The Acting Comptroller of the Barbados Customs and Excise Department, Frank Holder, has clarified that the reported loss of $175 million in duties and taxes from illegal cigarette imports was in relation to Jamaica and not Barbados.
The explanation comes on the heels of press reports, which emanated from his recent address at the opening of a two-day Regional Training Course on Product Identification at Accra Beach Hotel, Rockley, Christ Church.
In his address, Mr. Holder said: "In Jamaica, several seizures of counterfeit cigarettes have been made during the year. The Jamaica Observer is reporting that on Saturday, the Jamaica Customs Contraband Enforcement Team seized a container with over 400 cases of illegal cigarettes valued at $120 million destined for St. Maarten.
"The island’s largest cigarette distributor says that it stands to lose about $300 million in revenue following the recent recovery of counterfeit cigarettes on the local market. In addition, it is estimated that Government could lose as much as $175 million from duties and taxes from the illegal cigarette imports," Mr. Holder stated.
He continued: "Here in Barbados we have had our challenges with large suitcases of cigarettes being imported. Such importations, if not detected at our borders, are a significant loss of revenue to our Government."