Move on!

Minister tells Customs officers to accept their fate

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler today warned protesting Customs officers that “time is ticking away”.

Therefore, whether or not they chose to sign on to the Barbados Revenue Authority, the current standoff could not continue indefinitely.

Since last Friday, several unionized Customs officers have been off the job, while others have been on a go-slow, in  protest of the Government’s plan to merge their department into BRA.

As a result, there have been lengthy delays at both the air and sea ports, with individuals and business people complaining about the high costs of clearing items at the Bridgetown Port.

The protests by Customs workers have resulted in long delays at the airport.


“You have to be concerned about what is taking place,” said Sinckler, who is hopeful that “mature heads will prevail and we can move past this stage.

“What is important is that we continue to ensure that we do not do things that could derail the recovery that is happening in Barbados,” he said.

And in response to calls by the unions for Government to withdraw recent option forms issued to the Customs workers, the Minister of Finance said: “I am not stuck in the mud about anything”.

However, he is interested in having a firm timetable set for the planned transition.

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

“Show me the roadmap and the timeframe for getting those option letters out to the workers. Let’s set some firm timelines so that we do not have to be going around the mulberry bush with this all of the time,” Sinckler said.

Insisting that the best way to settle the ongoing disagreement was to “come to a decision one way or another”, he  pointed out if Customs officers chose not to join BRA, they would be placed elsewhere in the public service.

“We are at mid-July and time is ticking away. But at the end of the day . . . this is an option. You can choose to go or choose not to go. It is simple. Nobody is ramming anything down anybody’s throat,” said Sinckler.

“If you don’t want to go, say, ‘no’ and let us move on. But we cannot be in this stalemated situation where people are saying, ‘negotiations are going on, discussions are going on, and discussions are going on’ and we do that ad infinitum. It has to come to a stop at some point where certainty has to exist.

“Either the officers want to go or they don’t want to go,” he stressed.

Criticizing the Customs officers for taking protest action during negotiations, Sinckler said he was yet to officially hear back from the unions following their last meeting last month.

“At the end of the day there are fundamental issues in relation to the functioning of Customs that have to be addressed. If we address it in the BRA . . . with the DLP Government or the BLP Government, with Chris Sinckler as Minister of Finance or anybody else, those issues have to be addressed,” he insisted, while stating that the unions had been aware of the pending merger from the time “it was a project”.

9 Responses to Move on!

  1. Ryan Bayne
    Ryan Bayne July 21, 2015 at 3:08 am

    And we say to you, Mr. Sinckler, “VAMOOSH!”

  2. jrsmith July 21, 2015 at 6:24 am

    And the war starts. its about bloody time ,bajans strart behaving like ,educated adults , government management , or unions leaders is not a personal thing , people and lives are put at risks, get this sorted now. stop throwing you all toys out your prams. behave responsible.

  3. Lica July 21, 2015 at 6:28 am

    Wow! U should be the last person to Criticize the customs
    officers! Went they strike although you know that all
    3 unions was negotiations. N still your Ministry
    went ahead n issued the options forms that is Blant
    Disprect! What it’s about this BRA! just leaves it how
    it is! Will it put more Money in our pocket for u n some
    Of our Colleagues!

  4. Lica July 21, 2015 at 6:37 am

    U know something them right to strike! Caused you n
    our Colleagues tricks the people’s in the last Election!
    telling them Owen in send home 3,000 ppl
    them was fool by u! Alot of Peoples didn’t
    want a Better Tomorrow we went along
    with Dems now Dems Again! N we all Suffering
    and 2 Shame the said we make a Mistake!

  5. harry turnover July 21, 2015 at 7:27 am

    People ,the Minister is CORRECT. I am on the Government side in this one.
    If one is EMPLOYED by the GOVERNMENT of a COUNTRY, and one is told that their Department is being merged/attached/name changed or whatever with/to another Department,there is NO WAY that ANY CIVIL SERVANT should strike/go slow or say that they are not going to be part of it.,as long as ALL of their terms and conditions remain the SAME.
    You either go or go HOME.The Government DOES NOT have to give them an OPTION. The Government is saying that those who don’t want to go,THAT THEY WILL BE PLACED IN ANOTHER DEPARTMENT WITHOUT ANY LOSS OF STATUS.
    On the other issue ,one Government Department says that they can retire people at 60,another says that one should retire at the retirement age of 67 and that if one retires at 60 they will get a reduced pension ( 35 % ) at that age ,or in some cases they will have to wait until 67 to get their pension…..this is mass confusion in my opinion.

  6. Donna July 21, 2015 at 11:37 am

    To be fair, I too think that the Customs Officers should count this one as lost. This has to do with improving efficiency and must be seen as such.

  7. Mac10 July 21, 2015 at 11:43 am

    A go slow???

    Looks like a normal day at the airport to me!

  8. carson c cadogan July 21, 2015 at 1:26 pm


    All Govt. has to do is to phase out the Customs Dept.

    All retiring Customs officers will not be replaced. New persons will be recruited into the BRA. This will be true also of persons dying, leaving the Customs service for whatever reasons.

    No new persons will be taken on as Customs Officers or Guards.

    Matter fixed!!!!

  9. Gearbox1964 July 21, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    This DLP administration has done everything wrong and has even pissed off the majority of people who voted for them in the last election…so the best thing could do for the country right now is just call elections…do us that great big favour please!


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