Is the Customs Officer Always Right?
The following article is written by Customs Officer, Arleigh Durant, for CESS NEWS (Customs and Excise Shop Stewards News). The shop stewards at Customs use CESS as an avenue to disseminate news among the staff.
A member of the business community was having a candid conversation with a Customs officer. The businessman told the officer “time is money I have instructed my broker to do whatever customs require. If the customs officers wants to up my values or change the tariff number so that I have to pay more duty, I am not wasting my time quarrelling with them. I will pay whatever they want me to pay. That additional cost is passed on to the consumer. My bottom line will not be affected. That man in Enforcement or the one in Outdoor they can do as they like “. We are all consumers; the price of items can erode our purchasing power. There is no special price for Customs workers.
The way Customs does business is critical to the survival of some small businesses. The big businesses may be able to pass on the cost. With the small business increased cost could cause the business to close down. In these hard economic times one must take into consideration the commercial realities and our societal duty to assist the national efforts to keep people employed. With people out of work, there is a greater threat to the society. Crime and violence will increase. Our tourism industry can be crushed by the ravages of crime and violence.
Drugs, guns, ammunition the customs can still use the big stick to crush anyone involved in illegal activities with respect to these items. However for commercial imports there must be a mix of enforcement and facilitation. One should seek to get the importer to become compliant not to close down his business BY REFUSING TO DELIVER HIS GOODS. A customer friendly Customs is not a weak one. One can be polite and still get the job done. The tourism authority had the slogan tourism is our business lets pay our parts.
We must learn to work smarter; we must learn to worker quicker, we must develop systems of transparency.
We must by our genuine interest in our customers and our professional approach win back the respect of the business community.
The Customs operate in a symbiotic relationship with the business community. If there is less trade there will be less need for our services.
Let us work in partnership with the business community as we try to carry out our mission statement. To expedite and facilitate legitimate trade and travel, while collecting and protecting government revenue, safeguarding the health, security and economic viability of our nation and continually providing high quality service to all persons.