(SNO) — The St. Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA) has written to government officials requesting an update, on behalf of their members, on the pending closure of the St. Lucia Marketing Board (SLMB)
In one of the two letters — both of which were sent to the media on Thursday — the CSA said it is concerned that their members do not suffer a similar fate as former employees of the St. Lucia Tourist Board and Radio Saint Lucia.
The letters, signed by CSA General Secretary Claude Paul, were sent to Barrymore Felicien, permanent secretary in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, Natural Resources and Cooperatives, and Agriculture Minister Ezechiel Joseph, on Feb. 1 and Feb. 10, respectively.
In the letter to Felicien, Paul states: “I am compelled to write to you concerning the future of the St. Lucia Marketing Board (SLMB) given that recent meetings held with the Chairman of the Board and the Manager of SLMB has not provided a clear position concerning the immediate future of the entity. The St. Lucia Civil Service Asociation (CSA) has sought clarification on several occasions ever since the pronouncements made by the Prime Minister concerning Government’s desire to review the operations of the SLMB.
“During our recent discussions, we were advised that there is a business plan which includes timelines for cessation of operations by March 31, 2019. The officials however could not confirm the configuration of the proposed entity given that a decision has not been officially conveyed by the relevant authority.
“Notwithstanding, that workers have been operating in an atmosphere of uncertainty for sometime now, we believe that some assurances should be given to them in relation to their continued involvement in any new entity being contemplated. As the workers’ representative we are hoping that the pending closure of the SLMB does not result in the loss of employment for our members who have proven over the years to be dedicated and loyal to organization.
“The CSA notes that recent closure of government supported institutions resulted in job losses which had negative repercussions for our members and their families. In this case, we are making every effort to mitigate against any similar eventuality.
“In view of the above, I therefore request an urgent meeting with you and representatives of the CSA to discuss the evolving situation with the SLMB.
“I am also requesting a copy of the business plan referred to above, in order to prepare ourselves for a more meaningful and objective discussion/consultation.
“I look forward to your urgent consideration.”
The letter to Minister Joseph states: “Following a meeting with the Permanent Secretary and representatives of the St. Lucia Marketing Board (SLMB), I wish to request an audience with you on behalf of the St. Lucia Civil Service Association to discuss the eminent closure of the SLMB and the future of the current workers. Notwithstanding, that a decision has been taken by Cabinet, we remain concerned that our members do not suffer a similar fate as the former employees of the St. Lucia Tourist Board and Radio Saint Lucia. I therefore look forward to your urgent consideration of this request.”
It was not immediately known if the CSA received a response.