After virtually storming the office of a senior Customs official and having had security called to help calm them, storeowners finally got the goods which they imported specifically for Old Year’s Night, released from Customs.
Barbados TODAY reported yesterday that some storeowners were upset that their stock had been piling up at the lockers used by the Customs and Excise Department at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) since last Friday.
One businesswoman said they had been advised that the truck used to transport the items to the nearby Queen’s Warehouse for clearance had been involved in an accident and was out of operation.
She complained that, “if we don’t get this stuff that we just invest in sold between Monday and tomorrow [today] the goose cook”.
With time running out several frustrated business owners made their way to the Seawell location to demand the goods. After being made to wait for over three hours, they marched upstairs to an office where assistant comptroller Sonia Jordan-Clarke was meeting with another official. Voices were raised as the vendors vented their spleen until security was called in, and the group was assured that efforts were being made to have the goods released.
Shortly after 1 p.m. they finally received the stock and rushed to The City to attempt to catch last-minute customers looking to be outfitted for that special Old Year’s Night celebration.
As the owners collected their bags, there was relief, however, in what one of them described as “sabotage”, they complained that they had been inconvenienced “big time” as people were “already in town spending”.
Marcel Alstram of Faith Boutique said she was definitely pleased with the outcome and indicated that she planned to extend her store’s opening hours in an attempt to sell as many items as possible.
Meanwhile, Philip Small of Genesis Boutique felt there was no reasonable explanation for the delay which resulted in the affected business owners having to endure the tiring experience and pleading with officials to hand over the goods.
“I feel like this was sabotage. Although I might go downtown and still catch couple sales, I know that I have lost out.
“These things could have been put in place ever since because it is the same people and same equipment they had before. [I don’t understand why] you had to press and push to do all of these things just to get a response. I don’t think it should have gone to this level, it should have been rectified ever since,” he said.
Vendor Keann Walters said it was not the first time that they experienced such delays and it was high time a solution was found.
“We spent the entire morning here just losing money. Next year we are going to come together and get as much vendors as possible and sit down at the round table with the heads and see how we can solve these problems. I think that is the best way to go forward doing it in 2016,” Walters said.