A BRIEF HISTORY
THE CUSTOM BROKERS ASSOCIATION OF BELIZE LTD.
The Customs Brokers Association of Belize, hereinafter referred to as CBAB, was registered as a legal entity under the laws of Belize on May 18th, 1993.
Before it was it was established its members – Customs Brokers and Customs Clerks – lobbied daily with the Comptroller of Customs and other officers of the Customs Department to get their issues relating to the clearance of goods from customs and ports facilities for their clients. There was constant friction In the efforts of brokers to have their issues addressed and their rights respected by the Customs officials As the number of customs brokers increased so did the friction. The Customs Department decided that something must be done to deal with these complaints.
The then Comptroller of Customs appointed one of his senior officers , Mr. Karl Tillett, to nudge the customs brokers to unionize. By doing so members would state their complaints to the association [union] and it would delegate the responsibility to its Chairman / President and Board of Directors to lobby or negotiate resolution to all complaints or disputes involving Customs and the association.
In the beginning the membership of the CBAB was approximately 53 persons. Today we have 125 customs brokers on our membership roll. Most of the founding members are still active.
The first Board of Directors of CBAB consisted of the following members:-
Mr. Ramos, Mr. Vasquez and Mrs. Medina were appointed as Trustees of CBAB.
||Mr. Oscar Ramos
||Mr. Herman Vasquez
|Secretary / Treasurer
||Mrs. Enoe Medina
||Mr. Nolan Bradley
||Mr. Herbert Haylock
||Mr. Charles Burn
||Mr. Jorge Martinez
Special mention must be made of the significant contribution of Mr. Oscar Ramos over the years since Its establishment. Mr. Ramos served as the president of the board of directors of CBAB for most of the 16 years of its existence.
Belize is a small community. Because of its size the leaders and followers share informal relationships. The relationships are mostly open and the public have access to the leaders. As the population grew and the size of organizations swell in numbers the public showed less respect for the leaders. The abuse of this relationship led to formalization of them and the openness declined. The need for teamwork and unity – hanging together or hanging separately - strengthened bonds or groupings. This was the case that led to the formation and growth of the CBAB.
Some issues that persisted throughout the years for customs brokers in their relationship with the Customs Department staff such as fighting over classification of goods under the tariff and personality struggles between members of the two groups began to be cleared up since the inception of the CBAB. Another issue that caused much This prompted the need to establish a customs brokers and customs clerks board to license and regulate the customs brokerage field. Much progress was made yet the matters remained unresolved.
This organized effort to have one united voice when negotiating for smoother relationship between the Customs Department and the CBAB acting on behalf of the customs broker's community was for the most part an on-going struggle that is only now bearing satisfactory fruit under the current leadership. Much remains to be done. But the customs brokers for the most part have unlearnt the bad habit of attacking the customs officers as individuals. Today the relationship has earned mutual respect of all concerned. The original objective is about to be achieved. This is the customs brokers function as professionals as they act upon their slogan “committed to service and professionalism.”
Courtesy of Mrs. Enoe Medina and Mr. Herman Vasquez