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Businesses on notice

Companies which have been “robbing” Government of revenue have been put on notice that any loopholes through the Bridgetown Port will be closed.

Prince Julio César

In fact, new Comptroller of Customs Owen Holder has pledged that there will be no more revenue losses from the facility under his watch

Sending a warning to those companies which have not been “operating above board”, resulting in Government losing substantial monies, Holder said he intended to transform the Bridgetown Port into a world-class facility, while also turning around its financial fortunes

The Comptroller said since taking up office it had been brought to his attention that some companies were “giving away concessions”

He however, gave ample warning that those days of Government being robbed of revenue were coming to an end

“Since I’ve come into office a file crossed my desk where a company was given concessions and felt within itself that it should give those concessions to another company because that company was getting concessions. That is non-compliant behaviour,” Holder said while delivering the feature address at the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (BCCI) business luncheon at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre today

“There is no company that is given a concession that has the authority to give that concession to another company so let me say this now, those of you who have been doing this, I would suggest that you come into us and let’s have a discussion to see how best we can solve the issue.”

Holder said the creation of a Cargo Management Inventory Unit would greatly increase customs’ monitoring ability

He maintained that protecting Government’s revenue was of utmost importance

“We will be doing in-depth monitoring, monitoring at the level that you have not yet seen in customs. I have created a Cargo Management Inventory Unit and that unit is supposed to manage cargo from the time it enters the cargo ship to the time of consumption. It will be looking at temporary exports, expired goods, manufacturing, hotel incentives, charities and other incentives

“We are going to be monitoring those areas in a big way because we have seen in ASYCUDA ++ where there is a revenue loss to Government and we are going to ensure that we enforce all of our major roles, which is to protect Government’s revenue and that is important,” Holder pointed out

“So you stakeholders, manufacturers, hotel owners, charities, we are coming. I am not saying that you are doing anything illegal, but we are coming and when we come we expect that you would be above table, otherwise then we will have to have another discussion,” he cautioned

Holder told members of the BCCI that his plans to “reorganize the organiation” included changing the model that had been used to fashion customs since 1986

He contended that model “had outlived its purpose”

As part of efforts to improve customs’ efficiency, Holder said he had assigned his two deputy comptrollers Cheryl-Ann Cumberbatch and Sonia Jordan-Clarke who will deal with issues relating to trade and matters of compliance and enforcement respectively

Holder said he also planned to automate every section of the department

Additionally, he said ASYPMASYCUDA Performance Management System – would also be implemented, which would allow management to monitor the performance of all customs employees

Holder also said there would be the establishment of a customs tribunal which would deal with appeals and objections by stakeholders, as well as the formation of a Public Private Partnership Committee (PPPC) where stakeholders would be able to air their concerns. [email protected]