AG warned to tread carefully with ‘on camera’ customs attacks

General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) Toni Moore is making it clear that her union was never opposed to having cameras installed at this island’s ports of entry.

Responding to a statement made this week by Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite to the effect that Cabinet had instructed the minister responsible to do all within his power to immediately see that we have cameras at all of our ports of entry and that no one, including the trade unions should be against what was considered to be “a national security measure”, Moore told Barbados TODAY that the BWU “obviously would support [such a move] because [we] at no point in time opposed such implementation.

“In fact, when cameras were first introduced to the port, one should recall that there was no statement from the BWU negating the need for cameras or the value of cameras in the port,” she added.

With that in mind, Moore said it was difficult to understand why the issue was raising its head as one that trade unions might be challenging.

“What I recall [the unions] challenging is that if there is going to be any change in the work environment,” she said, while suggesting that there was absolutely no harm in the authorities recognizing the need for consultation on the proposed changes — something which she said the union had always advocated for.

“I think what is required at this stage more than ever is appropriate consultation with all stakeholders, all of the relevant authorities, so that the best decision can be implemented. This is so that categories of workers, and I refer specifically to the customs officers and guards, would not be presented to the public as being culpable of anything or contribution to a situation which we have now recognize is really out of control,” Moore advised.

She also took exception to the Attorney General’s “very pointed statements” which she said “suggest or lead one to conclude that the reason, for all the negatives in this society, especially as it relates the increased spate of crime and violence, point to customs guards and officers.

“This is where we have to be careful that statements, even if well intentioned, may not in fact be reckless enough to apportion blame to a particular category of worker for a number of the ills that we are now experiencing in our society,” the BWU boss cautioned.

The decision to install cameras had previously faced resistance from the National Union of Public Workers, which has long raised objections to the idea on the grounds that customs officers were performing a sensitive role which required confidentiality.

However, the BWU General Secretary stressed the need for dialogue, while suggesting that “if there is adequate consultation, those are things that can be clarified and sorted out.

“The unions should not purport to get into any kind of discussion that would see us trying to manage a customs department or to manage those kinds of arrangements. What we would want is to make sure that through consultation, any decision made or plan implemented is not one that is injurious to people’s condition
. . . . To me, that is an operations issue that we can be made aware of through discussion. I wouldn’t want to get into that,” she said.

Addressing the third quarterly general meeting of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association on Wednesday, Brathwaite said it was no longer a question of if, but when cameras would be placed at ports of entry.

“It wasn’t done in the past because there was some petty arguments, [such as], ‘who are going to look at the cameras, what happens if an officer wants to do something private’ and all kinds of pettiness. Those days are past. It has to be done. Given the level of gun violence we are seeing in this country it has to be done and we intend to get it done,” Brathwaite told the audience, which included Griffith, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy and hotel executives, adding that police and other border security officers would be given “equal” power at the ports of entry.

Brathwaite also said Government was “moving aggressively” to scan all containers entering the Bridgetown Port, “along with enhanced use of scanners and security cameras at all ports of entry”.

And in an attempt to further wrestle the crime situation, he said Government intended to allow police officers additional powers to carry out searches.

However, Moore believes there needs to be a complete overhaul of the island’s defence and security infrastructure, otherwise, she warned that things were liable to continue slipping through the cracks.
ryangilkes@barbadostoday.bb.

21 Responses to AG warned to tread carefully with ‘on camera’ customs attacks

  1. Carson C Cadogan September 16, 2017 at 12:43 am

    The police have said time and again that the Custom officers were complicit in the importation of illegal guns into the island.

    Reply
  2. Kevin September 16, 2017 at 4:07 am

    Give us a break. Every time the government of the day talked about the installation cameras at the port, the unions would come out strongly against it.

    Reply
  3. sticks and stones September 16, 2017 at 5:05 am

    this woman is a bold face liar

    Reply
  4. sticks and stones September 16, 2017 at 5:06 am

    Toni Moore needs to tell the truth

    Reply
  5. sticks and stones September 16, 2017 at 5:09 am

    PM Stuart pointed out recently the untruths the Union tells , Now her she goes again speaking another one, Does she have no shame

    Reply
  6. Bajan September 16, 2017 at 6:38 am

    The people are backing the government on this issue. The unions opposed cameras in the Ports of Entry for years. What discussion are you talking about? This is non-negotiable. All the government has to do is inform its employees and the Unions that they are installing CCTV and explain how the operations will work and the impact, if any, it would have on any privacy of staff or the general public. It’s not negotiations. It’s not collective bargaining. Unions back off and don’t test the peoples’ patience at this time cause you will lose.

