Saturday, February 23, 2019
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Customs sick-out begins to bite – escalation likely

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A sick-out by Customs Officers that started Thursday has begun to bite, with  customs brokerage companies asserting that they are losing money.

Well informed sources told St Lucia Times that the action by the officers could likely escalate on Monday.

A senior government official said Thursday morning that the industrial action by the Customs Officers was being ‘analysed’ but would not comment further.

Albert, who explained that he does how own small-scale customs brokerage business explained that the sick-out has affected his business.

“I cannot clear anything – I cannot do anything,” he said.

“That’s my daily bread and if customs has to be on sick-out like that I will always be at a loss,” Albert stated.

He said he visited the Customs and Excise Department Thursday to clear some vehicles on behalf of a few of his clients but declared that nothing was happening.

An official of a well-known shipping company in Castries disclosed that the company’s business has been ‘greatly affected’.

The official spoke to St Lucia Times on condition of anonymity.

“The livelihood of our company depends on customers paying for freight – paying for the release of their cargo and the exchange between customers and our service depends on customs being able to facilitate the clearing and shipping of goods,” the private sector official noted.

“For that one day – one hour, that cuts down our income drastically,” he stated.

The official said the sick-out also affects customers as shipping is a service based industry.

“If you cannot provide the service in a timely manner or an efficient manner for your customers it ruins your reputation. I suppose you are in the media so you know that bad news travels a lot faster that good news and we all know how people think, they blame us instead of Customs, thinking that we are the ones delaying them  receiving their cargo.”

According to the official, explaining after the fact that Customs has a problem does not help.

“We lose money and customers lose precious time,” he lamented.

Customs officers began a sick-out Thursday to highlight concerns over the proposed Border Control Management Authority being made into a statutory body.

They are concerned about their job security, declaring that in such a scenario they will be forced to resign their current employment and reapply to the proposed new entity, with no guarantee of getting a job.

Although Prime Minister Allen Chastanet is on record as indicating that no jobs will be lost, the concerned Customs Officers, through their union – the Saint Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA), have made it clear that they believe the PM lacks credibility.


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  1. yes Winston! I hope when you get the revolution you will be able to stand strong. Be careful what you ask for. Wicked people say wicked things.

  2. Well boy, king zabo said it, i thought that you all had no understanding, since you have seen the light, hope that the other forces will join too, the quicker the better, let the politicians know that they were brought in to save and not to destroy us, we are the boss. Since that regime came into power, we have being treated like nobody, arrogance and mépris, insulting our intelligence, yet when we repeat his words, the press will not let it show, as if we are slaves, if the ministers are his slaves, then we the workers of this country are not.
    Criminals can walk our streets as they want, but we have to run to and from work. Hope other unions will follow up, to keep it short!

  3. Customs officers suck. They behave like they are the bosses and you must beg them so that they can clear your God’s which you pay both vat, freight, duties and all sorts of insane fees. We pay them yet they behave like arrogant fools. The truth is that i hate St lucian customs officers. Kiss my but. They should go right ahead and restructure the department and y’all should have to reapply for your jobs.

  4. If you ask me this sick out is reckless and void of sound intellect. I even see person’s selfish and political agenda at play here. I am not saying to trust kenny or Allan. But it is baffling to me that the government has yet made any pronouncement about statutory body running the new agency and has actually emphasize that it will not put 60% of it revenue collection in the hand of a board. Yet still the union with all its political operatives has convince the custom officers otherwise. We will sell our our country for our own selfish gains. Crazy! Like the nurse’s association came out and dispel all the crazy miss-information being put out there so should the union or the customs chief. Not jump on the silly band wagon. Like President Ragan said “trust by verify”. Customs didn’t trust nore verified. We cannot keep hurting our country like this.

    • Blackshade you really need to watch news… To my understanding the ministers and saying one thing but saying another to the union. That alone warrants concern and action but i guess in sweet helen we so used to just saying there and take it any action will be deem unnecessary. Everybody has a right to defend them selves ..but thats not none of my business

  5. It was about time to take a stand mate running the country like is a family business he running customs going on sick out is not enuff the whole country have to shut down….enuff is enuff with that fly minister….

  6. The revolution has started long live the revolution…. The people who once live in darkness have seen the great light,against the global elite

  7. Concern foreign citizen are you for real putting customs in the hands of a statutory body do you know they will have 60% of customs revenue under control where as customs is government main revenue earner

  8. I guess customs officers are losing out as well. No extra cash. No overtime. Losers. This is lost revenue for the country and small businesses. Grow up guys. Your jobs are safe, well said in plain English or patios.

    • Guess you didnt hear about tourist board..also where ever you are overseas ask yourself if that country’s main revenue earner is a statutory body.. Then ask yourself why?

    • The only way their jobs will be safe is to rescind that clause of the Cabinet Conclusion which states that the agency is to become a statutory body. Now I know the PM does not want to do that, but if he truly means what he says, that clause will be withdrawn – and this can only be done by the CABINET of Ministers. So unless that happens, they can swear on their mother’s grave, etc… their words won’t matter ONE s***.

  9. customs officers are the most arrogant entitled pricks! What about the police? Nurses? Yall are not he only people being affected by what he government is doing. and they are the most corrupted set of people!!!!

    • Abehmilli, stop your ignorance please. You don’t think the nurses want to take action? Watch and see! Come on Sunday to Castries, and see how Lucians really feel about the direction this government is going. Everyone will be impacted by this. One civil servant loses their job and an entire family does not get fed. Think, think, think! You want your main revenue stream to be in the hands of a private entity? What, are you insane? This is something WAY BIGGER than just what you can see in front your nose.

  10. The PM stated no jobs will be lost and they won’t have to resign. He needs to put that in ink sealed and stamp by a lawyer andsigned between him and union as witnesses. Only then his words may have partial credibility.

    • No Ms. Pissed. The Cabinet decision taken to make the department a statutory authority has to return to the Cabinet of Ministers to be withdrawn. THAT is the ONLY way that decision can be reversed. Until then, nothing will give.

  11. agreed, we must all stand against this government, Allen must understand that he is not the boss, the citizens hired him.

  12. So civil servants apply to an agency to do government work. Who is that agency or may I ask who are the number owners. Hope all other civil servants can come together to stop this. NONSENSE

  13. I understand the fear of what is happening with customs and the nurses but that asside customs being a statutory agency is crazy.. So you will have 60% of governments revenue in the hand of a board… That is craziness… Now we will see bentles and porches in the hands of ministera and their board members. Thats what the public should fear your money not going to treasury and in the hands of one of the boys.. Wah

    • That can happen regardless of organisation type. It’s better to keep corruption in check and have watchdog groups.

  14. All that is being said and done, the Police Marine Unit have not said a thing…guess they have the option of remaining in the Police Force …but the truth is, nobody (government officials) have taken the time to meet with them . Will they be affected too…do they to have to resign and reapply. When will they know whats going on with them…