GRADE III Say no to Customs Broker’s Examination


Let us look at High Court Case #3549 of 1995 by Justice Sealey J.

This case in point is whether or not a person can sit a Customs Brokers Board Examination without first being a registered apprentice or trainee as the case may be.

The Court has given judgment in favour of the Customs Brokers Board to say that a candidate must be registered with the Board as an apprentice or trainee to qualify to sit the examination of the Board.

I must remind you of the main function of the Customs Brokers Board as follows:-

The functions of the Board are “to promote high standards of efficiency and integrity in the conduct of persons performing duties of Customs Brokers and Customs Clerks and to ensure the maintenance of such standards by determining the competence and fitness of such persons and by licensing those who attain the standards set by the Board”.

Please note on page 3 of the judgment 4th paragraph as follows:-

The Board is saying through its secretary Mr. Ralf Newton that since its establishment under the Act, it has dealt with licensed Customs Brokers, licensed Customs Clerks and duly registered “apprentices” and “trainees” as provided for under the Act.

The issue before the Court (page 4) is by what means is the Board to determine the competence and fitness of an applicant for a license. It is obliged under Section 7 to set examinations and such other means as it may think necessary to do so.

The issue really surrounds whether the apprenticeship scheme can be considered the ‘other means’ and whether this is really a condition precedent to taking the examination and should there be such a condition.

We now go to page 5 of the judgment.
An applicant for a license may not be accepted as a candidate for an examination unless he first satisfies the Board that he has not less than three months experience of the duties of a Customs Broker.

This in my opinion refers to a person now entering the field and wish to be licensed as a Customs Broker, but in so doing the person must pass an examination and to qualify for the examination you must attain not less than three months experience of the duties of a Customs Broker.

This person is whom I call a Customs Broker Apprentice.

REG. 15

“Where a Customs Broker recruits an apprentice”

These words can only mean that power has been given to only a Customs Broker to recruit apprentices.

Please note here that the word recruit in this context does not necessarily have the same or similar meaning as the word employ. Therefore it stands to reason that the recruited person can only be called an Apprentice Broker except that the law gives a particular name otherwise.

Continuing with Section 15 as follows:-
The Broker (he) shall register with the Board the name of such apprentice within seven days of the date of such recruitment.

The words mention here clearly shows that the Customs Broker is registering the recruited apprentice within seven days of recruitment.

This person may already have a job outside the field of Customs Brokerage for example, a teacher, a medical doctor, a customs officer, a printer, a store manager, an accountant etc. This person shall be called a Customs Broker Apprentice and as such an identity badge and Customs Broker Apprentice license would be issued by the Customs Brokers Board.

When you would have understood Regulation 15 it means that Reg. 16 would become very easy as follows:

A Customs Broker Apprentice registered with the Board under Reg. 15 may not sign Customs warrants but may transact other business at customs for and on behalf of the Customs Broker to whom he is apprenticed and such Customs Broker shall be held liable for the acts or omissions of the Apprentice Customs Broker within the scope of his apprenticeship.

This Section 16 is very clear to me. There is in law an apprentice known as an Apprentice Customs Broker.


The very first three words in this Section apprentices and trainees clearly show two different sets of persons.

Now let us continue to read Section 17 slowly as follows:-

Customs Broker Apprentices shall undergo a course of training and shall be under competent supervision to enable them to qualify for a Customs Broker’s license within a period of three years of the date of their recruitment.

Now please note here that these are the only persons that are duly qualified to sit a Customs Broker’s Examination. One must be registered as a Customs Broker Apprentice with the Board.

How else can you obtain the experience of the duties of a Customs Broker, as mentioned in Reg. 6?

We may also note here that Customs Broker Apprenticeship scheme, customs clerk trainee scheme and boarding clerk apprentice scheme are three separate issues that do not interlock with each other.
Each Section has its own beginning and its separate ending. As regard examination.

Now since the Board does not permit a person to hold more than one license how would a Grade III clerk be qualify to sit a Customs Broker Examination.

I am sure that Judge Sealey would ask “by what means did the Grade III experience the duties of a Customs Broker”. The Grade III license does not serve as an apprentice or a trainee to the Customs Broker Examination.

That is why a Boarding Clerk has not been able to sit a Grade I examination reason being, his license does not qualify him to sit a Grade I examination.

I say again with boldness that the Customs Broker Apprentice is the only qualifying person that can sit a Customs Broker’s Examination.

The said Act already provides Section 9 for a Customs Clerk to become a Customs Broker.

I will soon call on the Minister to direct the comptroller and the Board accordingly.


I have drifted a bit from the judgment. Let us get back to page 5 as follows:-

Those trainees and apprentices who have been registered under regulation 15 are allowed to do limited amount of work at customs for and on behalf of those persons by whom they are employed or with whom they are apprentice.

In the middle of page 6 the judge says – There is also an apprentice scheme for customs brokers.

I believe that the judge is looking at the broker’s apprenticeship as distinct from the customs clerk trainee because on page 7 line two the judge says- one wonders then how they gained the experience.

Vote Glenroy Andrew into the post of President and together we will put all things right and good.

I say again No customs broker’s exam for Customs clerk grade III.


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