    Reply
    • LiveUp September 16, 2017 at 1:10 pm

      The unions never disputed the place of the camera at all ports of entry…. the dispute was who would manage the cameras? because cameras at ports of entry no one mans them…and the only port of entry with no cameras or and not a single officer is Port Ferdinand

      Reply
  7. Bajan September 16, 2017 at 6:51 am

    Mr. Commissioner of Police. DO NOT BACK DOWN! Your mandate is overall national security. Instruct your investigators to go anywhere at the Bridgetown Port or GAIA. To follow the crime wherever it leads. Police have the authority by law to go anywhere at any Port of Entry and in any Customs are in Barbados without hindrance. HM Customs or security can’t obstruct them. You don’t need their permission and you don’t have to involve them in every investigation at the Ports. Those days are over!

    Reply
    • bk September 16, 2017 at 7:28 am

      i second that

      Reply
  8. Saga Boy September 16, 2017 at 7:50 am

    I remember the union objecting and being very concerned about privacy because cameras would be pointing at the paperwork of the employees. Perhaps the BWU finally recognize that this issue is a national security issue and it is not negotiable. Hence the backing down. Only just last week the NUPW President was against it.

    Reply
  9. Alex Alleyne September 16, 2017 at 8:49 am

    “NO GUNS COMING TRU OUR PORTS”……..remember ???????.

    Reply
  10. straight talk September 16, 2017 at 10:02 am

    PUT IN THEE CAMERAS PUT THEM IN, THEY SHOULD BE IN ALREADY. A LOT OF ILLEGAL ACTIVITY GO ON AT ALL THESE PORTS IN BARBADOS AND THEM CUSTOM AND IMMIGRATION OFFICERS THAT THINK THEM IS GOD’S GIFT TO BARBADOS DON’T GIVE A DAMM BOUT THEM. PUT THEM IN

    Reply
  11. orlando September 16, 2017 at 10:13 am

    there you go Red Plastic BAG . A new song fa crop over . PUT IT IN PUT IT IN LEH WE SEE. LOL

    Reply
  12. Sue Donym September 16, 2017 at 10:32 am

    If the arguments against were petty, then the failure to push on was weak. Now that the AG is catching his assertiveness, let’s get working on protecting the nation.

    Reply
  13. Donild Trimp September 16, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Anyone who would be against cameras being installed at all ports of entry in Barbados would be the perfect candidate for a head examination.

    Given what is known from the intelligence gathered, this should not even be a debatable issue.

    What are we missing here?

    Reply
  14. Greengiant September 16, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    The police never singled out Customs employees or any other employees at any port for responsibility with the importation of contraband in any form.

    The Police made it clear they had intelligence that these illegal items were entering the country through legitimate ports of entry. That’s all they said. We need to bear in mind that most of the containers entering the country are now searched at private warehouses and not in the port. I would not be surprised if this is where the opportunity is occurring. Remember for there to be a crime there must be desire and opportunity. We can’t affect desire of some, but we can reduce or frustrate the opportunity with stringent security processes. @ Carson C Cadogan

    Reply
  15. Chris Wright September 16, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Thank you ‘LiveUp’ for a question I had in mind. I commented on this topic many months ago and my question still remains, will Port Ferdinand also be monitored?
    Persons who want to operate ‘under the radar’ will find this location to operate and the contrabands will still enter the island.
    Mr. A G, you have your work cut out for you and you have to ‘PLUG ALL THE HOLES’ else there will be leakage. You don’t necessarily have to ‘build a wall’ but..I think you understand where we are coming from.

    Reply
  16. Carson C Cadogan September 16, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    “”Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith told a news conference yesterday that intelligence had revealed that illegal firearms were coming through legitimate ports of entry and that officials were letting them through either wittingly or unwittingly.

    “From an investigative view point, it is clear that there is an abundance of high caliber weapons and large quantities of available ammunition on the streets. What is also clear is that [those] weapons are not lawfully manufactured in Barbados and the wider region, so they are being smuggled into the island. Our intelligence suggests they are coming through legitimate ports of entry, either assisted by officials, or not detected by them at our borders. This is an untenable situation which has to be addressed if we are to stem the flow of these weapons,” Griffith said””

    Barbados Today

    Reply
  17. Carson C Cadogan September 16, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    But, to be quite honest , the crooked Barbados Labour Party is responsible for the increase Lawlessness and crime in Barbados.

    Reply
    • Bajan September 16, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      Carson C Cadogan you gone and spoil it now! Why do that? You made an excellent nonpartisan contribution earlier.

      Reply
  18. straight talk September 16, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    FIRST TIME THEE AG WOULD BE DOING SOMETHING.

    Reply

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