BRA on at last

Customs transition to revenue agency set for October

The long-delayed transition of customs officers to the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) is finally set to take effect from
October 1.

Acting Head of the Civil Service Sonja Welch made the disclosure at one of two meetings for customs officers to provide them with information on the transitioning, the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) said in a release late today.

Acting Head of the Civil Service Sonja Welch (left); in discussion with Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Betty Alleyne-Headley. Also pictured is Acting Director of Finance and Economic Affairs Dr Louis Woodroffe.
Acting Head of the Civil Service Sonja Welch (left); in discussion with Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Betty Alleyne-Headley. Also pictured is Acting Director of Finance and Economic Affairs Dr Louis Woodroffe.

During the sessions at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, officers were briefed extensively on the move, the BGIS release said.

The senior civil servant acknowledged that a number of previous deadlines had not been achieved, but she seemed certain that this one would be met, telling the officers there had been good progress in meetings with the trade unions, including talks this week with both the National Union of Public Workers and the Barbados Workers’ Union “to clarify any matters” they needed addressed.

“During the course of the day, you will be getting information letters on the transition process and on Monday, September 5, you will receive a package, including an offer letter,” the BGIS release quoted Welch as advising the Customs officers.

According to the release, Chief Personnel Officer Gail Atkins explained that the information letters would set out details pertaining to the transition and would include “lot of the key issues” that would assist the officers in making their decision.

Revenue Commissioner Margaret Sivers emphasized that the option letters should be returned to BRA no later than September 19. She explained that among the available
options would be that of permanent appointment or secondment for a period of up to two years.

Sivers also said while the revenue collection agency had a framework and a proposed organization structure, the final organization structure would only be determined after the appointment of a senior management team.

“Our belief is that while we may have a proposal, we feel that senior management should be involved in how the organization is structured,” Sivers was quoted as saying.

She explained that there would be three main departments – Airport Operations, Bridgetown Port Operations and Mobile Operations, which would service all ports and locations outside the airport or Bridgetown Port.

The road to transition has been riddled with problems as Customs officers had initially opposed the decision, claiming border security would be compromised.

The officers also staged strikes, walkouts and various forms of action protesting against what they claimed were attempts by the authorities to force them to sign option sheets.

One of the major demands of the unions was that a number of vacant posts at Customs had to be filled before the transition was even considered.

2 Responses to BRA on at last

  1. Tony Webster September 3, 2016 at 5:32 am

    I have a strong conviction, that these are the people who need to be congratulated on advancing what is essentially a good principle and objective, but was hopelessly “planned”. The litmus test however, of anything that is created and put into motion, is that it must be effective; efficient; and less costly per “transaction”, and that it will make John and Jean public’s life a LOT easier and more pleasant, where a citizen simply needs to either hand over a few dollars to revenue, or alternatively, to receive a payment or refund. Yes, using on ANY device at home or in hand.

    Make that: to pay ANYTHING, ( money, documents, whatever) to any government department (or S.O.E.) from anywhere, and at anytime , day or night. Yes, that WAN had better work, seamlessly …like in Singapore.

    Now…about that VAT refund…
    Meanwhile, my congrats on achieving at least an incremental movement forward- on the H.R. issues.

  2. Phil September 3, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Good work BRA. Now here’s a ay you can earn more tax revenue. Make it a law that ALL self acclaimed so called professionals in the field of plumbing, carpentry, electrical engineering, food and catering including selling from vans and cars, appliance repairs persons, roadside mechanics, ,et al, By law, they should be certified and registered similar to other professionals like doctors, attorneys, architects ant that lot. You ant to find them? they have business cards they pass out and leave on special stands at hardware stores. Track them down. Send around special agents to work sites. Pass a law that all approved building plans Must require a submission of the certified builder, electrician, plumber carpenter etc. contracted to do the relevant task. The loan facilitator MUST also be supplied with this info. Sinkler boy Yuh govamont got nuff money comin in


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