The Chamber of Commerce has spoken out against a customs policy that requires passengers to register their electronic goods prior to travel, saying it “frustrates travelers and adds another layer of bureaucracy.”
The Cayman Compass reported on the 30-year-old policy last month that requires passengers carrying iPads, laptops and any other electronic devices to register them with customs prior to leaving the island or risk paying duty on such electronics when they re-enter.
Collector of Customs Samantha Bennett said at the time that the process, which involves filling out a form and submitting it to customs before traveling off island, is one of verification and not for tracking or recording purposes. But Chamber President Johann Moxam said the process is unnecessary in the “information age.”
“Registering electronic devices is a waste of time and money and falls into the category of absurdity. We should be trying to simplify the travel experience rather than complicating it with policies that should have been abolished years ago,” Mr. Moxam said in a statement released by the Chamber on Tuesday.
“The Chamber supports lower duty rates for retailers which would encourage more residents to purchase these items locally rather than abroad. Policy makers and customs officials are placing the emphasis in the wrong area.”
Mr. Moxam advised the Customs Department to focus on enforcement instead.
He commended recent customs and police efforts for Operation Spearfish, in which officers recently recovered and seized shipping containers in which stolen goods were hidden, saying it was an example of where “resources and energies should be expended.”
“Stolen goods and contraband distort the local marketplace and harm both businesses and the consumers who purchase the stolen and illegal items,” Mr. Moxam said.
“The Chamber encourages customs to focus more energy in this area so that persons who are involved in this illegal activity are brought to justice, not on wedding dresses and registering electronic goods.”
Ms. Bennett said customs did not have any comment to make on the Chamber’s statement as of press time.