THE EDITOR: The suspension of Estate Constable Kelvon Alexander, a member of the Airports Authority’s security force, for two weeks without pay has come under recent scrutiny. And rightly so.
Alexander was apparently suspended because he instructed Ministers Dennis Moses and Camille Robinson-Regis that they could not exit the duty-free area of the airport through an access-controlled door. In other words, he was doing his job.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs issued a statement dated September 4, entitled “Clarification of Incident at Piarco International Airport.”
The purported clarification did nothing to alleviate the situation. Rather, it pitted “protocol” against proper procedure. In other words, in the guise of preferential treatment (ie protocol), it sought to justify the respective ministers’ actions. It did nothing to acknowledge that Alexander was simply doing his job.
To further aggravate the situation, Moses (the Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs) appeared on the Morning Brew with Hema Ramkissoon, also on Tuesday. For most of the interview the minister gave rather deliberate and painstaking responses to Ramkissoon’s questions about Caricom, regional integration and other matters within his purview.
However, towards the end of the interview, when questioned about the incident, the minister became visibly belligerent. To paraphrase a former politician, once the minister was opposed, he became a “raging bull.” It was shocking behaviour. It was also inconsistent with how we would expect a minister to act, let alone a minister with such an international portfolio where diplomacy and tact are key.
The minister’s response also gave insight into the uphill battle that Alexander may have faced in his interaction and subsequent internal investigation.
In the end, TT needs a culture shift when it comes to politicians. Navigating Piarco International is not like navigating Heathrow. By all accounts Alexander was punished for doing his job and, for want of a better term, upholding the rule of law. Disciplining him is disproportionate and unfair.
DR EMIR CROWNE
barrister and attorney