Why To Join Association

MR. GLENROY ANDREW – JANUARY 2009

(Contact No: 684-9143)

Dear fellow Customs Clerks and Customs Brokers, I bring greetings to you and wish you all the best of health and strength for the year 2009. Also, that you experience prosperity and happiness along life’s journey by the grace of God for this year and beyond.

Customs Clerks and Customs Brokers are a large group of professionals in Trinidad and Tobago. Because we are scattered all over the country it is difficult to meet with you on a one and one basis, so I have taken this opportunity to write to you requesting that you vote for me as President in our upcoming Customs Clerks and Brokers Association bi-annual election on March 19th 2009.

Our President Mr. Michael Andrew has carried the mantel for the past seventeen (17) years and we must sincerely thank him for the great services rendered. However, there comes a time when change is necessary. I do believe that the time is now.

A new vision is envisaged by me to take this association to new heights and to create a vision of enthusiasm of hope and faith for a better and more prosperous life.

We need new entrepreneurs to lift the spirit of the people who have long suffered by those we put in charge to open doors for us. We need opportunity and open doors to perform our duties with dignity and honesty of heart.

I propose to eradicate an abundance of greed and dishonesty that have deep seated roots over us for over twenty five (25) years.

Too often I would meet a fellow customs clerk and ask him or her to join the association. The answer that I receive is why I should join an association that does nothing for customs clerks.

I must first let you know that the association is in fact a TRADE UNION which many of you did not know. Yes we have the power to negotiate wages and other working conditions for you upon your request.

We attend quarterly meetings at both Point Lisas Port and Port Authority. Very often there are situations affecting our performance with our jobs and for this, there are many meetings with the Customs, truckers and the various Ports as mentioned earlier.

We also attend meetings and seminars with Ministry of Trade on a number of bilateral agreements; the last one being the EPA. There is at present a new trade agreement in progress with Canada of which our association form a part.

Not withstanding the above mention, we also form part of the Caricom Customs Brokerage Association (CACUB). We are also a member of the world Customs Brokers Association but, because we do not have enough funds in the association we no longer take an active part.

At this point I can safely say that the Customs Clerks and Customs Brokers are well represented by the executive. It is sad to know that you enjoy all this representation for free and yet you do not appreciate same.

When I say for FREE I must expand on this point. No body in the executive is paid for their service of representation. Now if all this is done for free and with less than forty (40) financial members, you can well imagine what a vibrant association we would have if more clerks come forward and join the association.

I now recommend and employ all Customs Clerks to join the association.

The entrance fee is twenty dollars ($20.00) and membership is one hundred dollars ($100.00) per year which, I am sure you would agree is very small considering we like to use the word professional defining ourselves.

To do a better and proper job we need our own office, a place to conduct day to day business of the association, therefore the dues of the association must increase.

If elected President, I promise to have an open house for ideas, comments and active participation at all meetings and even outside official meetings.

I do not profess to have all the answers for change and good governance but with all your help and dedicated assistance in the spirit of hope and faith, I say to you, YES WE CAN!

Vote for Mr. Glenroy Andrew as your next President.

“Customs broker” “means an independent person who undertakes or holds himself out as willing to undertake for remuneration, fee or reward to act on behalf of any other person or persons generally, or who in fact so acts in connection with the entering and clearing of goods or other transactions under the customs laws;

The way the law is structured a person must become independent upon receiving a Customs Brokers’ Licence. Independence can take different forms as follows:

    1. The first and most common form is by setting up a personal office or company and offering your services to the public in line with Customs Brokerage including Ship Brokerage.
    1. Joining with another Customs Broker or other customs brokers to form a Brokerage House. Although the law does not provide for a collective name Brokerage House we would continue to operate as a lawyer representing a client before the court.
  1. It is similar to a liquor licence being registered in an individual name rather than a company name. (c) Forming contractual arrangement with a company or companies for a fee or reward which should not resemble that of normal employment in a company for salary, holidays, sick leaf, NIS, other insurance benefits or long service benefits.

Now the system employ by the Customs Brokers Board to give Customs Clerks Grade III, Customs Brokers examination is counter productive in that a clerk may not be ready to be independent at the point of passing the examination. People generally undertake examination at the beginning of all careers and customs Clerks should pass the third and final examination (grade III) within three to five years.

Bearing in mind that a Customs Broker is an independent person, a grade III clerk would have to plan his or her future as to when it is most conducive to become a Customs Broker considering the risk that comes with independence (finance in starting a business, etc).

On the other hand if you force a Grade III to sit a Customs Broker examination and the individual is not ready to become independent or for that matter the clerk may be employed in a very reputable company with very good working benefits and is therefore not willing to resign from the job.

This is why the law did not provide for a grade III to sit a Customs Brokers examination.

The law clearly defines in section nine (9) that a recommendation be issued by the Customs Clerks and Customs Brokers Association for obtaining a Customs Brokers Licence.

Since all Customs Clerks grade III may never request the letter of recommendation because not every body would like to face the risks that goes with independence, the association must and I emphasize “must” issue without delay the recommendation as requested. This goes with good union practice.

“To all Grade II Customs Clerks” I will assist many of you in getting a Customs Brokers Licence. All grade II that is presently independent, with any office and creating employment and having a registered Brokerage of Shipping office.

I am definitely not going to be a conservative and therefore be open to suggestions and open discussions.

Let me say here that Customs Brokers Examination is for Customs Broker Apprentice and since there are no customs Brokers Apprentice in Trinidad and Tobago, I will not elaborate on this statement.

Do you know that the Customs Brokers Board has been functioning without the appointment of its members by the Minister of Finance for the past two (2) years?

And do you also know that the Act has no provision for the Comptroller of Customs to unilaterally carry out certain functions of the Board?

And do you also know that the Act has no provision for the Comptroller of Customs to unilaterally carry out certain functions of the Board?

Well, what are we doing about this! Our present Executive is certainly not doing a good job in getting the Minister of Finance to appoint the Board.

Vote Glenroy Andrew for President and together with my vision of hope and faith, we will put things Right.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Very informative. 🙂
    -Andrew

  2. DONNA EDWARDS

    This is really great. Now all customs clerks can give comments and opinions.

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