Audit was at ‘challenging time’ says Customs

| 07/06/2019 | 29 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands customs officer examines bags

(CNS): The Customs and Border Control Agency has responded to an audit report of its predecessor, the Customs Department, which was made public Thursday. The CBC noted that it was undertaken at a “particularly challenging time”, when the staff were in the middle of a number of new initiatives, including the roll-out of a new IT platform and the “intense preparations for the merger” that had created the new agency. In a statement about Auditor General Sue Winspear’s critical report, the CBC said it had also been impacted by the historic vacancy at the top of the old Customs Department before Charles Clifford was appointed to the post.

“In the three and a half years preceding August 2015 when the new collector of customs took up his appointment, the Customs Department had operated without a permanent collector,” officials said in a statement following the release of the audit details, which noted a number of shortcomings.

“During those three and a half years preceding 2015, the department had been led by four different acting collectors. It was therefore understandable that when the new collector of customs took up his post in August 2015, he found a department that had been subjected to a number of conflicting and incompatible policies. Consequently, it was not surprising that there were many priorities that demanded his immediate action,” the officials added.

Pledging a commitment to implement the recommendations in the report “that are feasible and funded”, the department said that when Clifford was first appointed, he had prioritised increasing revenue, improving relationships with other law enforcement agencies and succession planning.

Admitting that customs had exceeded revenue targets for the past three financial years, the department did not explain how that had happened. The audit report had noted that the department had consistently made inaccurate predictions regarding how much revenue it expected to collect when it came to setting the budget.

While the audit does confirm some positive operational results, the CBC officials were keen to stress that the new senior management team had only been in place for just over a year ahead of this audit.

They said the department places a great deal of value on audit findings because they provide a platform and opportunity to improve its operations and effectiveness.

See report and full CBC response in the CNS Library

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Category: Government Administration, Government Finance, Politics

Comments (29)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Nothing new here.
    Everytime I go to customs it a challenging time.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Get an ex-pat in there to fix the mess.

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  3. Ron Ebanks says:

    I wonder if these Department do daily accounting . Or they just waits till the Auditors to tell them how much the Department is short .

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Educated expat shows the deficiencies of Cayman run customs.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Plenty of educated Caymanians. The government will however only employ people who agree with them, all the time, no matter what.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Correct. Plenty of educated and extremely capable Caymanians. Which is why they won’t throw their lot in with the present government and compromise their integrity. They know better. The gov don’t want educated people. They are a challenge.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The positive news here is that Customsv care enough to issue a press release saying they will do something. Compare that with the CIG response to the port referendum- they don’t even bother to pretend that they give a …

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  6. Anonymous says:

    No excuses! Everyone who has ever experienced dealing with the Customs Department any for any matte will know of the inefficiency, poor customer service, unnecessary convoluted processes et al. This is not a myth. So even though the name is new, essentially the same people and culture exists.

    Therefore, new leadership, instead of making excuses just get on with it and do the recommended improvements!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Lady taking a payment was very unhelpful and rude to me as I passed over a multi thousand dollar cheque. Then my paperwork wasn’t correct and I was sent back and forth a few times. Why didn’t whomever was going through my online submission check the details they need? Obviously not doing their job still. And why in earth is there not one building where all the corresponding units are housed? Running all over to clear a container! Cayman is great at social welfare by creating unneeded jobs to keep people employed. Maybe duty could go down if they streamlined the amount of employees doing nothing but pushing paper.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Classic Civil Service. Always needing to try to defend the indefensible.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Customs has improved by leaps and bounds in the last two years. How quickly we forget the long lines. I arrived in cayman last week and was in and out in 15 min including the wait for my bag. I call that world class.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds wonderful , however the rest of us have been standing in line for years at the airport , customs halls and duty submission desks dealing with ineptitude and civil service ‘ soon come ‘ with attitude in a uniform. You must be over the moon with joy.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Fine, as long as the law is also being enforced at a reasonable standard.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Happy for you. I waited almost 3 hours for an extension earlier this year. The person before me had just finished a permit and was being told as I arrived at the next counter that under WORC she could not stay beyond a month at the end of her permit. I wasn’t aware of this. Doesn’t give you long to give notice or make arrangements for property, pets, and personal effects. Seems unfair if the person needs longer to organise things to leave.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Depends on which queue you are in.

    • Say it like it is says:

      2.53pm This “world class” plaudit is incredibly applied to so many govt institutions. Please amend it to reflect reality – “third world class”.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Simple message – we have to abide by the rules but CBC and most other government departments can do what the heck they like?

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Boo hoo.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    LOL This is another prime example of how corruption works. I am not saying this is corruption. I just mean that, in this case, this isn’t something that you elect whether or not to participate in. The audit is a given, meaning it is mandatory. No excuses are acceptable.
    This response/excuse is an embarrassment.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Other departments keep saying the same thing. Any accountability?

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  13. Eyes Wide Open says:

    OK, OK. I’ll give you some breathing room. If and when the next report is done and made public and we still read about these or other shortcomings, you will have to face the criticism, no excuses or leeway should be given. We’re just too complacent, we need to be casting an ever watchful eye, all the time.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    “I wasn’t ya when it happen bobo so don’t blame me.”

    This whole topic summarized in one sentence.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    LOL, now the excuses begin!

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