Customs scanner gets new $1.3M building

| 05/05/2016 | 46 Comments
Cayman News Service

Dignitaries break ground on the new building to house the customs scanner

(CNS): Government broke ground Thursday on a new $1.3 million building at the customs cargo distribution centre that will house its much-lauded mobile container scanner. The giant x-ray machine was purchased in 2010 and Collector of Customs Charles Clifford said it was a crucial tool used to keep drugs and guns out of Cayman, better enforce collections and prevent stolen goods being shipped out. But he said the scanner needed to be properly housed and protected, and his department had been waiting several years to move ahead with the new building.

Speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony attended by a near full complement of government dignitaries, Clifford said the new hurricane-rated building had been part of the plan when the department bought the $2.1M scanner. But obstacles such as budget cuts and administrative hurdles over the land delayed the project. The land where the new building will go belonged to the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands and it appeared to take some time for that issue to be resolved and the land transferred to customs only after the intervention of the finance and tourism ministers.

The development contract for the more than $1 million project was awarded to Dean Scott of Island Builders. When it’s finished, the scanner, which is currently exposed to the elements, will have a permanent home along with offices for the staff in the unit who handle the scanning and who have been using a temporary trailer for the last five years and scanning containers in the heat of the day outside.

Clifford said the x-ray machine is used to scan shipping containers and has been very successful in finding contraband and deterring criminals. He said it has proved itself by helping detect stolen goods that criminals were attempting to export and has also assisted the police in forensic examination of cars and small boats used in crimes.

“We understand that the more effective the customs department is in securing our borders, the less pressure there is on the RCIPS, the prison service and other law enforcement agencies,” he said.

But he warned that despite the successes to date, in the current unstable world law enforcement agencies could expect “to be challenged like we have never been challenged before”.

“We must therefore be equipped and trained to ensure that our country remains one of safest in the world,” he said, adding that this project would help achieve the goal.

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Comments (46)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    How about fixing the machine first before building the house for it. It’s been out of commission for months! I bring in containers monthly and cannot believe they are building the housing for this without fixing the machine. We can only imagine what’s getting in by the container load right now with guns drugs etc priorities PPM!

  2. Anonymous says:

    What about the lesser Caymans. we need one too.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Spend, Spend, Spend, Spend, Spend, Spend, you see di PPM haffi Spend, Spend, Spend, Spend, Spend, Spend. (to the music of Rihanna)

    • Anonymous says:

      House the scanner. Leave the mental health patients walking the streets. Leave the abused and neglected children to grow up to be criminals, then build more prisons, another court house, hire more police.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Didn’t need a 5k walk to raise money for that . Ambulance fail

  5. Tim says:

    I am worried about you negative posters. What a sad world you like in. You Can’t See The Good In Anything. Including when you look in the mirror. Poor you.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Can it detect Green Iguanas?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I won a small govt contract a few years ago and nobody knew what to do with me. After making very clear pathways for me to grease some govt workers managing the job, and me playing dumb and all innocent they finally gave up trying. I never put in a bid again. ALL you contractors know what I’m talking about. Sleep wit da pigs bros!

    • Did says:

      Then name and shame, it will only stop if you stop it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well, if I did, they would know who was blowing the whistle and I could be possibly voted off he island. Plus, I seriously doubt there is the will here to do anything about it. Ya see, what David Legge said and the big guys took so hard is true. There is a culture of corruption here. But culture is the key word.

  8. Sharkey says:

    Why don’t government just clear a large area at custom where people would have to load their trailer at customs and pay a officer to witness the loading of the trailer , that would be better money spent .

  9. Anonymous says:

    so then why hasn’t it kept guns and drugs out of cayman for the past six years?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ok let me get this straight. No one built a shed for the scanner worth a couple of million because one government agency wouldn’t work it our with another. Also why do you have to build another hurricane rated building. Could we just not multi purpose another already built facility…Perhaps the MRU Hanger for instance. No-one seems to want to think outside the box when its easier just to hand the money over to a voter.

    • Anonymous says:

      Correct. Only in civil service lalaland could this story be considered good news.

      How can a multimillion dollar asset be left for six years without an adequate facility for its safekeeping and operation?

      How can a transfer of land from a govt authority to a department take six years and require the intervention of two cabinet ministers?

      And then there are the political aspects of the awarding of juicy building contracts.

      All in all quite disgraceful, but unfortunately the norm.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not really even thinking outside the box. It just thinking.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Why does every government building in Cayman have a price tag of 1 million plus? Crazy! My almost 3,000 square foot house which is hurricane safe and has hurricane shutters cost me less than half of this (including furniture etc). WTH?

  12. Anonymous says:

    we went through the same process in Bermuda. basically the “BIG” questions was – Who operates the machine? a human? so there is still an issue that illegal items, drugs and firearms can make it to the island by getting let through…biggest waste of time and money!!! money would be better spent on picking “questionable” shipping trends…

    • Anonymous says:

      Or dropping it into slots in Vegas (baby!) and buying nice new overcoats. Beautiful queen worthy overcoats! Yummy!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Reading between the lines you could sum this story up as – Customs scanner building finally under way after years of childish squabbling between government departments.

    Sounds like this developed into a p***ing contest between the key public servants involved and the ministers had to step in and slap a few heads to get it back on track.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or the Civil Servants have ben saying for years – we don’t care whose land its on can we just please build it already? But the politicians and their appointed functionaries found protocol and who was in charge very important to work out? – Note, I don’t know what happened but to me that’s as possible as any other scenario and more likely than some.

  14. Allar says:

    It seems like Dean Scott is the only name in government bids today. Oh forgot this is a ppm GOVT and mostly it is the Scottsdale a a select few that lands the GOVT contracts

    • Anonymous says:

      If you were a builder, you would know that if you can keep the administrative costs down then you can bid lower than the competition.

    • Anonymous says:

      And i hope Dean Scott builds it for the cost the Central Tender Committee accepted.
      Any variance in him inflating the cost after getting his foot in the door, will be unjust to the other builders who tendered on this same project.
      On all government tender documents.
      To pre- qualify to tender a company must submit proof of;

      a) A current copy of valid business ( Contractor ) license
      b) A current Public Liability Certification (min CI$1M coverage)
      c) Financial and resource capabilities to manage a project of this size and scope
      D) Statement of outstanding Claims

      Question is, could he qualify for no. C and D

  15. Anonymous says:

    Crime will always be one step ahead.

  16. James says:

    Wow what an opportunity to build an office for Customs to deal with importers instead of cramping everyone into the Head Office to clear goods. 1.3 million to store a scanner and scanner staff that can’t accommodate more staff to clear goods.

  17. Perry says:

    Wow those incompetent civil servants have got in right again.

    Thank you customs officers for you excellent work. Thank you PPM for investing In our security.

    • Anonymous says:

      Looks like the shipment of koolaid got through again! Stay thirsty my friend.

    • Burning Spear says:

      Wo boy wo too much Cool Aid Perri meanwhile at ORIA tings flowing freely no worries, if some now in the Hierarchy at HM Customs & HR have their way This too will change and the current state of play will end up just like the rCIPS.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Dean Scott of Island Builders wasn’t he accused of over 100 WP violations and pension violations last year. Was this just swept under the carpet or am I the only one to remember

  19. Anonymous says:

    So its been sitting outside for five years because no one was able to get a shed built? Any news on the present condition of the scanner?

    • Double Wision says:

      Not quite. It’s been in a mobile trailer. Would be interesting to know the rental costs of that for the past six years.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes that’s true wth is happening with the multi million dollar machine? I understand it’s not working and has not been since last year. Is this true? Foi Mickey Mouse

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