Public left fuming after BRA lockout
by rachelleagard @nationnews.com
Members of the public visiting the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) in The Pine, St Michael, yesterday were made to wait an additional hour and a half after opening hours before they were able to conduct business.
Customers arrived as early as 7:30 a.m., expecting the office to open at 8:15 a.m., as indicated by a sign posted on the doors, but they, along with staff members, were prevented from entering.
Irate customer Ryan Brathwaite told the Weekend Nation he arrived at 8:30 a.m. and saw about 60 people standing outside.
“We were informed by the guard that the supervisor had not arrived as yet, and as a result the building could not be opened. The guard was also standing outside. Around 8:50 a.m. somebody came and opened the door and staff members entered.
“Those of us on the outside were hoping that business could be conducted shortly thereafter. We remained outside, the guard went in and returned to say the supervisor had not arrived and business could not start,” he said.
He added that it rained about 20 minutes later and when customers asked to be let in to shelter, they were refused.
Reports reaching the Weekend Nation were that an 82-year-old man in the line collapsed.
“He seemed to be suffering from a bit of heat exhaustion. The ambulance arrived and he was attended to. His daughter also came,” Brathwaite said.
Patrick Newton, another angry customer, said he arrived an hour before opening.
“The supervisor only just walked through the door at 9:40 a.m. A man collapsed on the pavement and I had to call the ambulance for him. This can’t be good enough.
“Rain came down and we all had to be in the rain,” Newton said.
Harold Davis said he went to the Pine to avoid going to Oistins but was met with the long lines, something he had “never experienced so bad here before”.
In response, the BRA’S manager of communications and public relations Carolyn Williams-gayle said in a statement: “This morning, the supervisor on duty at The Pine had to leave immediately on arrival to deal with a family emergency.”
She said the majority of licensing transactions required supervisory intervention so The Pine location could not open until a supervisor came to cover the operations there.
In an attempt to “safeguard and secure the location during that time, taxpayers were not allowed to enter the office”.
A long line snaked down from the entrance to the cashier area of the Barbados Revenue Authority’s offices at The Pine, St Michael, yesterday.
Harold Davis waiting outside the Barbados Revenue Authority.
Patrick Newton was not happy having to wait at The Pine yesterday.