(Photo Credit: Sherine Williams/BVI Platinum News)
Financial Secretary Glenroy Forbes said that he was not aware that the Customs Department was having difficulties executing its duties at the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park and assured legislators that he would fix the problem.
The Financial Secretary was responding to complaints that were made by Acting Commissioner, HM Customs (AgCOC), Leslie Lettsome to the House of Assembly.
The Acting Commissioner told Legislators that his department is currently unable to fully execute its duties at the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park because there continues to be no facility for officers to operate from.
Lettsome described the task of monitoring imports at the Pier Park as a continuous challenge, and noted that this should not be since the area is a HM Customs regulated area. Unfortunately, he said that officers have nowhere at the facility to work, but are still trying to work.
It was noted that the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park was designated as a duty-free area. However, the AgCOC stated that his department, despite the lack of physical provision, is still required to make examination.
Lettsome explained that officers must carry out their duties at the Cyril B. Romney Pier Park because the goods imported at that facility are under a Customs bond. He explained that this means that unless the goods are inspected by the department and certified, they are not considered duty-free.
In trying to execute its duties, the Acting Commissioner of Customs mentioned that they have been able to visit the Cyril B. Romney Pier Park from time to time. He noted that in certain cases, Customs Department has been able to partially shut down operations in the execution of its duties and authority. However, he reiterated that the lack of a dedicated space for Customs makes it difficult.
The Financial Secretary informed that he had not heard of the situation until the complaint was made, but promised that he would do his best to ensure that the matter is finally rectified.