Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, has been responding to concerns over the proposed Border Control Agency.
Customs Officers are known to be anxious about their pensions and future job security.
The Prime Minister said there is nothing envisioned where people will be dislocated or sent anywhere else.
He stated that police officers will no longer be performing the function of immigration.
“So the police officers will now go back to their substantive post on the beat which we are very excited about, as we would like to see more policemen on the road,” he told reporters at a news conference Monday.
Chastanet explained that the Customs Department would take on the immigration role and persons in the Marine Police will have the same status.
“If anything, Customs is being upgraded – not downgraded,” the PM declared.
“We don’t see anybody being sent home,” he asserted.
Asked whether he was making a commitment to everybody working in the Customs Department that they would not be asked to resign, Chastanet’s response was:
” My government, since we have been in office, has not asked anybody to resign. So any solutions that require anybody to be sent home is not something that my government would consider.”
Chastanet pointed that over the years around the world, the traditional role of Customs has been dwindling since the department is primarily a revenue generator.
“Things like the single window, changes at the airport in terms of people only carrying a 50 pound bag, new technologies – have really changed that role of Customs,” he told reporters Monday.
“We also have immigration officers – something like 80 of them who are policemen and you have to beg the question: ‘Why would you have a person, who is actually a trained police person sitting there stamping passports?'”
The Prime Minister explained that the goal of the proposed new Border Control Agency is to strengthen this country’s borders.
He disclosed that as a result, there will be the integration of immigration, customs, quarantine and the Marine Police to create the Border Control Agency.
“I have no idea of where the idea of a statutory body came from,” Chastanet stated.