‘No proof customs officers are crooked’

If there is evidence to support claims that customs officers are the one bringing guns into the island, arrest them.

This from the President of the National Union of Public Workers Akanni McDowall to the top ranks of the Royal Barbados Police Force and others who have suggested that the officers were complicit in the entry of illegal weapon into Barbados.

“There is no evidence to show that customs officers are involved in any kind of illegal activity. Think about it. You are the Commissioner of Police. You believe that customs officers are involved in illegal activity. Why don’t you go and arrest the customs officer?  If you have evidence that these officers are doing things that are illegal, why don’t you address the situation?” McDowall said while speaking during a panel discussion on How Can We Stop the Guns from Coming, organized by the Men’s Fellowship of the Cave Hill Wesleyan Church.

“The customs officers I know are very honest, very sound, very fair people and very firm people. They uphold the law of this country to the hilt. There is absolutely no evidence to show that these officers are involved in any kind of illegal activity,” the NUPW president reiterated.

Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith has said that border control officers were wittingly, or unwittingly, allowing illegal guns into the country.

There has been mounting public concern over escalating gun crimes here, with firearms having been used in 21 of the 25 murders committed so far this year, according to police.

Last month alone, there were five such deaths, the most recent on Tuesday night when cousins, Renaldo Gittens, 23,  and Kyle Rico Sad Boy Burgess, 21, both of Eastpoint, St Philip were shot to death while liming at Marley Vale in the same parish.

Shedding further light on the union’s position as it relates to the installation of cameras at ports of entry, McDowall explained that the objections revolved around who would man the devices at the end point, given the sensitive nature of what was being discussed between the customs officer and persons coming before them.

“What they said is that whoever mans the camera would have to be absolutely confidential because we live a small society and everybody knows each other.  We have to be careful about who we get to do these confidential jobs or take on these confidential tasks. That was the problem.  The union was never against having cameras in the ports of entry. As a matter of fact, there are cameras at the airport, and there are cameras in the seaport as we speak. You have to make sure that the person at the end [manning the cameras] do not put the custom officer at risk.

“Understand the job of a customs officer. [They are] there to identify any kind of activity that is going against the laws of Barbados. So, they find people who have guns, they find people who have drugs, they have to go and interview these people . . . .If I am a drug dealer and I see that a particular officer has prevented me from importing my drugs, who ever mans the camera comes back to me and says, ‘it is this customs officer who stopped your goods from coming in’. Who is going to protect the customs officer after that?”

McDowall said he shared the view that the drugs and guns entering the island were not coming through the ports of entry, but rather through the porous areas on the island,

“We have a country and island that is surrounded by water. It therefore means that there are many access points around the country. There is a possibility that these guns could be coming through any of these points.

“There are many access point around this country and for us to single out that the guns are coming through the ports of entry without any kind of evidence is really unfair. I know we say it without thinking about the consequence . . . it is really unfair to those officers who man the ports of entry,” McDowall said.

However, he was quick to point out that if at any point there was evidence that officers were supporting the criminal activity in this country, “I support wholeheartedly as a unionist and the president of NUPW that that officer be disciplined to the fullness of the law.

“I will not support officers engaging in illegal activity, but similarly I will support officers who do an honest day’s work,” he said.

14 Responses to ‘No proof customs officers are crooked’

  1. Francia MATTHEWS September 2, 2017 at 6:27 am

    Search everything entering this island, diplomatic bags, government ministers bags, business men bags …..EVERYBOBY. That is how. NOBODY SHOULD BE ABOVE THE LAW. Until then, we need to shut it. I dare the GOVERNMENT’S to JOIN TOGETHER AND ENFORCE THE LAW FAIRLY AND WITH BOLDNESS

    Reply
  2. Jus me September 2, 2017 at 7:29 am

    Prime example of someone speaking to fit the position they hold.

    I know, You know, WE ALL know,
    Every man jack, bent, twist crooked.
    From,
    PM and then on down.

    Clap trap!!
    Barbados is a string bag,Just Holes,
    Held together by a String of lies.
    NOBODY in any position in Barbados, dont use
    That position.
    Thats why them get in positions
    Start with PM!!
    Now tell ,he ENT use his position for every cent
    It worth.
    Then move on down the line.

    Nothing ent going to get better here EVER.
    Just more lies and artificial respectable speach.whenever necessary

    Reply
  3. Patrick September 2, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Akanni, it would help you better if you keep your big mouth shut, you venturing in areas you know nothing of.

