Shuffler: Barbadians could be made to pay for Customs go slow

Barbadians could be forced to pay a higher price for some items if a go-slow at the Customs Department at the Bridgetown Port continues, warns president of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Tracey Shuffler.

Addressing yesterday’s BCCI luncheon at the Hilton, Shuffler called for issues surrounding the amalgamation of that department into the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) to be urgently resolved, saying members remained very concerned about the impact “the current Customs go-slow at the Barbados Port” was having   on businesses.

BCCI President Tracey Shuffler
BCCI President Tracey Shuffler

“Manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers and other businesses are experiencing delays in clearance of containers, which is restricting sales, hampering production and adding costs, which will ultimately filter down to consumers,” she said.

“We strongly urge resolution to the matters causing this impasse and encourage a return to normal operations,” she added.

During a two-hour meeting yesterday at its Dalkeith Road, St Michael headquarters, officials of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) advised its members not to sign option forms that were reportedly being circulated by BRA.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart had indicated last weekend that the transition of the Customs and Excise department into the BRA would go ahead.

That deadline is set for July 1.

In addition to that concern, Shuffler said BCCI members also wanted to see a number of outstanding issues addressed. And she added that some of the solutions were “at our own doorstep in the private sector”.

“One of the most enduring cries from businesses continue to be related to financing . . . I challenge the financing sector to dig deeper and to work harder to bring solutions, which will help both small and larger businesses to finance for growth,”    said Shuffler.

“Another necessary change has to be that we must learn to see research and development spending as an investment for the future and not an expense item to be sacrificed at every sales dip,” she said.

She also called for improvements in the areas of business facilitation, while noting that there was still a need for concessions being offered to be clearly defined, accessible, equally administered across qualifying businesses and well supported by appropriate legislation and regulations.

6 Responses to Shuffler: Barbadians could be made to pay for Customs go slow

  1. darrelanderson
    darrelanderson May 29, 2015 at 3:26 am

    BRA is not holding up. Support is sagging. There must be cleavage between BRA and government…

    • Justice For all May 29, 2015 at 6:24 am

      Love your spin on the words. Very humorous.

  2. Cassandra Gittens
    Cassandra Gittens May 29, 2015 at 5:12 am

    That is ridiculous it’s hurting the economy and also the businesses in Bim, how about people that come on vacation send in a barrel and then cant get it on time,the port needs a good over haul, for anyone who wants to go slow bring in some one who wants to go fast

  3. dave May 29, 2015 at 10:43 am

    It is not ridiculous; it is necessary. The political directorate must not believe that there are the masters and the people -the servants. This matter of the BRA has been poorly managed : no communication; no transparency= no information. The authorities believe that they have the power so they can do as they like with people’s careers, emotions and emoluments . NO -cant be allowed to happen. It is dangerous !
    Any of you who support BRA and the Government in this impasse do so at your own peril. They will come for you too eventually.

  4. Michael May 30, 2015 at 6:50 am

    Government has to improve its revenue collection and the BRA is the institution to achieve that abjective. Government also has to reduce the employment bills and they must cut every sector including customs. Barbadians must become very creative in creating new export based ventures to help our economy rather than depending on Government. If the banks don’t want to envest in such ventures as they sees it as too high risk, then there should be non banking agencies set up to do the job. just like the credit unions, we need a non banking sector for our entrepreneurs to turn to. The banks will eventually realized that their customer base is eroding because they are not flexible enough to cater to the changing needs of the community.

  5. Charles Worrell May 30, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    I am not sure we have our definitions appropriately set out in this situation. We need to define who the Government of Barbados is and WHAT is their mandate. If that mandate is to institute policy and initiatives for the well being of ALL barbadians, then we must ask, how legitimate is this baracade vis-a-vis customs?
    We need to define the Customs Dept., who they are and what they do. If they are a part of governmental apparatus in the achievement of certain goals pertaining to government’s programs, then the question needs be asked and answered regarding their legitimacy for flouting governmental decision and
    refusing to be brought into a pool mandated by government to produce the results it desire for the people of this country.
    The Unions too, must be looked at in a very critical way here because responsible leadership is lacking in this debacle. The Union(NUPW), as we all know is made up of persons employed by Government and they, the Unions have heard the Prime Minister ANSWER every question put to him regarding how this merger will affect the workers and NO WHERE does the Union point out that the answers were indefinite, ignored or simply left unanswered. If then, these were the legitimate concerns, what then propels the Union to encourage continued resistance to this move? Are we at a place where our Government is now prohibited from carrying out its mandate to the people because of EMPLOYEES who are deciding that government will be estopped? have the EMPLOYEES NOW BECOME THE EMPLOYERS AND WHY IS THE UNION NOT INSISTING THAT THE EMPLOYEES FOLOW THE INSTRUCTION OF THE EMPLOYERS?
    What is wrong here?
    I say, the time has come for government to act decisively here and go forward with its plan. Those who do not comply need to be dealt with and any strike action taken should be met by others willing to work. The tail should never be allowed to wag the dog.
    UNions have overseen a lot of development in Barbados and it would almost be unseemly to question their importance BUT Unions need to find responsibility in their actions and be made responsible for some of the results in a country like Barbados.
    Unions ought to be able to show its memberships the results of its actions and should find ground to be more supportive when necessary. They should not be simply jumping into the sea because a member says something. That member needs to be held accountable as well.


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