Airport security officer still trying to get his job back 6 years after being fired over crab back issue

Vescott Jones

Controversy still hovers over half a decade after Security Officer Vescott Jones of Marigot was reportedly fired for allowing Leader of the United Workers Party, Lenox Linton, who was leaving Dominica, to dispose of a quantity of cooked crab backs at the Douglas Charles Airport since he did not have the required permit to travel with them.

The incident occurred on October 19, 2014 but blew up in the local media in December that year when Linton revealed that the security officer was fired as a result of the episode.

The UWP leader had labelled the matter as an example of political victimization against people from Marigot but Dominica Air and Seaport Authority (DASPA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Benoit Bardouille, had said that Jones failed to follow the standard procedures which security officers operate under, hence his employment was terminated.

As it stands, an industrial tribunal hearing is still ongoing in which Jones, through his lawyer, Gildon Richards, is appealing Bardouille’s decision, claiming unfair dismissal.

According to Richards, who spoke to Dominica News Online (DNO), so far, all witnesses except Bardouille have testified but the case has been at a standstill since the tribunal was reconstituted because its term expired and a secretary has not been appointed.

“We’ve repeatedly requested information with respect to the status of the tribunal [as to] whether the chairman was going to be reappointed. We were eventually told that the chairman had been reappointed and everything is getting settled,” Richards said. “We repeatedly returned to the labour division enquiring why we have not started [and] the repeated response we got was ‘we don’t have a secretary to the tribunal appointed.’ The secretary to the tribunal must be appointed by the minister, that’s Mr. [Rayburn] Blackmoore,”

He further stated, “In all of the public service, we are being told [that] nobody can be found to record… the testimony of Mr. Bardouille to the tribunal.”

Richards said that after Bardouille’s testimony, the next step would be to await a decision.

“So Mr. Bardouille is the only person right now, who must make himself available to the tribunal and the minister is the person that must move the tribunal to perform its functions according to law by appointing a secretary to the tribunal,” he said.

“I don’t believe the public service would fall on its face if for three hours, a secretary was appointed to complete the witness testimony at least for Mr. Bardouille and for another few days to transcribe that testimony or any testimony for the tribunal to proceed into doing its work. Just think of the public service, the largest employer in Dominica of clerical services and you’re getting an explanation, ‘we cannot find a secretary’,” Richards added.

He was adamant that his client did not breach the law and claims that Jones was vindictively dismissed. He said according to law, the basic function of airport security is to ensure that they prevent dangerous materials from getting onto aircrafts.

“The statute does not impose upon them a duty to seize things that do not come within the purview of what they have been put there to do,” Richards noted. “First of all, there is no ban on the exportation of food.”

Meanwhile, when contacted by DNO for comment, Minister Blackmoore said he was unable to speak on matters relating to the tribunal since the hearing is still ongoing.

The Forestry Wildlife and Parks Division had released a statement some days after the incident in which it distanced itself from having any involvement in the situation as it developed on October 19, 2014.

The statement said that officers of the division heard the news like every other individual after it was carried in the local media on Monday, October 20, 2014, and the ensuing days.

“The allegation that the Division turned a blind eye on the instant matter is rather unfortunate,” the division stated, noting that it was concerned that “if the situation actually developed as is reported in the local media and talk-shows, then the existing protocol for dealing with such matters was not followed.”

In its statement, the Forestry and Wildlife Division reminded the public that the “exportation or attempt to export wildlife from the country without a valid export permit is a violation of the Forestry and Wildlife Act, Chapter 60:02 of the Revised Laws of Dominica.” They also noted that to claim ignorance of the law, which has been in force since 1976, is no defense.

Speaking to media recently, Jones described his life after the dismissal as hard and painful.

His lawyer also revealed that Jones has not had any full-time employment in six years and has been making a living out of meagre means. His mother, an amputee whose health deteriorated due to the incident, is totally dependent on Jones for sustenance, Richards said.

“She has lost some of her health because of that, constantly grieving about the situation,” the lawyer added.

Gildon Richards is Jones’ attorney

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22 Comments

  1. Maychanstay
    March 4, 2021

    Every pig has its Saturday. When we travel and go through Puerto Rico, those mal couchon does take our food and throw it! You see them fire any one of them for that??? If it is illegal, yes, you throw it. If it is not allowed, yes you throw it!! You only get charged if you did not declare it! If you declare it, hey will just throw it!! Westay la!

  2. Bwa-Banday
    March 2, 2021

    Now for Marigot people to support one of their own and possibly get some laborites on their side they there counting days like Kindergarten children. Bryan and others, now is the time to move and make Skerro pay for his vindictiveness.

  3. Ibo France
    March 2, 2021

    Looking at this young man’s countenance there is an air of frustration, vexation, melancholy that surrounds him. This can’t be easy.

    Mr. Skerrit and his cabinet of malleable disciples live in a post empathy world.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2
  4. Ibo France
    March 2, 2021

    What has happened to Mr. Vescott Jones can happen to any Dominican who is not well connected to the Skerrit’s regime.

