Customs officers’ sickout the “first wave of action” against PM’s decision: source

By SNO Staff

Chastanet

(SNO) – Saint Lucian Customs and Excise officers have begun a two-day sickout in protest over government’s plans to merge a number of government departments into the proposed St Lucia Border Management Authority, according to sources.

The planned sickout is scheduled to take place Thursday and Friday this week.

“This is said to be the first wave of action,” one source said.

Customs officers fear that a number of them will lose their jobs if the statutory body is established, despite government’s assurances they will not.

“Any solution that requires people to be sent home is not something my government will consider. I know of no proposal that suggested anybody would have to go home,” Chastanet said at a press briefing last month.

He was referring to allegations suggesting that officers employed with the Customs and Excise Department would be asked to resign and re-apply for positions in the new entity called the St Lucia Border Management Authority.

These allegations seem to have frightened officers to the point where they sought advice from their bargaining agent, the Civil Service Association (CSA) which met with them recently to hear their grievances.

CSA’s General Secretary Claude Paul reminded that while the prime minister spoke of no job losses in the four entities to be merged to form the St Lucia Border Management Authority, namely Customs and Excise, Immigration Department, Marine Police and the Quarantine Department, it was basically the same language he seems to have spoken with regards to Radio St. Lucia which no longer broadcasts on a commercial basis, the Tourist Board which has morphed into the St. Lucia Tourism Association, and other entities.

Paul spoke of an air of uncertainty amongst workers whenever the prime minister speaks of either closing down or transforming their work places.

Chastanet envisaged that not only will those persons working in the four entities to be merged into the St Lucia Border Management Authority not lose their jobs, but that the Customs and Excise Department, which will be taking over the role of persons in the Immigration Department, will be an upgraded version of its current self when the transformation is done.

“There is nothing envisioned that anybody is being dislocated or sent anywhere else. Customs would be upgraded not downgraded. We don’t see anybody being sent home,” Chastanet reiterated.

It is envisioned that police officers attached to the Immigration Department will go back to being police officers, Customs and Excise officers will absorb the Immigration Department and that of Quarantine while the Marine Police will remain as it.

“Police officers will no longer be performing the function of immigration. So Police officers will go back to their substantive posts on the beat. We are excited about that because we would like to see more policemen on the road. I would have like to see that already but given the lack of software systems we have not been able to do that,” Chastanet had said.

Despite his assurances, the CSA does not trust his words.

“Notwithstanding a meeting held with the prime minister and a subsequent letter from the permanent secretary/director of finance, we have not been convinced that the government is acting in good faith,” the CSA said in a press release, adding that the following must be noted:

1. The information provided from the Cabinet Conclusion 247 0f 2018 specifically refers to the establishment of the St Lucia Border Management Authority as a Statutory Board. In the absence of an amendment to that Cabinet Conclusion to say otherwise, we believe that the intention of Government remains unchanged.

2. There have been contradictory statements made by the prime minister and other senior officials that add confusion in the minds of our members, who remain steadfast in their view that the position as stated in the Cabinet Conclusion is NOT appropriate for revenue collection and law enforcement purposes.

3. We have taken note that there are no similar structures operating in any part of the region and those other reform initiatives involving Customs have been strongly resisted in places like Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.

“Therefore the CSA and the members of the Customs and Excise Branch have stated their intention to remain resolute and will be considering all available legal options to defend its position against this ill conceived initiative,” the CSA concluded.

(14)(25)
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34 comments

  1. Concerned758citizen

    Started reading these comments and the negativity towards the officers is overwhelming, so I have to beg the question if ppl truely understand the plight of what’s transpiring here. Customs officers are not questioning the new agency their issue is it being statuorized. I don’t think people genuinely understand the risk of having your major revenue earner run by a board.

    First off, the officers are desperately worried about job security and the ppl on here stating about if you work well what should you worry about, open your eyes. We live in country that is so politically motivated that quality and productive doesn’t matter, especially under the current administration. It’s your religion that’s import (and by religion i mean party eh).

    Secondly if y’all crying about corruption now, if customs is left to be run by a board best believe that it shall only escalate.

