Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet met Saint Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA) officials Wednesday, to discuss concerns over the proposed Border Control Management Authority.
However, there has been no official word on the outcome of the meeting.
But reliable sources have told St Lucia Times that the CSA intends to summon a meeting of its members who work in the Customs Department early next week to discuss the outcome of the meeting with Chastanet.
Customs officers have, among other things, expressed anxiety about their pensions and job security although the government has been reiterating that no jobs will be lost.
Wednesday’s meeting between the PM and CSA officials followed an August 20, 2018 letter from the Saint Lucia leader in response to one from CSA General Secretary, Claude Paul.
It noted with concern Paul’s assertion that the staff of the Customs and Excise Department were advised by the management of the department of only one aspect of the Cabinet Conclusion No. 247 of 2018.
“This appears to be rather unusual, taking into consideration that the said Cabinet conclusion outlined the full range of the policy directions in respect of the establishment of the proposed single Border Control Management Agency,” the letter declared.
The PM’s letter ‘duly noted’ the overwhelming rejection by CSA members of the notion of creating a statutory corporation.
However, Chastanet said he wished to remind the CSA General Secretary and members of the trade union that the authority and responsibility of making policy decisions are within the remit of government.
“Accordingly, my government rejects any attempt by the CSA or its members to overstep your remit in attempting to assume responsibility for making policy decisions for the Cabinet of ministers,” the PM’s letter, a copy of which was obtained by St Lucia Times, said.
Chastanet stated that notwithstanding his concerns with what appeared to be ‘language of a threatening nature’ in the CSA General Secretary’s letter, he and his government remained open to dialogue and work with the trade union in ensuring that the interests and well being of its members and the nation as a whole are addressed.