BE INFORMED: Customs Department

The Cayman Islands Customs Department gave a very informative presentation at the Chamber’s fourth BE INFORMED series presentation on 27 October. Representing the Customs Department were Mr. Langlie Powery, training manager; Mr. Collie Powery, DC operations; Mr. Carlon Powery, the collector; Mrs. Mitzi Jervis, accounts manager and Mr. Ronnie Miller, systems administrator.

Mr. Langlie Powery gave an in-depth presentation on the overall responsibilities of the Customs Department outlining some key points:

  • The Customs Department is established under the authority of the Customs Law.
  • The collector of Customs is appointed to manage, supervise and control the department.
  • The Customs Department is the main agency on the frontline of border security.
  • The importing and exporting of items is controlled through the administration of the Customs Law and other related laws.

Two of the Customs Department’s given aims are to:

  1. Offer government and businesses the most efficient and effective service and
  2. Provide Government and the business community with accurate trade figures.

Mr. Powery made some significant announcements saying that one of their key objectives for the New Year is to implement a Total Revenue Integrated Processing System. The purpose of which is to:

  • Integrate all Customs revenue processes
  • Provide accurate accounting
  • Enhance the gathering and sharing of information throughout the department
  • Enhance enforcement capabilities

This also means that customers can streamline their own operating efficiency by submitting their documentation online. How much access you will have to the TRIPS system will be based on your compliant status.

Another important announcement (pending Cabinet’s approval due to a required change in the Customs Law) is the introduction of a Harmonized and Commodity Description and Coding System. This was established by the World Customs Organisation and provides specific classification of goods as well as the standardising of tariff codes.

This means that our Customs Department would join a ‘world coding system’ to allow us to see more accurately how we fare in the importing and exporting of certain items. It will help us better clarify the different classification of goods so we can better track our importation and exportation statistics, which can be shared with local businesses.

To better serve our business community, Customs also plans to introduce a Post Auditing System that will allow for traders to have a verified compliance status. This means audit testing can be conducted at your business premises instead of at the offices of the Customs Department.

Mr. Powery also described border security measures outlining a number of important measures that include:

  • Joint marine unit shared by Customs, Immigration and the RCIP
  • Joint intelligence shared by Customs, Immigration and the RCIP
  • Established working relationships with other law enforcement agencies locally, regionally and worldwide
  • K-9 units for detecting drugs
  • K-9 units for detecting firearms and explosives
  • Trace detector machines (drugs and explosives)
  • Mobile X-Ray scanning machine for 2011

Chamber President Stuart Bostock commented in the bid to reduce costs and streamline government department efficiencies that the combining of Customs, Immigration and Police resources, perhaps into one border control agency, is a future strategy worth considering and already implemented in the US and UK.