Premier: All imports could pose threat

| 22/11/2018 | 26 Comments
Cayman Islands, Cayman News Service

George Town cargo port, Grand Cayman

(CNS): There is a potential threat to national security or of duty evasion by almost everything that is imported into the Cayman Islands, the premier said Wednesday, explaining why the revenue collection function of the Customs Department as well as its enforcement arm is being transferred to the new Customs and Border Control Agency. Presenting the bill which paves the way for the new security unit to the Legislative Assembly, Alden McLaughlin said that almost all imports come in a package, parcel or container and separating the duty collection could undermine efforts to detect the high risk imports. 

The premier said that the decision was also based on advice from the UK, where earlier attempts to separate revenue collection from border security had failed and so had been merged again. He said that HM Customs had always been a law enforcement agency and had already executed dual roles over the years.

“Each import presents the opportunity for some form of threat to national security, evasion or the attempted evasion of import duty,” the premier said, and explained how customs uses a number of strategies to identify high risk imports, including the examination of documents. “The functions are so closely related it would create a gap if separated,” he added, pointing to the potential for risky imports to be released when duty is paid before a security check.

McLaughlin said he was confident that the risk-management strategies now being employed would not be undermined by the transition and that the new agency would provide a more solid foundation for intelligence gathering, as merging all border control units, including those that gather information, would create the platform for improved control and revenue collection.

With the merger of customs and immigration enforcement, the new agency will move from the finance ministry to the premier’s growing portfolio.

The new agency is effectively transitioning from a traditional gatekeeper approach to an intelligence-led risk-management strategic approach, the premier said, but noted that it would be some time before it fully takes shape and achieves greater operational efficiency. He said the agency needed sophisticated technology, and there would be significant training and cross-training of staff, which would, in the end, create an agency that efficiently facilitates legitimate trade while confronting national security threats, like guns and drugs.

The premier said there was “a lot of work to do”, even after the passage of the law and the agency coming into effect on 1 January. He said there would inevitably be mistakes and overlooked issues in the first draft of the law, which he predicted would need to be amended once the agency was active. He stressed the importance of implementing the right technology, which, given the rapid pace of development in that arena, could easily become obsolete very quickly if time was not taken to ensure it was adaptable and fit for purpose.

The premier said that the scale, scope and complexity of national security is transforming and the creation of the new unit would provide Cayman with a modern border control agency. He said there was considerable interest in the region over what Cayman was doing, so the implementation would be watched closely. 

The premier rejected the idea of putting a mandatory provision in the law requiring the director’s post to be reserved for Caymanians only. He said succession planning would ensure that when the current holder leaves the post, there will be a qualified Caymanian ready to take his place. The idea of amending the legislation to enforce that was raised by independent MLA Kenneth Bryan (GTC) during the debate on the legislation, but McLaughlin said he did not want anyone to say those leading the agency were only there because they were local.

“We are confident that the cadre of officers are already good enough to ensure, with succession planning and training, there will be a wide pool of Caymanians to choose from when, a long time from now, the current director moves on,” he said.

Charles Clifford, the current collector of customs, has been appointed as director of the new Customs and Border Control Agency and is expected to stay in the post for several more years to come. However, with the merger of his own department and immigration enforcement, he will inherit a team that is almost exclusively Caymanian, including all of the deputies heading up the various internal departments of the new agency.

Like the passage of the law to create WORC on Monday, this legislation passed through the LA unopposed Wednesday evening, followed by the Advance Passenger Information (Amendment) Bill later in the night. This was a final technical change to facilitate the new regime, which will separate border control from the management of Cayman’s massive dependence on imported workers.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , ,

Category: Border Control, Crime, Customs, Laws, Politics

Comments (26)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Do MLAs get any preference in clearing shipments? I do not know if they do…but… If so, that is disgusting. No member of Government should get to jump the queue. They should have to face the same asinine scheme they foist on the public. CNS can you advise?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sad that we choose to see everything as a threat. We can put in hundreds of layers of useless bureaucracy to make us ‘safe’ whilst styming growth and amputating businesses. Caymanians will suffer as more rational jurisdictions soak up the business we abandon. Can we please get some sane, logical people in office!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Eight days to clear a shipment, 8, eight, 8! Really. Wtf, nice going CIG! Should we shoot for nine days? Global business is I lie, let’s make it ten days, what the hell, you get payed either way. Screw the country, I her Jeff Webb’s house in Atlanta is on the market. You can buy it with your undeserved cheque, and get Amazon next day, while it takes businesses here weeks, literally weeks to clear a totally clean shipment. But hey what do I know. I only make money if I EARN it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is hard to believe anything could be worse than our current custom’s scheme. Customs is the most poorly run arm of our government. Shockingly anti-business, shockingly uniformed, shockingly biased, shockingly secretive, shockingly evasive, shockingly SLOW, shockingly uneducated as to their own regulations, and a blight on this country.
    Y just shockingly lacking any common sense. I have little hope for substantive reform.

    • Say it like it is says:

      10.08pm you are a master of understatement. Reform?, only way is to employ Philippinos.

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh please no. They are not some godsend set of workers. They just follow instructions well if in small numbers. There is a reason their own country is in shambles. Don’t make Cayman like their country.

        Truly it is not just the Philippines. It is all the imported labor from any country. We are no longer being strict with who we choose from there whether it is the Philippines, India, Jamaica or North/South America, UK, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealnd etc. Every single person we import as expat labor are fine in small numbers. However, now these people are in Cayman in droves and are no longer respectful or caring because there is power in numbers. Caymaniand also don’t care if they are competent anymore, they just care that these people originate from X country. Background checks on whether anything on the resume is legitimate. Who cares? They talk a good talk and say they can do the job. Besides the Caymanian or their own people who helped them get the job will train them.

        Get proper training for the staff. Invest in the people you have.

      • Anonymous says:

        I only employ Caymanians, and all of my staff are bright and hardworking individuals. Our enemy is our own Government, they are the ones that make it impossible to conduct an honest business. They should be ashamed of their actions, or lack there of.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is called a politician’s red herring to draw attention away from the referendum.

  6. Anonymous says:

    well as the biggest threat to future of Caymanians…Aldart should know.

  7. SSM345 says:

    Look at that, Capt F**king Obvious strikes again with another soundbite that costs us 20k+ per/month. Anyone for some more Koolaid?

  8. Anonymous says:

    big government with indurect taxes driving up cost of living????

  9. Anonymous says:

    Evasion of import duty I understand.
    But threat to national security is stupid.
    As long as the wealthiest people, terrorists and companies hide their fortunes here, there will never be a threat to national security.

    But it works, people are dumb and the national security trick will also work here.

    They are even scared for gay people.

    What a bunch……

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes my three 50” tv’s are a threat. Unless I know someone at airport customs. In which case they are under the duty limit.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The totalitarian tiptoe continues.
    Alden McLaughlin will not stop until he has delivered this country on a silver platter to his globalist scumbag masters.
    This is a complete disgrace. He should be impeached (if such a thing exists in the Cayman Islands).

  11. Say it like it is says:

    It is to be hoped that Mr Clifford avoids the fate of the Caymanian head of Immigration and the Caymanian head of the Port Authority and the Caymanian head of CINICO.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully not the same intelligence unit that authorized a stunt motorcycle caravan around Grand Cayman during our busiest US Thanksgiving tourism weekend in years.

  13. Anonymous says:

    more red tap and bigger civil service…thanks ppm!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.