The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Thursday called for an official probe into the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA), while poking holes into the operations of the umbrella revenue collection agency.
In a press statement issued Thursday afternoon, NUPW Assistant General Secretary Wayne Walrond charged that BRA was not only inefficient, but that it had failed to honour outstanding tax refunds.
Without going into details, the union spokesman also claimed that public officers who recently took up employment with the umbrella revenue collection agency were either opting to return to the public service or to take early retirement.
Walrond further charged that Government had failed to have pension arrangements finalized for officers who have transitioned to the BRA, thus depriving them of receiving a higher pension and gratuity based on higher emoluments earned under that Authority.
It was on this basis that the Assistant General Secretary said his union was sticking to its guns on the proposed merger of the Customs & Excise Department into BRA. And he warned that NUPW members would not be bullied into joining the umbrella agency.
“First, the NUPW wishes to state that customs officers have the right to exercise an option to go or not go with the BRA,” the statement said, adding that “the union has always respected that democratic right and does not intend to force any public officer, including those at the Customs & Excise Department, to accept employment with the BRA”.
Walrond also took issue with comments made by Minister of Commerce Donville Inniss in his address to a meeting of the Customs Broker and Clerks Association, saying the Minister had made certain inferences that seemingly apportioned blame for the transition process not having been completed.
However, Walrond cautioned that “this does address the real issues confronting the BRA”, as he called for an objective analysis to supports that countries perform better with the revenue model.
“The NUPW submits that the relevant authorities must accept that there is need for a review of the operations of the BRA in determining the way forward,” he said, adding that “the union will continue to be a responsible stakeholder in the process of representing the legitimate concerns of customs officers and all public workers”.