    I am sorry for the workers in this country when people like you with a clear political agenda is allowed to lead them.
    One thing I know for sure is that Mary,Roslyn, Toni and Akanni can’t lead me in anything.

    Reply
  4. real vexx September 2, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    And then they want to blame me because I would sit on a block and smoke a spliff. People like these that got things the way they are and Encourage workers to do what they like. No cameras and a lot of crap. BT we still waiting on info about the two last cocaine bust.

    Reply
  5. charjoy September 2, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Akanni Akanni Akanni…. you were doing ok amidst the adversity but you starting to tell lies now….stop it…..ain’t attractive

    Reply
  6. Kevin September 2, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Not all Akanni, some!

    Reply
  7. jrsmith September 2, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Mr, trade union leader dont be our politicians just say what comes to them ……. Bet you wouldn’t put your head under a guillotine , making your statement……………………………..

    Reply
  8. Akalabb September 2, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    “I will not support officers engaging in illegal activity, but similarly I will support officers who do an honest day’s work,” he said.

    Then allow the damn cameras and who is honest would not have to worry because they would be doing the job they’re paid to do. It ain rocket science Akanni

    Reply
  9. Carson C Cadogan September 2, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    The Customs officers are acting as though they are a law unto themselves.

    The Police have constantly said that customs are allowing illegal guns and drugs into the country through our ports of entry.

    Reply
  10. Mia September 3, 2017 at 2:40 am

    So when the government installs the cameras to PROTECT its borders, you should SUPPORT the move. If there is nothing to HIDE, there should be AGREEMENT at all levels.

    Reply
  11. Donild Trimp September 3, 2017 at 8:35 am

    “The customs officers I know are very honest, very sound, very fair people and very firm people. They uphold the law of this country to the hilt”.

    Akanni McDowall, you are delusional and living on another planet.

    Every honest Barbadian knows that statement is pure baloney.

    Keep burying your head in the sand and by the way, the last time I checked, the guy from Haggatt Hall with all those illegal guns and ammunition was one of your own.

    Just a reminder in case you forgot.

    Reply
  12. GJ September 3, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    The borders of Barbados are porous, the Government should have cameras placed around the island in areas in all 9 water based parishes. There is also x-ray trucks that can be used to look into these cargo containers before they leave the port or airport. Mr. McDowall I understand that your job is to represent your members, but your comments about the placement of cameras puts your Customs Officers in the spotlight of suspicion.

    Reply
  13. Andrew Simpson September 3, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Surely the drug mules or persons importing firearms would already know which customs officers are not allowing such items to pass, and would be able to furnish that information to those higher up the crime chain, so what additional threat can the observer of a video add?

    Excuses, excuses while the good citizens suffer.

    Our legal system is facilitating many, on their trip to hell.

    Reply
  14. Tony Waterman September 4, 2017 at 1:30 am

    @Francia MATTHEWS!!!! When people comment on issues, they shou; at least use a modicum of Common sense, and/or a LITTLE knowledge of what they are Commenting on, so not let’s say SILLY THINGS.

    You said:-
    “Search everything entering this island, diplomatic bags, government ministers bags, business men bags …..EVERYBOBY. That is how. NOBODY SHOULD BE ABOVE THE LAW. Until then, we need to shut it. I dare the GOVERNMENT’S to JOIN TOGETHER AND ENFORCE THE LAW FAIRLY AND WITH BOLDNESS”

    Under Some Signet Conventions (Geneve Convention Comes to Mind) you cannot search Diplomatic Pouches (Bags) You Cannot Search Government Ministers, We just went through a Spat with T&T and Jamaica over the searching of T&T’s Minister.
    Everyone else (Regulat Travellere) i agree, But Barbados has a Bigger Problem that the Airport and Sea Port.

    What kind of Customs CONTROL is there at Port. St.Charles, and Port Ferdinand, Do these Yachts of the Wealthy get inspected when the Leave Barbados Waters and Then Return, or ar they just allowed to tie up at their House and walk away unchecked, how do we know how Many AK 47’s were picked up from a Mother Ship somewhere at to sea.

    Regarding Cameras at YOW and the Bridgetown Port, i don’t see wht if the Government that was ELECTED by the PEOPLE want to Install Cameras at these Locations to PROTECT The PEOPLE, how the Union could Stop that, it’s Not their Business and should be told up Front to BUTT OUT, and the Cameras should be Installed.

    Reply

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