Not so fast
A red light is flashing over Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s plans to install additional surveillance cameras at all ports of entry, particularly the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA).
The National Union of Public Workers’ (NUPW) is demanding full discussion with all involved before any new installations are made.
General secretary Dennis Clarke, whose trade union represents immigration and customs officers, told the DAILY NATION yesterday the NUPW?was not opposed to the plans, but insisted that thorough discussion must take place.
The trade unionist said that cameras were already in place at the airport and although they were not officially put into operation, someone used the video footage from last December 24 and as a result two workers were illegally fired for allegedly purchasing duty free goods.
“Management of Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) Inc. has never sat down and had any real discussion with the union, but we are not opposed. But let’s look at some of the sterile areas and let’s work out a memorandum of understanding,” Clarke said.
Clarke said customs officers needed to be protected with their sensitive duties and noted that some areas of ports of entry were “extremely sterile” and should not be treated lightly.
He said there were hints that GAIA?Inc. wanted to “dictate the entire show”, but pointed out there were international requirements when it came to ports of entry.
In a television interview on Tuesday night, the Prime Minister said the cameras would confirm or contradict allegations like those of Shanique Myrie, a Jamaican woman who claimed she was “finger-raped” by officials at the airport.
Over the years, the planned use of cameras at ports of entry has come under fire from customs officers who protested it could put their lives in danger if the tapes fell into the wrong hands.
The Prime Minister said in the interview that after taking a comprehensive tour of the airport he took the decision that cameras would be placed where none were “so that in the event that anyone feels bold enough to make allegations as serious as those made by Myrie, camera evidence should be available either to confirm the allegation or to contradict it”.