Government is addressing the long waiting periods by Barbadians to obtain their shipments after they have landed in the country.
Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn, highlighted the reforms implemented over the past four years, while delivering the keynote address, at the 44th Annual Conference for the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC), held yesterday at Hilton Barbados, Needham’s Point, St. Michael.
“We have sought to introduce a number of critical reforms not just within the Customs Department but across the Government of Barbados, in order to bring our processes and our systems into the 21st century,” he stated.
Mr. Straughn acknowledged that customers were experiencing some delays, but opined that the issues weren’t always caused by Customs, and assured that systems had been implemented to help eliminate the long waiting times, even amid the limitations cause by the pandemic.
“I am absolutely clear that in an environment where you have seen significant disruption in the global supply chain, the logistical issues that we are experiencing, it is absolutely important that at this critical time, that the small things that each of us can do to help reduce those clearance times, means that our citizens will see a reduction in costs associated with what would potentially be passed onto them,” he noted.
He stated that it was of the utmost importance to have accurate data to improve waiting times for customer, and systems were in place to make it easier to submit documentation in advance of the shipment arriving in Barbados.
“All of this will mean that for the average citizen, it should be faster to get their items cleared through the customs process, but that can only be assured, if the information that is provided, if the data that is provided, are accurate, not just data to be captured, but the analysis to be done ahead of time with respect to the pre-clearance processes,” Minister Straughn pointed out.
CCLEC was established in the 1970s as an informal association of customs administrations within the Caribbean region. The principal objectives of the council in those early years were the exchange of information on smuggling and helping the smaller regional administrations adjust to the new threat of organised drug trafficking throughout the region.