Customs arrest traveller over rude language

| 02/09/2016 | 41 Comments

(CNS): A passenger who used “indecent words” on his customs declaration form was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct on Monday, customs officials have said. It was not clear if the man was a visitor or a resident, but he had arrived from Miami on an American Airlines flight when he got on the wrong side of a customs officer and apparently cursed him out on his customs paperwork. Officials did not state whether or not the man was drunk but his behaviour certainly annoyed the border officers when he was less than cooperative over his declaration.

Acting Deputy Collector Jeff Jackson stated in an official release Friday that after clearing through immigration and arriving within the customs controlled area, the passenger failed to declare a particular item on his declaration card. He was given back the card so he could declare the item but he opted to write what Jackson said were “indecent words” on it instead and returned it to the customs officer.

While readers may be able to deduce what the passenger probably wrote, the customs officer, who was clearly not amused, cautioned and subsequently charged the passenger with disorderly conduct.

“Customs officers understand the challenges of border protection and we will continue our important role in defeating crime and protecting our borders,” Jackson stated.

Acting Collector of Customs Marlon Bodden warned passengers that his officers would take the necessary action with people who are disruptive when they arrive at the country’s ports of entry.

“We want to make it abundantly clear that the customs department will not tolerate any passengers conducting themselves in any rude or unacceptable manner through their words or conduct and we will take action towards this type of behaviour,” he said. “Passengers should always be mindful of the consequences of going to court, which could attract cost, expenses, missed days from work and may sabotage future background checks.”

Anyone with information relating to customs crime can contact customs tip-line on 1-800- 534-8477 or CrimeStoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS).

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Category: Crime, Customs

Comments (41)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely no excuse or reason for this. Would love to see him try that stunt in Miami. Would still be in a dark room sitting and awaiting his punishment. Throw the book at the fool then deport him.

  2. Anonymous says:

    23 trips to your island since 2007 and I’ve always had a positive, welcoming experience from your customs department. Unfortunately, the world is full of indecent travels everyday and you can’t blame them for being disinterested…or holding their ground.
    There’s is no messing around in airports. If you are going to test that (in Cayman or not), I say lock’em up!
    Good job!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have never really found the customs people at the airport to be ‘rude’ ..miserable ? Yes ..disinterested ? Absolutely, But as the general level of customer service on the island ( especially in the civil service departments ) go they are not so bad and a massive step up from immigration or the customs main office. In fairness the private sector are not much better . If you’re robbing me of 500 bucks CUC the least you could do is make eye contact and smile

  4. Anonymous says:

    Whilst I do not agree with the visitor’s behavior, I can understand the frustration dealing with most government departments. Most, if not all, have no concept of “customer service”. Take the General Registry for example. You call, no one answers the phone. You email then at their general email, no one responds. When you are lucky to get your email forwarded to someone, then no one responds again, no matter how many times you follow up politely. That is enough to drive anyone to screaming and cussing!

    • Anonymous says:

      7:09pm Not saying that your complaint is not legit but there is no correlation to this incident. Completely different.

      An individual not declaring goods at customs and when asked to, proceed to write indecent language on the declaration form and hand it back to the officer, have to be an idiot if sober. The person have to now deal with consequences of their silly decision.

      Just because you had poor customer service at General Registry doesn’t mean you are going to, or should up and do something stupid when passing through customs or another CIG department.

      You have every right to expect and receive good customer service. You should consider taking this up with Ask Aunty so the issues you face when dealing with the department can be seen to by the Deputy Governor. It is not acceptable but it will not change if people let it slide and do not report it.

      Alternately write to Franz Manderson or the head of General Registry.

      • Anonymous says:

        I never claimed that there was a correlation between my experiences with the General Registry and the Customs Incident. Like one poster said, there is always two sides to each story. The only similarities I have seen in almost all my dealings with Government Departments is their lack of understanding of what good “customer service” is. (1) Not making eye contact or even greeting you (2) chewing gum while dealing with the public (2) stopping mid task to have a chat with their neighbour while you are waiting for them to finish their conversation, for example. Basic things. In any event, thank you for your suggestion regarding writing to Mr. Franz

        • Anonymous says:

          My bad 9:54 if that was not your intention. It is just in my opinion the second bit of your first sentence came across that way.

          I too agree and is vey much aware that there is always two sides to the story.

          Generally commenting I say; the claims made by the Customs Head are pretty damning. The passenger would have a difficult time denying it, if it actually is on their form and they wrote it while the office was watching, having asked them to declare the item and handing them back the form.

          But as we don’t know the entire story….Even if the passenger was disenfranchised in some way by the Customs Officer, to write your frustrations on the customs from is nothing short of incredibly stupid.

          The person could have simply filed a report when they got out. It would have been handled I believe, especially with Bodden & Clifford in charge. I say this because my sister had an incident and she wrote in a few years back after being humiliated when she came through and it was sorted promptly, resulting in the officer being transferred.

          Good luck with your pursuit of your experience. While some CIG departments are slack not all are and I truly believe it can be dealt with positively but please consider reporting it.

          I too will report it to someone I know who works in that department. Your comments on your experience have been said before by others about some CIG departments. But it will not change unless people like you, myself and others speak up.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Having experienced the rudeness of Cayman Customs numerous times and I always complete my declaration correctly/honestly it is surprising that situations have not occurred more often. Remember that they public servants and have a job to do but that can be done without attitude!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I have to disagree. I have always been treated politely and well and do so back in kind. I think that is half the issue. My only frustration comes if the plane I am on lands just after the Cayman Airways Jamaican flight, then I know I am going to stand in line for the longest time, because they check every passenger from Jamaica, and to my continued disbelief nearly everyone on that flight has not declared something or is bringing in foodstuffs or similar. If you know you are going to be checked, why would you even try?

