Importers calling on govt. to reconsider new Customs Management Act amendments

DARREN COOPER, Proprietor of D’s Car Rentals

Grand Bahama business leaders are calling on the government to reconsider the amendments to the Customs Management Act, section Customs 108 (a) and (b).

Proprietor of D's Car Rentals, Darren Cooper, who claimed to be speaking also, on behalf of other local business owners, inferred that the recent decision by the government amounted to an injustice being levied upon business owners and residents of Grand Bahama.

“Customs, a few weeks ago, announced that on March 16 they would have been implementing, or enforcing the 108 (a) and (b) of the Customs Management Act, which speaks to couriers and freight forwarders, with the way you would be allowed, by law, to bring goods to the island of Grand Bahama.

“Couriers won't be allowed to bring it by sea, only by plane, and, freight forwarders will be allowed to bring it by sea and by plane. However, the cost will be passed on to customers,” he said.

He called upon the government to reconsider the implementation of this particular law.

Cooper said that on Tuesday, March 17, the Balearia Caribbean Ferry brought in hundreds of pallets with items, however, no one was allowed to clear the items.

“Customs would have informed those freight forwarders and courier companies that in order for them to get the goods, which is not manifested, they would have to add it to the manifest which would be an additional 25 percent of its value, plus the value added tax (VAT), attached to the percentage. That again is a high cost of operation,” he said.

He lamented that business owners would have to pass the extra charge on to their customers.

Cooper noted that a State of Emergency had just been declared due to the COVID-19 global outbreak, which means that business owners needed to get various items to their customers as soon as possible.

“We’re still rebuilding after Hurricane Dorian. We're still in reconstruction mode and people are still trying to come to grips with what they are dealing with,” he said.

To this end, he reiterated his plea for authorities to reconsider the situation, “so the people of Grand Bahama could return to a sense of normalcy and get their lives back together in a more efficient and cost-effective way.”

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