    It’s clear that in everything there is political under tone, there is no denying that but people wake up. An entire cabinet conclusion was passed without the knowledge of the main department to be affected and when that said department request the info it is not forthcoming. What they hiding so. These officers are not perfect, but they are justified in wanting to know how their lives are going to be altered.

    I would advise that we as a nation wake up and smell the sewage because nothing warm or hearty is currently brewing in our country.

    Ps. I’m no customs officer and I certainly don’t drink any red or yellow kool aid. Water I does drink. All I am is a citizen of this country who fears that people will let this country burn instead of them getting off the kool aid. Drink water folks, kool aid pa boh.

    (1)(0)
  2. Concerned758citizen

    Started reading these comments and the negativity towards the officers is overwhelming, so I have to beg the question if ppl truely understand the plight of what’s transpiring here. Customs officers are not questioning the new agency their issue is it being statuorized. I don’t think people genuinely understand the risk of have your major revenue earner run by a board.

    First off, the officers are desperately worried about job security and the ppl on here stating about if you work well what should you worry about, open your eyes. We live in country that is so political motivated that quality and productive doesn’t matter, especially under the current administration. It’s your religion that’s import (and by religion i mean party eh).

    Secondly if y’all crying about corruption now, if customs is left to be run by a board best believe that it shall only escalate.

    It’s clear that in everything there is political under tone, there is no denying that but people wake up. An entire cabinet conclusion was passed without the knowledge of the main department to be affected and when that said department request the info it is not forthcoming. What they hiding so. These officers are not perfect, but they are justified in wanting to know how their lives are going to be altered.

    I would advise that we as a nation wake up and smell the sewage because nothing warm or hearty is currently brewing in our country.

    Ps. I’m no customs officer and I certainly don’t drink any red or yellow kool aid. Water I does drink. All I am is a citizen of this country who fears that people will let this country burn instead of them getting off the kool aid. Drink water folks, kool aid pa boh.

    (1)(0)
  3. Members of the Coast Guard are watching closely what is happening. Information received is that government have not met with them and they are suppose to play a vital role in boarder control. Most of them may opt to stay with the police force if the terms and conditions are not in their best interest. So my question .why is it that decisions have been take to make the entity a statuary board and the coast guard knows nothing that is going on. Will they just push it down their throats.....

    (0)(0)
  4. It is so unfortunate that people loose trust in their pm. Who can we trust in our country. So sad.

    (0)(0)
  5. Claude is trying to get support for the SLP match. You must see he and Aubertine there

    (13)(22)
  6. They have sat on their a** for years getting big over time cheques, buying big cars and homes and never did nothing to further themselves. The most backward thinking paper. Now I hear they want to separate promotion policy for those who didn't put in the effort other public officers did to advance themselves. Would like to know what Claude Paul and the CSA has to say. That must be why they want to hold the government ransom because if the backward thinkers are the ones advancing this.

    (52)(27)
    • Somebody sleeping on that yellow juice and thinking its rain. In all what i have read to me the issue is about statutory boards or lost of jobs..some people really need to watch news or read... Read folks it wont kill you..the article is literally above

      (16)(8)
  7. Claude big was ugly frog bastard u angry Labour lost you punk that shit you'll tting won't work a bunch of cowards. Just so you know punk OPERATION AT THE HIA IS GOING ON SMOOTHLY . You and the rest of the labar hogs gfys

    (10)(31)
    • Perhaps you should concentrate on your common entrance exams. Your name calling and just your entire comment reeks of school yard indifference. No please get your mom to pay some lessons for you and behave.

      (36)(3)
      • Epic response.. lol.. we really have some brainwashed folks down here.. i despise politics, i despise labor or uwp but i think commonsense is something everyone should have.. open your eyes people.. are some of you too dumb to really accept that the gov't is tearing the country apart for his personal/leisure gains? is that too hard to see?

        (0)(0)
  8. They all need their walking slips. The majority of custom officers are corrupt they will rob you blind you have to bribe them they will suck your blood like a vampire,and yet some of them will let their friends, families walk away free with their items. There is no FOREVER job train new officers they are all SLP hacks so they will never see the brighter side. Please send them all packing thumb me down all you want I do not give a rats azz.