    A young healthy man very recently died in police custody; a poor farmer’s thousands of bunches of plantains were bulldozed; opposition leaders are facing charges in connection with a coup that didn’t happen.

    What is alarmingly shocking is that the Dominican people for the most part and the indolent, cowardly news media and ‘journalists’ remain ear-shatteringly silent. Where is the OUTRAGE from civil society. Unbelievable!

    When lethargy, apathy, passivity prevails in light of these consistent persecution, victimization and discrimination, the ruling elitist plutocrats will only get bolder in perpetrating their wickedness against people they arbitrarily perceive to be enemies of the state.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1
  5. Viewsexpressed
    March 2, 2021

    Bob B, you are out of context in this matter and this young man should not have been treated that way. I have travelled many times, frequently, through our Melville Hall Airport without any such hiccup and to have an airport officer confiscating my Crabs where I, “along others” have not broken any laws and went without any suspect or issues departing our Dominica’ onto another Island. It’s at that border where the Custom Officer(s) are positioned will ask that Good will be examined and weove on to our on-going journey, while in Antigua in transit.
    This business of confiscating of such produce be must be stopped.
    Let’s stop harassing our people and confiscating our produce where we travel to meet and enjoy our family members. I hope this Nonsensical behaviour ends now.
    Good luck on your tasks and challenges at our airport, we commend you all.
    Good Luck and appreciate our out going and in coming Dominican Nationals. They support us financially exceedingly well. Gods Guidance…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3
    • March 4, 2021

      Dominicans are the most uninformed and illinformed Caribbean people

  6. Iamanidiot
    March 2, 2021

    The act says “Wildlife”, you cannot export wildlife. I didn’t go to school so let me try to understand that. When I hear wildLIFE I’m thinking about Iguana, Opossum, and Crabs in a bag…with..LIFE. Now in countries where an animal is protected, lets say elephant, if you try to travel with a piece of it’s ivory tusk you will get in trouble. Cause it’s just banned outright, however, crabback is not banned, he wasnt travelling with a bag of live crabs, the man had his crab in his fridge since last hunting season. So how was the protocol not followed, Linton wasn’t exporting WildLife, the man was traveling with some food to eat when he reach Puerto
    Rico cause air port food expensive. What is the protocol? Call forestry to come for some crab that going and be smelling by time they get there? If it was Parrot meat, I understand, but crabs not protected like that. I haven’t even gone high school and I can win that case in court. All I want is $250 when you win that case.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  7. Lin clown
    March 2, 2021

    Ronnie Isidore was Lennox Linton lawn tennis partner at Belfast.Ronnie decided to contest the leadership of UWP,they,UWP turned around and accused Ronnie of betraying the party to the DLP.Look what they did to Joshua Francis in Mahaut.They JUDGED ,CONVICTED and EXECUTED him by the court of UWP.So % who is wicked and crooked?.DNO cannot stand those facts.

  8. Outsider
    March 2, 2021

    Pretty sure the ancient monolith that is the UN, gets its secretary in place in half the time it’s taken to get this tribunal’s decision. Do we not understand how these things reflect on Dominica? Stay strong brother – right or wrong you deserve an answer, even simply for the fact that you’re human and are owed the same respect as anyone else.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
  9. %
    March 1, 2021

    Hold strong brother…..This injustice is the hallmark of evil and wicked leadership, and of course the hatred the wicked souls have for Lennox Linton!!!
    Nothing lasts for ever!!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 3
  10. Tobby
    March 1, 2021

    In relation to Mr. Vescott, now you really have to do your work diligently, which I dnt want to speculate on any other thing, because we only talking about crab backs. Now in a case scenario like this, if processed food are not allow on air planes and he deny it from either taking the food or allowing Mr.Linton to give it to someone instead of throwing the well seasoned delicious crab backs, I do not see Mr. Vescott has a case to answer, order than a reprimand in a form of a warning letter. Therefore, I would prefer if Mr. Bennoit. B, reinstate the guy to take care of his family and pay him for the 6 years he out of work. And if cannot be avoided because, I would advice him to take the matter to a civil court through his lawyer against Mr. Benoit, DASPA and the Gvnmt of Dominica. And he will differently win his case, the simple way is pay the guy for his time and call him back to work.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1
  11. BobD
    March 1, 2021

    Vescott J, though he knew just what he was doing, shouldn’t be the one facing the consequences. The UWP leader, Mr Linton as a National leader must know what is on the no fly list, He should take full responsibility for Vescott losing his go to job. Crabs, a toxic delicacy that is laced with cancer carrying properties, is rightfully aligned with Mr Linton’ leadership, which is emotional in all aspects. Vescott have been thrown under the bus, in reality, Mr Linton should have already use His influence if any, to find Vescott a job equivalent to the one lost. Sah Se Pawol Mama!.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 29
  12. Tobby
    March 1, 2021

