Call for changes at Bridgetown Port
President of the Barbados Custom Brokers and Clerks Association (BCBCA), Sandra Olton wants a resolution to the numerous delays at the Bridgetown Port.
During her report at the BCBCA’s annual general meeting today, Olton disclosed that the association has had many burdens to bear recently.
“The impasse between the Customs & Excise Department and Barbados Revenue Authority has virtually crippled the IT department and therefore any issue involving this department now takes weeks to be completed instead of a few minutes or even a day,” revealed the president.
She also referred to the long delays in processing documents and clearing cargo, as well as the increase in port charges and the introduction of the demurrage charge hindering business.
Delivering the featured address, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite contended that a solution must be created to solve the issues between Customs officials and Government.
“The present official or unofficial impasse between Customs and government, with respect to whether or not they should move to the BRA seems to causing issues not only to your association, but to the ordinary man and women in the street and certainly to the business houses who depend on having their goods moved out of the port or into the port as quickly as possible, “ Brathwaite noted.
He argued that the situation must be quickly “sorted out” as it was hurting businesses across Barbados.
“We . . . need to see what we can do differently so that people would not be held captive…waiting in the Port for a day to bring a barrel.”
The Attorney General went on to add that there were “serious bottle necks” at the airport that needed to be solved as well.
“We’re having some serious bottlenecks not only at the sea port, but at the airport on afternoons and it does not send a good signal to us locally and to our visitors when they come in and have to wait for an undue length of time in customs and immigration,” said Brathwaite.
“On one hand, while I can appreciate that we need to move people as quickly as possible, we cannot compromise our security and the officers must do what they are supposed to; in particular when customs is such an important revenue generator in this country,” he added. (KK)