Bamburry death sparks port safety probe
Thursday’s discovery of Scot Bamburry’s body more than a day after the stevedore fell overboard at Berth 8 of the Port of Kingston has put the safety regime under scrutiny as parallel probes get under way into the shock death.
The family of the 39-year-old has called for a comprehensive review of workplace protocols and the incident.
That investigation is hoped to confirm whether Bamburry had access to safety gear such as a harness or life jacket, and determine whether other infrastructure was in place to mitigate the tragedy.
Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL) Chief Executive Officer Mark Williams said that occupational safety and health personnel from the Ministry of Labour are actively involved.
“They have already started their investigation with interviews and assessing, that’s well underway. They were notified at the time within an hour or two of Scot’s falling overboard,” he said in a Gleaner interview Thursday evening.
The police have also launched an investigation.
Williams said that a high-level team, including senior managers, would shadow the company’s probe, which has already turned up some findings. But Williams cautioned that the company could not state if, and when, it would disclose its findings, citing concerns for prejudicing the official police investigation.
“We certainly want to corroborate the indicators that we have seen so far,” he said.
Bamburry’s dramatic leap from car washer in his rustic home town of Wood Hall, Clarendon, to his dream job of stevedoring came after his plight went viral with a STAR feature in May 2021. The maritime school graduate had been on hard times after graduating with a diploma in international shipping and logistics in 2008 but finding it difficult to find a job in that field.
Bamburry’s brother, Cranston Craig, expressed relief that the body was found to give the family closure.
Craig has raised questions about the safety measures in what he dubbed “a high-risk job”, with workers operating from heights. He cautioned, however, that he was not taking a confrontational stance or trying to cast blame.
“We just want to understand how could this have happened and what would have been in place to prevent this from happening?” he said in a ‘Beyond the Headlines’ interview on Radio Jamaica Thursday.
Veronica Rodney, Bamburry’s aunt, was in tears when her worst fears were realised.
“I know it’s a long time, two days, and I know that it would be a recovery now, but it’s still hard, it’s still hard,” she said, bursting into tears, during a Gleaner interview via telephone from her home in Canada.
KWL’s CEO said that the area where Bamburry fell overboard shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday was sufficiently well lit. He also said that it was not the norm for terminals to have lifeguards on duty.
“There are other measures that are employed that would be robust enough to prevent an accident like that. Unfortunately, it happened, but also to do recovery,” he said.
Meanwhile, at Thursday’s monthly meeting of the Clarendon Municipal Corporation, Hayes division Councillor Scean Barneswell lamented Bamburry’s tragic end.
“It is regrettable that a young man who was aspiring to greatness had his dream cut short. I hope that a thorough investigation is being done in his death because it leads me to wonder,” Barnswell said.