the representatives. We even had a representative from the airport who have committed to the support of the cause. We have strong representatives throughout the public service,” Smith said at the time.