Prime Minister Gaston Browne has advised Port Manager Darwin Telemaque to undergo an “attitude” adjustment in hopes of improving his rapport with his staff.
In an interview with OBSERVER media, yesterday, the prime minister said that he held discussions with Telemaque to address the concerns of his staff.
“I spoke to him about it, and we have asked him to make some behavioral adjustment and he has agreed. So, we are hoping that relations between himself and his staff will improve. We have even suggested some team building exercises as well, to build confidence between the management and the staff,” Browne said.
On May 30, a confrontation between port mechanic, Armin Henry and Telemaque, allegedly nearly ended in an all-out brawl.
Reportedly, Henry, who is also a shop steward, was clocking out after he was instructed to leave the port, because it was believed that he led a delegation to the union, when he was accosted by the port manager.
At the time, Telemaque stated that, according to the Port Authority Act, he was well within his right to “arrest” Henry.
The section of the Act he referred to, states that, “Any authorised employee who has been given authority under the provisions of this Act or any regulations made thereunder to maintain order upon any premises of the Authority, or in any harbour, ship or vehicle used by or for the purposes of the Authority, shall, in the performance of such duty have all the powers, rights, privileges, and protection of a member of the Police Force.”
This incident led to protest action by over 100 administrative staff from the Antigua Port Authority who walked off the job on June 1 and marched in the rain to the Office of the Prime Minister to vent their frustration with management.
The striking workers said that were “fed up” with being disrespected and spoken down to by management and senior members of staff and they would not be returning to work until their concerns had been addressed.
When OBSERVER media contacted Telemaque for comments on the matter, he said: “I don’t think that it’s in my place to respond to what the prime minister said. He said what he said and I’m not responding to that.”
The port manager further stated that he had no grievances with any port worker.
“I have no issues at the port with any worker, never had and still don’t have one. The foolishness that went on the other day I don’t even know what that is. Half the staff doesn’t know why they followed the others,” Telemaque said.