      • Anonymous says:

        You must have arrived on a good day or chose the correct line! I actually watch to see which line to go to no matter how long it is because 2 particular officers are a nightmare and I will avoid them at any cost. I have nothing to hide but the surly almost accusative attitude is a shameful welcome to Cayman for tourists. I find Immigration a delight compared to this!

    • SoonComeBoBo says:

      Just having a job with government gives these people the right to think they can have an attitude with who ever they want to have an attitude with! Experience had!

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree with you in principal , but I think Customs at the airport has come a long way from what it used to be, going back even just 4 or 5 years. You can treat people with sugar or vinegar , 2 separate outcomes. There is no reason to be abusive or disrespectful to a government employee just doing their job. They do have directives to follow after all.

  6. anonymous says:

    There are two sides to every story. Always.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why is this headline news????? Customs your really grasping at anything to make the news but I guess the new acting Asst collector is trying to start somewhere. What we really want you to do is protect our boarders by keeping out the guns & drugs and you could also make your airport point of entry a little more user friendly. most of the time there a rev only 2 or 3 officers working so it takes forever! And if you have you have to pay duty you have to get in another line that takes even longer. Put more officers on duty/patrol!

    • Anonymous says:

      This is so true why in the world is this news? Was a press release actually prepared for this?!!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t knock it. If not this, it would be “Green Iguana flattened on Esterly Tibbets Highway”. This is Cayman.

  8. Annie says:

    My Mama told me you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Certainly this is the truth going through customs anywhere on the globe.

  9. Anonymous says:

    You know it’s a sad state of affairs in the Cayman Islands when HM Customs is making headlines of a traveler being arrested for a simple case of “Disorderly Conduct” – while others travelers are passing through our airports and illegally entering our borders, bringing tons of drugs and a cache of illegal firearms, which goes undetected on a weekly basis.

    This guy will be fined about $100 CI or 3 months in prison for his stupidity and the guy behind him that probably went through undetected with a Kilo of Coke, made $30,000 CI profit. Not to mention, the repercussions of 2.2 pounds of coke on our streets.

    Come on guys, this does not make HM Customs look impressive at all in terms of being the primary law enforcement arm responsible for detecting illegal contraband into our country.

    Even FADS at the airport seems to make better headlines these days, as they seem to detect firearms and ammunition exiting our airport, but HM Customs can’t seem to detect it when it’s arriving or entering.

    Let me make one suggestion to HM Customs management. Take those “always grumpy looking” female customs officers (not being sexist at all) out of your inspection hall, and replace them with officers (male or female) who knows something about profiling passengers will illegal contraband.

    You will see your detection rate go up significantly and then you wouldn’t have to report the so called jaw dropping headlines of stupidity in the customs inspection hall.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nice story but the TV lawyer in me is shouting: Objection! Conjecture!

    • Hey It's me it's really me! says:

      I don’t know where you or anybody else writing on this comes from but I’m from right here, a frequent traveler and a keen observer of our customer service process at our ports of entry. I dare any of you to provide specific incident of rude or abusive behavior to Visitirs or residents by our zcudtomsbofficisls. They are polite, and professional and I would not want them in any other way. They also have a track record of discovering illicit drugs being brought in and outgoing as well. So all you loud mouth hating individuals can just clamp your tongue and your lips unless you can bring evidence don’t hate.

      Great job keep it up Her Masjesty Customs Officers

      • Anonymous says:

        Absolutely. I have lived on island for 7 years and am a frequent flyer. Never have I encountered rudeness by the customs officers but then I don’t have an attitude with them. They have a job to do and do it well.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes let’s get some reall news like detections of illegal items or drug busts or illegal firearms. What is going on with Customs Chuckiie been there a year and nothing really going on…..

  10. Rod Barnett says:

    This incident is all about respect for authority.

    I applaud the Cayman Islands Customs officer for setting the tone for people entering this island.

    Everyone, and I mean everyone should respect those delegated to keep law and order on island.

    • ROTFL says:

      I have no problem with Authoritative figures; however, those in Authoritative positions need to respect themselves and lead by example first and foremost.

      90% of the time these people set no example to follow and believe they are above the law; at least in Cayman.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Wondering if it was an American style bad word or a Caribbean one

  12. Anonymous says:

    Bravo, well done!, make it law and order again….

  13. Anonymous says:

    In addition, why has the traveller not been charged with filing a false declaration?

  14. Anonymous says:

    ever been through Bermuda customs?? makes this place look like a silk brush! this guy must have been a real arse to get a slap like this…

  15. East End Resident says:

    I thought the job of our customs officers was to collect taxes due on imports, not to protect our borders. Nonetheless, as much as you don’t like it, we all know the rules on the taxation of imports and anyone trying to smuggle in goods to avoid taxes, and then act this way with officers deserves to be subject to these actions. I’ve always found them to be polite and professional, but then I abide by the laws and regulations.

  16. SSM345 says:

    No Freedom of Speech in the Cayman Islands, always been that way.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Well done customs! Now can the agencies of the Cayman Islands government remind everyone who is actually in charge (Police and Immigration – that means you too!).

  18. Anonymous says:

    Protecting oir borders and defeating crime. That’s all bs.
    But if you are an asshole , yes, you should be arrested. Good job, just don’t bs about border protection.

    • Anonymous says:

      I saw they had a recruitment drive recently. If you can do better I hope you applied for a job with them. Go show them how it’s done.

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      Acting Deputy Collector Jeff Jackson
      Acting Collector of Customs Marlon Bodden

      Notice the word Collector. Nothing about borders or protection.
      Customs main job is collecting revenue for government, anything else is secondary.

      There is still no excuse to rude to a Customs Officer. You wait till your outside the airport or customs office for that.

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