The government of Saint Lucia has announced the revocation of a controversial Cabinet Conclusion relating to the establishment of the proposed Border Management Authority.
A news release from the Office of the Prime Minister Thursday stated that “with immediate effect”, Cabinet Conclusion 247 of 16th April, 2018 which previously addressed the establishment of the border control agency has been revoked.
The release stated that the Cabinet of Ministers have reiterated the commitment of Government to ensure effective and responsive border management and has appointed a team to undertake extensive and in depth dialogue on the establishment a single Border Control Management entity.
“The team is to engage and discuss with all stakeholders on the appropriate structure for the proposed Border Control Management agency,” the release noted.
It observed that order for this to have “meaningful effect”, the decision was taken to revoke the cabinet conclusion.
According to the release, the Government of Saint Lucia commits to taking into account all the concerns and recommendations of the stakeholders to ensure that Saint Lucia’s borders are secure.
The Cabinet-appointed team is expected to submit a detailed report to Cabinet by December 2018, it said.
Cabinet conclusion No 247 of 2018 on April 16, 2018, approved the establishment of the Saint Lucia Border Management Authority as a Statutory Corporation, sparking widespread expressions of concern by Customs Officers who recently staged a sick-out in protest.
The officers have expressed fears for their job security, asserting that with the creation of a statutory body, they would be forced to resign their current employment and apply to the new entity with no guarantee of employment.
And although Prime Minister Allen Chastanet had given assurances that no jobs would be lost, the Customs Officers, through the Saint Lucia Civil Service Association which represents them, raised questions about his credibility.
The Saint Lucia government has said that the goal of the proposed new border control agency is to strengthen this country’s borders.
It was envisaged that the new entity will integrate immigration, customs, quarantine and the Marine Police.