Public Urged to Make the Proper Customs Declarations

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The Customs Department commenced a week of activities celebrating International Customs Day with a church service at St. Barnabas Anglican Church on Sunday, January 20. (Photo/Patrick Hanna)

By: Llonella Gilbert

NASSAU, Bahamas – Acting Customs Controller Anthony Adderley urged the public to make proper declarations relative to the goods they import into the country so that more monies will be available for government works.

Mr. Adderley’s remarks came Sunday, January 20 at a church service at St. Barnabas Anglican Church officially marking the start of International Customs Day celebrations.

He explained that it is the Customs Department’s responsibility to collect duties for the Government of The Bahamas, who in turn has been entrusted to use it wisely on behalf of the Bahamian people.

“Whilst we may be doing a good job at this time, the government has indicated that we must do more by way of collections and whilst I am of the opinion we can improve upon our revenue collection, I want to challenge you, the members of the public, to join this worthy cause so that we can meet this mandate,” Mr. Adderley said.

“After all, it is difficult for any government to provide the necessary services to its people without adequate funding.”

He also asked the public to report importers who are not paying their fair share to the Customs Department.

“I know that some of you are reluctant to provide such information on persons for fear of reprisal,” Mr. Adderely said. “I wish to remind you however that you have nothing to fear as information will be treated with strict confidence.”

“I assure you that your civil rights will at all times be protected. The laws of the land guarantee this.”

He said another way Bahamians can assist in the proper collection of the country’s revenue is by advising the Department of any act committed by its staff which may have resulted in the loss of revenue or intended to cause loss of revenue.

“Integrity must be seen as the order of the day among our staff.”
Mr. Adderley meantime cautioned that the public must be as truthful as they could when making reports, because failure to do so would result in time wasted.

He explained that while other countries only observe one day, the Customs Department in The Bahamas observes a whole week of activities.

On Wednesday, the Department will feed senior citizens at the various homes for the elderly throughout New Providence.

A long service award ceremony will be held at the Sheraton Cable Beach Resort on Thursday, January 24. Sixty-nine persons from the Customs Department’s uniformed branch and 11 non-uniformed personnel will be honoured during the ceremony.

Governor General, His Excellency Arthur Hanna is scheduled to present awards to the staff members who have given 20 to 40 years of service.