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Tuesday , October 27 2020

Ports at point of no return – ‘Save what we can’

Ahmad Al-Sarraf
This is an excerpt from an article I wrote in October 2003, under the title, ‘Will Sheikh Sabah Al-Ali resign?

After I read what was published by the Al-Qabas newspaper on its front page on September 24 and the continuation on another page, was about the unfortunate, terrifying tragic facts about the condition of three ports in the country.

These facts were highlighted by our colleague Ahmad Al-Rubei in his column about the conditions of the Shuwaikh Port.

Al-Rubei wrote again about the awful conditions of the Shuaiba Port based on our frequent visits together to the ports. The conditions of these ports had cost the state millions of dinars in losses due to the absence of the most basic rules and administration.

After we lost our patience, we thought of requesting the members of the Board of Directors of the Kuwait Public Ports Authority to resign in protest and we contacted the Office of the Director-General of the Authority asking for names of those responsible for the situation but our request was turned down.

We then contacted the Minister of Communications, the secretary (Mona) said she did not have the names and we were directed to another secretary identified only as Hayah, who worked at the Public Ports Authority.

After we contacted her, we came out empty handed because the names of the members of the Board of Directors were confidential and nobody was entitled to know their identity. We then again contacted in vain the Office of the Minister of Communications. At the end no one was able to help us.

We then sought the help of a lawmaker and he informed us after two days that he is unable to do anything because he too apparently had failed to get the names of the members of the Board of the worst government institution in the country. Now a majority of state institutions have reached the same state of affairs.

After several attempts and after running from pillar to post, we got some names and we realized requesting them to resign will not work since almost all of them were carefully selected because of their tendencies to say ‘Yes Sir’, or rather never object to anything.

Since we had realized that it would be impossible to force any of them out of office, although they were the reason and were directly responsible for the disastrous situation of the ports that had caused the nation losses in thousands of dinars by their unstudied decisions, we called on HH the Prime Minister to act and save what can be saved because the situation of this strategically vital facility had reached a point of no return.

We simultaneously asked Sheikh Sabah Jaber Al-Ali to accept responsibility for the situation of the ports and tender his resignation. The extract ends here.

A few days after publishing the article, a respectable colleague replied and described the performance of the director of the Authority as wonderful as if he was a magician who had just pulled out an elephant out of his hat.  This means the magic of his actions was compared to what we had said about his responsibility in the deterioration of the ports.

After all these years, the ports are still in a pathetic condition and perhaps may be worse because of the humble performance of most of those who have been supervising this vital facility over the past nearly twenty years.

Those who want to know more must read the reports published by the Al-Qabas daily and the Audit Bureau about the dilapidated conditions, the latest accusations directed at the Customs Department of the Public Ports Authority for its direct responsibility for the nine containers that have left the port unnoticed.

email: habibi.enta1@gmail.com

By Ahmad Al-Sarraf


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