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Importer hits speed bumps

Maria Bradshaw

Importer hits speed bumps

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Steve?Hamblin?thought his troubles were over last July when the Customs Department finally released the vehicle shells and engines that he had imported to assemble.
But in September when he attempted to have the vehicles registered at the Licensing Authority he hit another bump in the road.
The Licensing Authority has refused to license the cars and a fed up Hamblin believes he is deliberately being given the “runaround”.
In July, he and other importers were forced to go to court to seek a judicial review of the decision of the Comptroller of Customs to seize their imported automobile shells and engine parts even though they had paid the relevant duties.
The vehicles were subsequently released, but the hearing was set for another date.
Hamblin, who resides at Ruby, St Philip, now believes that obstacles are being placed in his way to prevent him from putting the vehicles on the road.
He explained that in September he took the vehicles to the Licensing Authority to be inspected, weighed and registered but he was informed that he had to have them assembled by a registered assembler.
“I?took the vehicles to Trans Tech, and I was shown a certificate indicating that company was a registered assembler. Trans Tech assembled the vehicles, but when I went back to Licensing Authority they told me that Trans Tech was not on their list and that I?would have to produce Trans Tech’s certificate. I?told them that was not for me to do that they should check with the Ministry of Trade because Trans Tech was on the list.”
Hamblin said the Licensing Authority also slapped him with another requirement.
“They told me that I had to go back to Customs and pay to get a stamp on my documents.”
For the past two months he has been back and forth between different departments trying to get some direction in this matter.
“I?went back to Customs and they put me onto the department in charge of excise, but when I went there I?was informed that they don’t deal with those things. Went to the tax division and they said they don’t deal with valuations.
“The person that I?spoke to told me that they had no guidelines in respect of collecting additional excise taxes and they would have to research it.
“All I?am getting is the runaround. I?feel as if I?am going around in a circle chasing a tail,” he cried.
What has Hamblin particularly distressed about the situation is that before he imported the parts he checked with the Customs Department and the Ministry of Trade for the guidelines.
“I have done nothing wrong. I?checked with the relevant authorities and I was told what I?needed to do to import these shells, and now that I?have complied with everything I can’t get the vehicles put on the road,” he stated.
While Chief Licensing Officer Virgil Knight was on holiday, an official at the Licensing Authority pointed out that Trans Tech was indeed on their list of registered assemblers.
He said the only instructions that department had received in relation to the imported shells was that they had to be assembled by a registered assembler before they could be registered. However, he indicated that he was not aware of Hamblin’s case.
Meanwhile, attorney at law Ralph Thorne, QC, who is representing Hamblin, said he was prepared to take the matter back to court.
“I will be communicating with the relevant Government departments and depending on the response I will advise my client as to whether he should seek further recourse in the court. I?will be treating this as a matter of urgency,” he stated.