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Government upgrading Customs Department


Gercine Carter

Government upgrading Customs Department
MINISTER in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn (GP)

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Government is upgrading the operation of the Customs Department to enhance business facilitation and ensure secure operations, through the Customs Bill 2021.

The bill, which is being debated in the House of Assembly today, was introduced by Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn.

He said concerns about security at the Grantley Adams International Airport and the Bridgetown Port had been addressed with the installation of better security and information systems.

“A lot of the concerns that were raised as it relates to security have been addressed, Sir, both at the Bridgetown Port and at the Airport, Sir, to the extent that the Department now is in a position, Sir, to mine some of the data with respect to what has been collected, Sir,” Straughn said.

“The intelligence gathering capability of the Department certainly has been enhanced. I won’t say too much on that Sir, but I am signalling formally to the country that a lot has changed for the positive as it relates to security at those specific institutions as ports of entry, and I believe that Barbadians can feel a little more comfortable that this Government, Sir, responded very, very, very quickly to be able to put the various pieces of infrastructure in place to allow the Customs Department, as well as the other law enforcement agencies, Sir, to address that very critical matter of the public safety sir, with respect to illegal guns.”

That notwithstanding, he said people still needed to remain vigilant and commended the officers who underwent training.

Straughn also said the Customs Department was on course to complete its reform agenda.

Straughn said the ASYCUDA system which Government had put in place was working effectively, as vital information was now flowing into it, enabling important decisions to be made with regard to Customs and business facilitation. (GC)