CHARLESTOWN, Nevis –- Customs and Excise Department officials paid homage here on Oct. 25 to former Senior Customs officer Brian Anthony David of blessed memory, at the Customs and Excise Department in Nevis during a ceremony at which the Customs Courier Facility in Charlestown was renamed in his honour.
The ceremony was attended by government officials, David’s family, friends and work associates. In attendance were: Hon Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis; Cynric Carey, Deputy Comptroller of the Customs and Excise Department on Nevis; Sheldon David, his son; and Kennedy DeSilva, Acting Comptroller of the St. Kitts and Nevis Customs and Excise Department. Family members present were: Hon Eric Evelyn; Sheila Evelyn; Ms. Joyce Powell-Broadbelt; Mrs. Kaymoye Carey and Ms. Shanelle David.
Hon. Eric Evelyn, who is a David family member, read the tribute at the event which formed part of the department’s celebrations commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Customs and Excise Department in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Born on August 2, 1956, Brian Anthony David made a sterling contribution to the development of Nevis and more so to the advancement of the Customs and Excise Department on the island,” Evelyn said. “Brian was a model public servant and gave 32 years of unstinting service to the government and people of Nevis and by extension the Federation.
“In cricketing terms, Brian was an all-rounder and served various ministries and departments in numerous capacities,” Evelyn said.
The minister, who as a family member was familiar with David’s career, gave a detailed description of his job history.
“He entered the public service and was appointed as clerk in the Ministry of Trade, Development, Industry and Tourism effective May 13, 1974,” Evelyn said. Four years later, he was transferred to the Inland Revenue Department as clerk effective February 1, 1978.
“A mere two years later he was transferred and appointed as clerk at the Customs Department, Nevis effective April 1, 1980. Before he could have settled properly there, duty called him elsewhere and he was transferred and appointed as clerk/bailiff at the Magistrate’s Department, effective May 16, that same year, 1980.
“After approximately one year in that position, Brian was again transferred on promotion as senior clerk to the Accountant General’s Department, effective April 1, 1981. After serving the Inland Revenue Department so well between 1978 and 1980, he returned and was appointed executive officer of that department on November 23, 1983 and where he spent the next six years.
“On July 1, 1989, Brian was again transferred to the Customs Department where he served as an Acting Senior Customs Officer. Exactly one year later, on July 1, 1990, he was appointed to that position.
“Due to his impressive track record in Customs and the public service in general, he rose to the rank of Deputy Comptroller of the Customs Department effective January 1, 1997, a position he held with distinction.
“After a five-year stint at the top Customs position on Nevis, Evelyn said, “Brian was transferred and appointed as Director, Youth and Sports Division, effective April 1, 2002. Two months later, on June 15 he was transferred and appointed as Principal Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Planning, a position he held until his retirement on March 4, 2006. Of the 32 years in the Public Service, Brian served the Customs Department for 13 years.
“During his years in the service, he was always a regular and punctual employee and missed work only when he absolutely necessary,” Evelyn said. “He had an excellent relationship with his co-workers and showed respect to those in authority as well as those whom he supervised. He was exceptionally pleasant and was loved by his staff.
“Overall, Brian was very humble, a committed and dedicated employee who often went beyond the call of duty. Could the Nevis Island Administration and the people of Nevis have asked for more from such a career public servant? I say no.
“Brian was not only an exceptional public servant, he was also a community-minded individual,” Evelyn said. “He gave of his time and expertise to the Hanley’s Road community, as he was an integral part of community projects. He was very reliable and could be called upon at any time to assist in community activities. He was kind, very approachable and had the qualities of a true community man, and I think it is public knowledge but for those who may not remember and who didn’t know him, he was very sharp and a ladies man.
“He was also a family man who adored his family.
“Brian was an ardent cricket fan and loved the game. In his younger years he played the game in the community of Hanley’s Road but his real exploits at cricket came as an umpire. He served as an umpire for numerous years and officiated in local games as well as at the sub-regional level. So in love was he with cricket that whenever cricket was being played at the park, Brian would be present whether he was umpiring or not.
“Brian died suddenly on November 27, 2009 at age 53.
“As a member of his family, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Nevis Customs Department for this very thoughtful gesture. There is no one more fitting to receive this accolade than the late Brian Anthony David.
To the Customs Department, thank you from Brian’s entire family. We also take this opportunity to wish you a very Happy 60th anniversary.”
Customs Comptroller lauds David’s achievements
DeSilva also lauded David’s efforts and achievements indicating he was privy to some of his former colleague’s contributions, which permanently to impact the entire department.
“David would have been the officer at the time responsible for the first introduction into the Customs side, at least in automation, where he would have introduced the ASYCUDA World system over here,” said DeSilva. “He would have overseen the [system’s] installation and deployment and that is one of the focal things we use right now to assist us in our trade facilitation role. That has been his contribution and a significant one on which we still rely. He implemented it more than 20 years ago.”
DeSilva described David’s involvement in “soft politics” at the department in terms of forging a relationship between the departments in St. Kitts and in Nevis.
“Although we are separate islands, sometimes we don’t collaborate enough as we ought to,” DeSilva explained. “David made sure, whether it’s through sports or whether through the daily dialogue, that he would have from time to time with our comptrollers, he made sure that we still remained one Customs even though we were separated by the waters and that is significant. Networking and that relationship is important, and that is why we are here today to honour him.”
The Acting Comptroller expressed satisfaction with the department on Nevis for ensuring that David is honoured and his memory will live on. He also thanked the Nevis Island Administration for recognising one of Customs’ stalwarts.