    (48)(37)
    • So the nurses and doctors are slp hack as well ? Not every that disagrees with the PM is an slp hack they are checking for their livelihood. Anyways you are an obvious uwp hack if you are affected in the future i hope you keep the same tune.

      (38)(24)
    • shut your mouth

      (4)(2)
    • Some people will stand under a yellow shower and call it rain. I feel like you making the officers point by saying send them packing .. The issue as I understand it is about job security which have been denied by the PM and Min. Of Finance . so are you saying that they are lying ? If so i am forced to side with the officers and now am even more worried about the nurses.

      (21)(20)
    • The very same governments that are elected are the ones dictating rates (generally speaking), not Customs.

      (0)(0)
  9. I don't get why the CSA would advise these actions. Why do we even need to trust the PMs words when we can get terms and conditions in print? Am I to believe that the PM just woke one morning to suggest merging these entities and everyone just agree to disagree? Is there not drawn out plan for this transition? I really don't get it.

    (21)(6)
    • These actions are because of the conflicting information that has come out..letter from the pm says a satutory body was creating ...in press release no body was created. I think were there is smoke there is fire and the government is not being transparent .

      (21)(19)
  10. Customs officers are being misled by the SLP operatives at the head of the CSA. The public service must start hiring temporary workers to be trained as customs officers and other public servants. The present crop of customs officers believe that they exist simply to make lives difficult for others. The border control initiative is the best plan to rid Saint Lucia of corrupt customs officers and police.

    (52)(33)
  11. What is wrong with you people? Why do St.Lucians fear change so much? Guess too many people has skeletons in the closets. Some folks spend three minutes on the job and eight hours on the clock. How the hell do we expect this island to develop if we continue to do things the same way all the time. We as a nation must be willing to accept meaningful and positive changes if we are to progress. Please stop the political bickering and move on.

    (59)(25)
  12. I suppose the Customs officers right to fight for the livelihood we need support the average citizens of St.Lucia

    (24)(13)
  13. If you know you perform well in your position then there is nothing to fear. Alot of these customs workers dont do sh..and sit the fat asses.. and get paid. They know half them wont be there if they had to reapply.

    (40)(21)
  14. If you know you perform well in your position then there is nothing to fear. Alot of these customs workers dont do shit and sit the fat asses and get paid. They know half them wont be there if they had to reapply.

    (27)(17)
    • I agree with you. In an ideal world top performance would be the head of every industry but we know thats not the case . in St. Lucia that isnt the case its wkll just be a read and yellow shuffle the that border security agency.. I dont trust any public entity turning private..but then again and just a skeptic

      (0)(0)
  15. whether you like customs or not this is not a joke peoples lives are being affected by the decisions of government whether red or yellow and we as nation should not just stay there and take it especially from persons we elect...

    (37)(52)
    • CLAUDE PAUL IS A TROUBLE MAKER. HE IS MISLEADING THE WORKERS. MR PAUL THERE IS A GOD WHO SEES AND KNOWS ALL THINGS. YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM HIM. THE DAY WILL COME WHEN JUDGMENT WILL BE PASSED ON THIS LAND. BE CAREFUL, BE CAREFUL GOD IS WATCHING . THE DAY IS FAST APPROACHING THE HANDWRITING IS ON THE WALL.

      (25)(20)
  16. Mr. Prime Minister you say you don't listen but I telling u that you better start listening for that is no monkey business. The nation don't trust your words. You say one thing and what is in the cabinet conclusion is something else. The custom officers are not amongst your jackasses.

    (45)(55)
    • You all never like changes some changes are good,send them all away bunch of lazy incompetent jerks. They all need new jobs they know the system they know the ropes and yes they are are not jackasses they are all greedy and selfish my pick.

      (30)(13)
      • All that venom in your message but i think you missing the point ... The pm is giving conflicting information ...min of finance if giving conflicting information. Its ok to hate on the officers you may have your legitimate reasons you may also be one of the ppl who imported dildos that were taken whatever your reason the main point is the cabinet of ministers are lying something is up .

        (15)(23)
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