Managers at the Barbados Port Authority have taken voluntary lie detector tests, the authority’s chairman, Senator Lisa Cummins revealed to fellow lawmakers.
The Government senator’s disclosure that she also plans to submit to polygraph questioning, came in response to charges by Senator Caswell Franklyn that he had heard rumours that customs officers would be forced to take the tests.
He then suggested members of Cabinet would first have to take lie detector tests as a means of “leading by example” before submitting to the tests.
In her contribution to debate on amendments to the Customs Act, Senator Cummins said management at the Port were doing just that having volunteered to be tested.
To thunderous applause from colleagues, she declared:
“As it relates to the Port, our managers have led by example starting first and I, too, will subject my own self as chairman of the board to the same process, so we are leading by example.”
In revealing other security upgrades being made to the state-owned port, Senator Cummins said the first set of new scanners to be installed at the Port of Bridgetown had been acquired.
She said that once installed, the Port would become one of the safest in the region.
She explained that regionwide, while the average for scanning is eight per cent, the scanning capability at the Port was now 52 per cent.
“We have acquired the first of the new scanners.
“It is here on island in the Port and it is going to be adding significantly to our ability to scan cargo.
“This is an administration that doesn’t wait for final solutions, this is an administration that simualtaneously also looks at mitigation strategies because that’s what you do with risk management.
“We changed the orientation of an entire Port and how it functions, to ensure that when a ship docks on any one of those piers and cargo is being discharged from berth four through berth five, or in the Shallow Draught, that we don’t have to slow down the delivery of that cargo, certainly from our side, for the purpose of inspection.
“So that, in a short space of time, we moved from zero per cent scanning capability as it was over the last four years, to six per cent at the end of last year, to the point where we are now at today 52 per cent scanning [capability].
“We do not take the security of the people of this country lightly,” Senator Cummins said.
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