Mia says ‘no’ to BRA

Opposition Leader Mia Mottley told Parliament Tuesday the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) was never in favour of merging the Customs & Excise Department into any umbrella revenue collections agency.

Speaking during debate on the Revenue Authority Amendment Bill (2017), Mottley said it was never envisaged by the former administration that customs would be integrated into the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA).

“I want to repeat today, for the absolute avoidance of doubt, that a Barbados Labour Party Government will not be transferring customs officers to the Barbados Revenue Authority because we believe that customs officers are border security officials first and foremost,” she said to applause from her colleagues on the Opposition benches.

“That, therefore, will remove that which has become the biggest contributor to a slowdown at both the airport and the seaport, but it is further compounded by the fact that customs has more actors than Hollywood,” Mottley added.

According to her, there was no security of tenure within the customs department, given the number of acting positions there.

“That leads us to the incapacity of the country to be able to get things done; people to get their goods out of the port.  And what do we want to do?  To go and add it to a Barbados Revenue Authority where people are asking in the tens and dozens and scores to go back to central Government? That’s what’s happening. After two years people who have been seconded there are asking to revert to central Government,” she charged.

Mottley’s comments came on the heels of a statement by Minister of Commerce Donville Inniss on the weekend that the time had come to settle the merger of customs into BRA.

Inniss told a general meeting of the Customs Brokers and Clerks Association that the decision was taken to join the two Government entities in a bid to improve efficiency in terms of the island’s revenue collection system.

The Freundel Stuart administration has been working towards the amalgamation of the two bodies, but the process was stalled after customs Officers refused to sign option forms.

However, Inniss told the Lower House Tuesday afternoon that BRA was “here to stay”.

“Whether we like it or not it is here to stay. It was the brainchild of the Barbados Labour Party under the Honourable Member for St Peter [former Prime Minister Owen Arthur], ably supported by all of them who currently sit in Parliament on the Opposition benches.

“The Democratic Labour Party administration has given life to it and I don’t think we need to beat up on it too much,” he added.

11 Responses to Mia says ‘no’ to BRA

  1. Meakai February 15, 2017 at 2:24 am

    It probably is because of the half bottle of one eye man that I had words with earlier, but I really thought this story was about something else.

    Reply
  2. jrsmith February 15, 2017 at 6:10 am

    Our problem our educated educators , we are educating our people to be only kite fliers but not capable of making the kites ..
    We have a very serious top management problem in barbados , from government and the private sector.. none of it is impressive .

    Why are we always struggling to process the needs of government departments which never works …

    Reply
  3. antoinette sealy February 15, 2017 at 8:37 am

    I have a little maths problem for you.
    3,000 dollar salary + x = 500,000 dollar mortgage. Find x .
    Yes Mia, the two departments must be merged so that we can find x

    Reply
  4. Ernesta Catlyn February 15, 2017 at 8:49 am

    MAM is right. If there is to be any merging of Customs with BRA (I too am opposed to it) then that should be somewhere down the road. BRA has not gotten one single thing right as yet, why add more to it. BRA is very inefficient and needs to be settled and organised. Top Management is very, very poor (did I say very twice – don’t have the time to add the approximate 100). The government better don’t rush to do in 1 year what they could not achieve in 8.

    Reply
  5. BaJan boy February 15, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Very ignorant analysis..The DLP has not conceptualized a single idea that has borne any fruit since it came to office in 2008..They have continued the things the BLP had on the table when it left office and kept the same square pegs in the round holes since David Thompson died. Owen said paying Jepter is a cost over run but paying Freundel is 2 cost over runs.. One day f the reasons why we are back to 1992.. He has done a fine job in taking us back.

    Reply
  6. Peter February 15, 2017 at 11:14 am

    There is a clever saying that goes…… “The stricter the government, the wiser the population. The Land Tax Department is at fault for allowing non payment of land tax to remain outstanding for long periods. They have thus dug a hole for themselves with regards to this collectable. Many issues would have since evolved. One such issue? A person who has inherited a property and their deceased giver was and still is outstanding unknown to them. Another issue? A retired person, unfit and unemployed barely surviving on a meager NIS income. Property value will automatically increase. If let’s say a property is valued at 1 million dollars, is for sale, the seller will add in 35% to cover their land tax plus real estate charge plus VAT. If Land tax is outstanding, The representing attorney will be required to prepare a promissory letter of intent to the BRA which will be a legal document, to settle the outstanding monies due, perhaps over a given time, on completion of said sale or transfer. This means the monies can still remain somewhat outstanding and unrecoverable. A drowning man will catch at a straw. This government, through Sinckler, is surely drowning. Many things will have to be factored in before a property sales transaction is finalized. This will be a costly addition which will set back lots of progress.

    Reply
  7. antoinette sealy February 15, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    @Peter
    I agree with you 100% but we have a tax and spend economy. Once before it was cigarettes and rum. Now it is anything that is taxable. This is the trend worldwide. It is now hitting us where it hurts but as long as we are a welfare state, things will get worse. BBBBBB and DDDDD have to find hand outs for the people who vote for them either in the form of jobs or ‘piece of change’ monthly for doing nothing. Don’t hold your breath expecting that in a year’s time all will be fine and dandy if the BBBBB’s are elected. Let us try Grenville’s Barbados Solutions. As Trump said to inner city Blacks during the campaign, ” Things can’t get any worse if you vote for me.”’. The BBBB’s must carry part of the blame for the economy in this state , by employing hundreds of non-essential workers when the private sector was laying off staff. Did Barbados find oil or gold during that time?

    Reply
  8. kathy-Ann Clarke February 15, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    I agree with Ernesta. The Current BRA needs to get their house in orderr first, before any one else can / should be able to join them.

    Reply
  9. BRA my FOOT February 15, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    @ Antoinette Sealy.. ..please note for your information procedures that would usually take a 2-3 working days at The Customs department now take the BRA more than 3weeks to process. Next the Customs division had a responsibility to monitor the rum process at the distillers and participated in every aspect of that procedure from the gauging the thermal factor right down to production and most importantly the sales of such product which in return produces the largest amount of revenue this country have every collected on a monthly basis….this duty has now been transfer to BRA….. who now send an officer only to do stock taking or do a delivery…. the is no officer station on daily basis as was with the customs departmen assist with duties being collected… if you need to speak about Math speak about… …the delivery officer should never be your receiving officer…you need to do tell us how much would money time life would the umemploy loose if they lost their jobs and homes …you people talking about BRA who staff pay exceed more than what the customs officers are being now..government pays them do. It is about 1028 person employed between the agencies who supposed to make the BRA…note BRA have been hiring people out side these agencies.. ..next IMF have what to impose employment for 350 persons the government suggested 531 employment…..tell where the are you going the rest of these people the majority who have more than 10 years in service .YOU A.S . Do the math…. I hope for your sake you got more in Math than your MOF.

    Reply
  10. freeagent February 15, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    We are heaping blame on the BRA for not doing its job but they can do their job more effectively and efficiently if we would pay our respective taxes that are owed to the government. Check how much money is owed in land tax, VAT, water bills, house rent, student loans etc.
    It is not only the excise department that should be merged but more of government’s statutory boards that are loaded with political appointees.

    Reply
  11. antoinette sealy February 15, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Some people know why they don’t want Customs and Immigration to merge. They fear that their underhand deals would be exposed. Pray tell me how a 3,000 dollar a month salaried officer can build a 500,000 house . We need more cells at Dodd”s and that would help the economy turn around.

    Reply

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