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Editorial: don't pay the ferryman until he gets you to the other side ...

COMMENT PRINT ARTICLE
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PHOTO: Urmas Nemvalts

...And then the ferryman said,There is trouble ahead, So you must pay me now (don't do it), You must pay me now (don't do it), And still that voice came from beyond, Whatever you do, Don't pay the ferryman, Don't even fix a price, Don't pay the ferryman, Until he gets you to the other side.

-Chris de Burgh

Worthy of a song, the Great Estonian Ferryboats Adventure. A Middle-East type of political conundrum with dethroned ministers, quarrelling political parties, endless negotiations and discussions, protest, debates.

As Port of Tallinn won the procurement, a new chapter was opened as if. To all sceptics, smooth were the promises that swift building of vessels in Poland and Turkey is doable.

In August last year, the public was in for another shock as two Port of Tallinn board members were arrested. Already then the council and politicians were being discussed in light of letting top managers do the corrupt stuff for so long.

Now’s the time for the waters to be troubled as a bad contract with Polish shipyard means a vessel will be late. At the moment, they say it will be but a few weeks. Who can tell if it won’t end up being months. For the public company, this spells lots of extra administration. For the passengers, discomfort perhaps and should a replacement vessel fail to be found, looooong will be the waiting lines.

Regarding the islands-mainland connection, the current coalition agreement reads: «We will guarantee timely air and ship connection between Estonia’s mainland and islands.» The flight connection was cut 1.5 months ago, ferryboats are in for great confusion.

Let the courts have their regarding the Port of Tallinn managers suspected in corruption. Meanwhile, what about the responsibility of politicians sitting in Port of Tallinn council? Sure, the extent of their obligations and liabilities are prescribed by law; and who could expect the council to do additional legal and other analyses on top of what the board has already done regarding every contract.

On the other hand, embarrassing to read about council cadres knowing nothing and looking at others to determine how to vote. For sitting at the council, these people have accepted to be paid. And have promised to act as good stewards and take decisions. How come that after major flops they dust their political coats and carry on as if nothing ever happened?

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