    There is a difference in the exportation of wild life and processed wildlife. I am not purview at this moment with the forest and wildlife act in Dominica, I would have to go through the act. But I’m an knowledgeable of the law. Lets talk out of politics now. And I would like someone with knowledge to respond, because I know the guy very well. Points to follow:
    1. Did Mr. Linton was travelling with alive, wildlife to wit Crabs?
    2. Did Mr. Linton was travelling with dead wildlife to wit Crabs?
    3. Did Mr. Linton was travelling with frozen wildlife to wit crabs?
    4. Did Mr. Linton was travelling with processed wildlife to wit Crabs?
    5. Did Mr. Linton was travelling with a certain processed food made out of crabs, name crab backs?
    Now processed means in layman’s take out from its original state. However, is travelling with processed food to eat illegal? Is carb an illegal creature? What if those crabs were catch before the season was closed. And again it is processed, like sarden…

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 5
  13. Ma SanJoe
    March 1, 2021

    As stated, it’s 6 years and you are still peddling lies and innuendos! Isn’t there a law in DOM that clearly states the wildlife season? Move on you didn’t follow procedures. If you are not satisfied SUE!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 15
  14. Ibo France
    March 1, 2021

    This ‘gruesome’ and indefensible dismal Mr. Vescott Jones should be kept on the front burner in the media until it has been fairly adjudicated and resolved by the relevant authority. It’s stunningly remarkable that Mr. Jones has maintained his sanity.

    This despotic regime has deprived a law abiding, young man(Mr. Jones) of making a living; bulldozed a poor, struggling farmer’s two thousand plus plantain trees; dragged Mr. Linton and other members of the UWP before a court on trumped up charges. These are just a few atrocities that only a bankrupt, insanely wicked dictatorial regime would do to its own citizens.

    Silence on these matters would only encourage this autocratic administration’s erratic and despicable conduct.

    Let’s constantly remind the public of the garbage bins and fertilizer scandals; the missing billions from the CBI; the taxpayers’ funded $64 000+ monthly payments for the misleader and his undeserving family ‘rental residence.

    Something has to…

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2
  15. LifeandDeath
    March 1, 2021

    If this is not an example of a misguided black on black senseless crime then I don’t know what is. It is absolutely certain that bad politics is responsible for more pain and suffering than many wars.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4
  16. Channel 1
    March 1, 2021

    If you want to see an example of unadulterated absolute wickedness, look no further than what has & continues to be done to Vescott Jones.

    Stay strong Vescott.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2
  17. Ibo France
    March 1, 2021

    There can be no sensible nor justifiable reason for the unwarranted dismissal of this lowly security officer, Mr. Vescott Jones. It’s no wonder the public service is so dysfunctional and unproductive as political operatives of the ruling party are strategically put in positions of authority to act as hatchet men and women if civil servants don’t tow the government line.

    Imagine, after six (6)years, this distraught gentleman, a victim of blatant political mischief is not even afforded as much as a hearing. HEARTWRENCHING!

    This case should arouse all the sensibilities in us. The Ministers of government and all who support the political firing of Mr. Vescott, have lost their humanity. God doesn’t like ugliness. KARMA awaits all these demonically evil people.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1
  18. Joseph E. Doway
    March 1, 2021

    Dominican Politicians have a serious problem, which to me stems from an Ego for power, because I have the job and I am bigger than God. Hence the reason, the country is as backward as it is today. The Hacks, knowing that they are wrong will never accept then fact that they are wrong, because they want to continue to be Kiss A… to the ruling Government. Right is Right and Wrong is Wrong. I am not into Dominica Politics, hence the reason I have never voted, because the men we have in Government are just Dictators who forget that one day, they will no longer hold either Political Office or High Office. Please step off your high horses and be real.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1
  19. Iamanidiot
    March 1, 2021

    I vaguely remember that story but…help me understand. He was dismissed cause he allowed Linton to throw away the crab back?
    But…When I’m traveling out of Dominica, In the States, In Europe and I have a bottle of water, or an open pack of biscuit, they allow me to drink it or throw it and no one ever gets fired. Does “cooked food” have a different procedure? Was there an issue cause it was “Crab backs”? If he is not allowed to board with cooked food…what else was he supposed to make Linton do? apart from eat what he can and throw the rest. Was it hunting season? it wasn’t live crabs, the man could have had his crab in his fridge for months.
    This is interesting…hold strong my brother…Just now you will get your couple millions, I doe mind drinking a Seamoss on your head, cause that doesn’t make no sense or cents.
    They stalling that case.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2
  20. smh
    March 1, 2021

    this is totally unfair to the man…everyone sometimes has bad judgement makes errors…and he wont be the only officer to make anyone pass with things. he could get a warning letter or something, but to fire someone over this petty thing. my boy leave it to God trust me… because “99days for the thief, 1 day for the police” smh

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3
  21. click here
    March 1, 2021

    Granted they have the full right to argue the case. I would suggest that the young man seek some other form of employment. However, jobs a far and few here. Decent viable ones even worse.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

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