Raymond admits border agency consultation process ‘flawed’

By Melanius Alphonse, Caribbean News Now associate editor

(CARIBBEAN NEWS NOW) — In a somewhat bizarre turn of events, minister for the public service in the Office of the Prime Minister, Dr Ubaldus Raymond, has not only admitted that the consultation process for the establishment of the proposed new border control agency in Saint Lucia was flawed but also tried to deny the explicit wording of the relevant Cabinet conclusion that it would be created as a statutory corporation.

In a video statement released to the media, Raymond acknowledged that the consultation carried out by the border agency implementation team was not a comprehensive one since the most important department, namely, the Customs Department, was not consulted.

“Personally, I believe it is the flaw in the consultation process, because if you are dealing with a border control, which consists mainly of customs officers, and for the consultation to not have included the customs department, anything coming out of this consultation to me, it is very weak and very flawed,” he said.

It is not clear at this time why Raymond offered this as his personal opinion, apparently criticising the consultation process while speaking as a government minister with the imprimatur of the prime minister’s office. It is also not clear if this remark is now to be taken as the official government position on the matter.

Even more strangely, Raymond flatly contradicted a Cabinet conclusion dated April 16, 2018, asserting that the new border control would not be established as a statutory corporation as if he was oblivious to the fact that the document had already been leaked to the media.

Cabinet conclusion #247 of 2018 “Establishment of the Saint Lucia Border Management Authority” clearly states that “Cabinet at its meeting on 26th April, 2018 approved the following: 1. Establishment of the Saint Lucia Border Management Authority as a Statutory Corporation”.

“I want to make it very, very clear, because government understands the importance of customs department. Customs provide 55 percent of recurrent revenues for central government, we are taking about in the region of over $500 million. So, that clearly, cannot be and will not be the policy of government to put the border control as a statutory organization,” Raymond said.

He added that the consultation will continue and in due course the government will make a formal presentation to the public.

Customs officers carried out a sick-out on Thursday and Friday last week to highlight concerns over the proposed Border Control Management Authority being set up as a statutory body.

They are concerned about their job security, declaring that in such a scenario they will be forced to resign their current employment and reapply to the proposed new entity, with no guarantee of getting a job.

Although Prime Minister Allen Chastanet is on record as indicating that no jobs will be lost, the Customs officers, through their union, the Saint Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA), have made it clear that they believe the PM lacks credibility.

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This article was posted in its entirety as received by stlucianewsonline.com. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

4 comments

  1. Not consulting the premiere entity! Definitely deserves two...Duh!Duh! "My brain is hurting."

    (0)(0)
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  3. Our PM is always conveniently absent when his government has to admit fault. Anyways at least mr raymond was able to admit his government had this the wrong way

    (1)(0)
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  5. Very poor writing and no one can force an appointed public servant to resign. Only the public service commission can hire or discipline public servants or fire them. Please do some research before you write and stop regurgitating unsubstantiated rumors. By the way a cabinet conclusion is merly a proposal which can be changed after the consultation process. On the other hand a statutory instrument or SI is law. Bet I am speaking Greek to you the write. Poor thing

    (15)(11)
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  7. Mr. Raymond, thanks for your honesty. You must understand that a large number of the 150 customs officers are SLP sympathizers. However, there are a large number of customs officers who are honest and hardworking. At least, they must hear the truth firsthand. Thank you Mr. Raymond for deciding to bring them into the loop

    (44)(23)

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