Chief Executive Officer of the Dominica Air and Sea Port Authority (DASPA) Benoit
Bardouille, has refuted allegations of harassment by port authorities’ personnel
of the staff of New Zealand medical ship, M/V Pacific Hope.
On Mar. 29, 2019 during a talk show on Q95 Radio, captain of the medical
ship, Marvin Wilson made accusations against DASPA claiming that his staff have
been harassed and asked to leave the shores of the island.
He also claimed that the government of Dominica has refused to sign a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) which will permit the staff of the medical ship to continue
providing free medical care to the citizens of Dominica.
“Today the Government is now throwing us out of the wharf and not allowing us
to dock there any longer, after allowing us to dock there for two years. Now the
port authorities say that we are in violation and they are going to arrest us unless
we leave,” he said.
“The head of the port authorities said he was going to have me locked up in jail
for six months if I don’t get the ship off,” Wilson claimed further.
But the DASPA CEO, Benoit Bardouille informed DA vibes in an interview on
Apr. 2, 2019 that he advised Wilson to anchor out of the port due to ongoing
construction work at the Cabrits Cruise Ship Berth in Portsmouth. Bardouille
denies all claims of harassment by DASPA.
“The port in which they are alongside is being repaired. As you know that port
was destroyed by hurricane Maria and we have not been able to put ships
alongside there because a lot of the timber deck was damaged. A lot of the
repairs were done to that facility from NH International and the crew members of
that vessel. They did some basic repairs to enable them to do medical things on
board. But when the ship came back, they sought permission for only two hours,”
“We gave them permission to clear through customs and they said that they have
some construction tools to clear through customs, and that was a matter that
they had to clear with customs. However, the port security complained that they
were off-loading ATV vehicles and trailers and so on, with no customs document.
When I was called, they were told until such time there is a customs release, those things could not go inland. They eventually loaded the stuff back on the
Mr. Bardouille addressed the claims of DASPA threatening to have the captain
arrested saying, “We indicated to them that they needed to go to an anchorage
outside of the port to enable us to continue the work that is being done at the
“I think it took them a couple of days but I think as recent as the evening of Apr. 1, 2019 they pulled the ship out from alongside and they’ve gone to anchor. So that
problem in terms of they being alongside and hindering the lawful orders that
were provided is now resolved. If they had not left alongside, we probably would
have instituted section 77 of the DASPA Act which could have led to serious legal
issues,” Bardouille stated.
He finally confirmed that all allegations made of harassment and intimidation and
personal searching by DASPA as false. “We searched no one, or vessels, we have
no legal authorities to do so.”
He firmly said that this may have been a case of mistaken identity of institutions
and that the Captain has met with him and apologized and showed understanding
that he had been addressing the wrong agency.