Grimes removed from Customs

The outspoken Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Public Workers Union (PWU), Brian Grimes has offered a very measured response to his transfer from the Customs Department within the Ministry of Finance to the almost non-existence Ministry of Co-operatives.

Brian Grimes – holds the post of PRO for the Public Workers Union

“I am going to honour that requirement as any other public officer would and my objective in mind would be to be as productive as I can, just as I was in the department I served in before and try and set a good standard as a Public Officer to enhance the image of the Public Service”, Grimes told THE NEW TODAY newspaper.

The letter from the Public Service Commission (PSC) said the transfer to the Ministry of Co-operatives at the National Stadium at Queen’s Park, will take effect from Monday, July 16th, 2018.

Three other officers of the Customs Department – Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Caville Lett along with Alva Andall, and Sheldon Joseph, son of Minister of Economic Development, Oliver Joseph were also transferred to other positions within the service.

THE NEW TODAY understands that Lett has been assigned to the Ministry of Culture.

The Ministry of Cooperatives is currently headed by Minister Joseph and although it is a fairly diminished Ministry compared to the Department of Customs, Grimes stated that he will “see where I can fit in and like I said be as productive as possible for the development of this country.”
Grimes who has been a Customs Officer for the past 18 years said, although he enjoyed the job that he did at Customs, it is not always a negative thing to be exposed to something new.

“Basically it’s (Customs) a specialised area…a job that I enjoyed.

It’s a very dynamic job but I am going to embrace the opportunity to work somewhere else and get an understanding of other parts of the Public Service and broaden my knowledge and my knowledge base about general things, as well as Public Service”, he added.

In his capacity as PRO of PWU, a position he has held for a number of years, Grimes responded to a question as to whether or not the action of transfers within the public service is a growing concern for Public Officers.

He affirmed that although he welcomes change, the fact is that a lot of Public Officers have been raising concerns over the manner in which transfers take place within the service.

“I am not saying this is necessarily (so) relating to me but being a worker representative, it is incumbent upon me to transmit to the general public and the powers-that-be that there is a lot of uneasiness with the ways that transfers are taking place.

“Many people feel the political directorate is influencing the transfer process and the Public Service Commission is becoming somewhat of a rubber stamp organisation.

“I am not stating this in relation to my situation but as it is occurring I am just stating the concerns of many public officers within the public service.

According to Grimes this is an issue that the Trade Union Movement will have to look into as “there must be some balance, there must be some fairness, there must be some objectivity in people’s professional lives and the way that people who are in power treat workers within this country.”

Well-placed sources told this newspaper that fingers are pointing at a particular senior customs officer as the person who played a role in getting the Ministry of Finance to transfer the four officers from the department.

“That man doesn’t like Carville (Lett) and was determined for a long time to get her out of Customs”, said a staffer who did not want to be identified.

About two months ago Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Keith Mitchell addressed Customs officers at a meeting and alluded to widespread corruption within the department and hinted at transfer of some officers.

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