General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) Toni Moore has broken her silence on the legal predicament facing the chairman of Goddard Enterprises Limited (GEL) and head of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA), Charles Herbert, describing it as “unfortunate”.
The prominent businessman and two other Goddard employees – non-executive director Chris Rogers and sailor Walter Oneal Prescod – were charged last week in connection with a drug bust at the Bridgetown Port on July 23.
Though not prepared to speculate on what the private sector should do under the circumstances, Moore suggested that the development had come at bad time, with the country preparing to embark on a structural adjustment programme with the International Monetary Fund.
“It is unfortunate that things may come to shift focus off of that, but we certainly within the BWU will remain focused,” she said, while expressing confidence in the BPSA to fulfil its mandate within the Social Partnership, which involves Government, the unions and the private sector.
“I think that the Social Partnership will continue to do its work regardless,” she said, while arguing that the tripartite institution was bigger than any one member.
“If the union decides that their pleasure has expired as it relates to Toni Moore, I don’t believe that the BWU’s contribution will diminish within the Social Partnership,” she explained.
“Institutions must be bigger than people who stand at the helm. People can fall off the scene for whatever reason in a flash,” she told Barbados TODAY on the sidelines of a press conference this morning at Solidarity House called to outline plans for the union’s upcoming annual conference.
The BPSA is yet to issue a public response to the charges facing its chairman. However, during an impromptu press conference within the precincts of the court immediately after he was released on bail, Herbert, while maintaining his innocence, said he was prepared to resign his position at both the BPSA and GEL, if required, in order to protect their integrity.
The drug charges against Herbert and his colleagues stemmed from a drug bust aboard the Ecstasy, a private yacht owned by Goddard Enterprises. The trio is accused of possession with intent to supply, trafficking and the importation of 267 lbs or 121.4 kilogrammes of cannabis with an estimated street value of $534, 160 on July 23.
At the time, they were aboard the vessel as it was intercepted in the Bridgetown Port.
Since then the company has announced that William Putnam, the deputy chairman of its board of directors, will act in the role of chairman until such time as Herbert could resume his duties.