Show respect and you’ll earn it

IT’S simple, show respect and you’ll earn respect.” Those were the words of one of the longest serving simple yet outspoken Customs officer, manager Tariffs and Trade Susheel Kumar.

With little to have, Mr Kumar who comes from a farming community in Ba said with no knowledge or experience of Customs work, he applied just for the sake of getting a job.

“My final year was at Xavier College in Ba. I applied through The Fiji Times for this Customs work with no knowledge about customs and no experience, he said.”

“In 1975, for the sake of getting a job, I just applied.

I left Tavua and the only thing I had was the clothes on me and flip-flops.

“I was just 20 years old and I have been here ever since.

“I love what I do because walking into Customs has not only given me such opportunities but it has also groomed me into the person I am today where I can support my family and actually put food on the table for them.

“I work from Mondays to Fridays and most of the time we have to work late for 2-3 days but that’s how it is.

“Here at Tariffs and Trade, we give tariff rulings and also trade purposes.

All the important agencies and business houses they apply for concessions on products that they can put up into the business which is-government trying to assist.

“So our tariff and trade section in conjunction with our policy section assists new investors who invest into the country. That’s what we do.

“Under shipping, the tariff and trade section processes concession applications for yachts for example if a resort owner wants to get yachts into the country under a concession, their applications are processed by tariffs and trade section.”

Mr Kumar adds he took up a course at the university of the South Pacific (USP) and gained his BA in economics and public administration.

“It took me five years to complete this course so in 2002 I graduated.

“Next April, I will complete 39 years of service here. So by the time I retire, I will be completing 40 years of service and I’d really like to see new staff members have an interest in learning tariff and evaluation and be patient and learn to listen because the reward you’re expecting is bigger.

“So young people I wouldn’t only want to encourage but also urge you, learn to have patience and humble yourself then only can you see good things coming your way.

You show respect and you earn it.”