With Christmas just around the corner, those persons planning to import barrels into the country might have received an early gift.
Faced with the usual sight of long lines of persons waiting to clear their barrels at the Bridgetown Port during December, new Comptroller of Customs Owen Holder today explained that a new system was being put in place which would significantly reduce waiting times.
Holder said persons coming to clear barrels would now be briefly interviewed before being allowed to collect their merchandise.
He said during those interviews they would be questioned by a Customs supervisor about what was contained in the barrel.
Holder explained that while Customs officials would still scan the barrels, once what was detailed during the interview matched what was in the barrel, that person would proceed to the cashier where they would pay their duties and then collect their belongings
He said the barrels would then be designated to either a ‘green lane’, which would allow the owner to collect it and leave, or if there was some suspicion about the items in a particular barrel, it would be moved to the ‘red lane’ where it would be subjected to a search by enforcement officers.
“The interviews will take approximately five minutes the most. It is the normal interview process that we go through when we are trying to ascertain what is in the barrel.
“So this will shorten the time considerably because once we are satisfied that you have made an accurate declaration to us then the next step will be to go the cashier, pay your duties and then go to the Port Authority,” Holder explained.
He anticipated that close to 60 percent of the barrels would be sent through the ‘green lane’.
In describing how the new system would significantly reduce the waiting period, Holder said there were currently several aspects of “red tape” which had to do before an individual could collect their barrel.
Holder gave his assurance that Customs would not be jeopardizing its security, as he reiterated that all barrels brought into the country would be scanned thoroughly. [email protected]