Why Didn’t SLASPA Know About Co­caine?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By

TToni Ni­cholas hree weeks ago a re­li­able source in­formed the STAR that pack­ages of co­caine had been found on an Air Canada plane as it pre­pared to de­part He­wan­nora Air­port en-route to Toronto. We were also in­formed that two em­ploy­ees of the ground han­dling company at the air­port, CDSL, were sus­pended pend­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. In last Satur­day’s STAR we broke the story even though to date there has been no state­ment from the po­lice or the Saint Lu­cia Air and Sea­ports Au­thor­ity (SLASPA).

Ac­tu­ally, SLASPA’s gen­eral man­ager Keigan Cox had last week cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nied our pre­pub­li­ca­tion story.

“I think this is some­thing I would have known about,” he said. “I can as­sure you that I have not heard of such an in­ci­dent. In fact I have my head of ports po­lice right here and I will put you on speaker phone so you can ask him your­self. If some­thing like that did hap­pen he would know about it.”

I pro­ceeded to ask the ports of­fi­cial whether there was any truth to the story that pack­ages of co­caine were found on an Air Canada flight at He­wanorra. He chuck­led then is­sued an em­phatic “No!” He as­sured me that any in­ci­dent such as I had men­tioned “would have been brought to the at­ten­tion of our of­fice.”

As I say, we ran any­way with what we had from a re­li­able source. On Tues­day morn­ing I took a call from SLASPA’s Dorna Regis. “Well,” she said, “we are pre­pared to send you a state­ment on the mat­ter.” I re­minded her of my dead­line and she promised to get back to me later that day or the next.

On Thurs­day morn­ing I re­ceived another call from Regis. She re­called our ear­lier con­ver­sa­tion then in­formed me that SLASPA would not be is­su­ing a state­ment after all. More­over, all re­lated queries should be di­rected to the po­lice.

“Are you ad­mit­ting SLASPA ac­knowl­edges what I wrote is true?” I asked.

“Yes,” she replied, “but it is a mat­ter the po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing and you may wish to con­tact them. How­ever, none of our staff has been fired over the mat­ter.”

On Thurs­day I sought fur­ther en­light­en­ment from SLASPA’s GM, to no avail. Ef­forts to reach Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Ver­non Fran­cois or his deputy Frances Henry proved use­less.

We have learned this week that there is now an em­bargo on CDSL staff at He­wan­nora Air­port board­ing Air Canada flights. By all our source has told us, the co­caine pack­ages were placed on the plane by some­one em­ployed at the air­port.

This year there have been sev­eral in­ci­dents of lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional drug mules slip­ping through He­wan­nora Air­port se­cu­rity, en route to the United States, Canada and the UK where at least three have been caught by Heathrow of­fi­cials.

Most re­cently UK po­lice in­ter­cepted a 23-year-old who was later charged with smug­gling 340g of co­caine into London from Saint Lu­cia!

SLASPA’s Gen­eral Man­ager Keigan Cox: Did some­one de­lib­er­ately keep him in the dark?

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