Concern for workers at Customs and Mental

Representatives of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) are due to meet today with officials of Government’s Personnel Administration Division to discuss the matter of outstanding appointments at the Customs & Excise Department.

With a long list of officers, including the acting Comptroller Annette Weekes and her three deputies, as well as five assistant comptrollers, yet to be confirmed in their positions, the NUPW is also preparing for crucial talks with Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler today.

This follows his three-hour meeting with representatives of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) yesterday at the end of which he expressed optimism that 95 per cent of concerns related to the transfer of workers to the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) had been addressed.

Today Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler gave workers at the Customs & Excise Department a listening ear after meeting with their representatives for three hours at Government Headquarters. (Picture by Remy Rock.)
On Monday Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler gave workers at the Customs & Excise Department a listening ear after meeting with their representatives for three hours at Government Headquarters.

The other five per cent were “juggernaut issues”, which would be dealt with at the bargaining table, Sinckler told reporters outside of Government Headquarters on Monday.

However, when contacted today, the acting NUPW General Secretary Roslyn Smith said she would await the outcome of the NUPW’s meeting with the Minister, who has Cabinet responsibility for BRA, before issuing a public response to his latest pronouncements on the transfer.

Following Monday’s meeting, Sinckler sought to assure the soon to be BRA employees that they would not be disadvantaged in any way as a result of the planned switch over to BRA, scheduled for July 1.

Barbados TODAY has been reliably informed that a new revenue collection and enforcement unit is to be established under the BRA umbrella, called the External Taxes and Border Control Division.

It will be headed up by a new Director, who is to be appointed from within the ranks of the CED and will report directly to the Revenue Commissioner Margaret Sivers, while Weekes will take up another administrative position within BRA.

Margaret Sivers
Revenue Commissioner Margaret Sivers

As part of the terms and conditions of the transition, appointed CED officers are to be seconded to BRA initially for a period of up to two years “as long as there are no adverse reports on the officers”, while those currently acting in posts will be offered a position at the acting level as long as the substantive holder of the post does not accept an offer to transition to the BRA.

However, Smith said yesterday the NUPW was not yet satisfied that the concerns of its members had been met.

“I prefer to hear from the Minister and then we would know exactly if our expectations have been met,” she told Barbados TODAY.

Meantime, the NUPW is also concerned about the situation at the state-run Psychiatric Hospital where nurses and other employees have recently been complaining about appalling working conditions.

Providing an update on the situation, the NUPW official revealed that a meeting had been held with management of the mental institution at Black Rock, St Michael.

The union is now due to formally table its concerns with the hospital’s authorities by Wednesday.

Source: (FW/KK)

4 Responses to Concern for workers at Customs and Mental

  1. Mac10 June 3, 2015 at 10:11 am

    Disgraceful headline!!!

    How are you helping to de-stigmatise mental health issues by referring to the psychiatric hospital as”the mental” I know it is referred to that by some people but should never be by a professional media house.

    Please do better!

  2. Patrick Blackman June 3, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    @Mac10: Well said.

  3. jus me June 4, 2015 at 2:38 am

    I see that the “new Skinny Sinckler” didnt last long.

    Now who was it that was mentioning where all the Tax money does go??

  4. dave June 5, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    NUPW comes across as kind of lame. Where is Caswell Franklyn ?
    A talk with the Officers reveal that there is no need to “transition” into BRA and they are taking Trinidad as an example. Trinidad refused TTRA and instead got improvements in Customs with even a New Building. The Government can reform Customs without putting it under BRA especially with a leader such as Sivers. The Government needs to assist the Customs Department. Putting it under BRA is a big mistake. The Revenue collection of Customs–VAT and EXCISE have already gone over to BRA. Customs -The Enforcement and Law Enforcement side should remain independent of BRA-Simple !!! Sivers ,Sinckler and Stuart need to wheel out – and leave the Customs Department by itself but provide it with the improvements necessary. Look to Trinidad as the example.Revenue Authorities have FAILED . Forget about putting Customs under BRA. It is unnecessary . If you have corrupt Officers, do not paint everybody with the same brush, get rid of those Officers who are corrupt. People aint foolish . Revenue Authorities are designed to combat so-called Corruption .What the Ministry of Finance is not saying or putting on the table is that they suspect Corruption and that is the reason why they are looking to punish the Officers -by controlling them under BRA-in a Peter pay for Paul situation. There needs to be more transparency. The Minister of Finance and officials must not say one thing to Officers and assassinate their character behind their backs


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