Customs colour system nets results

| 14/06/2010

(CNS): After more than a year in operation at the airport the colour-coded clearance system has improved collections and the netting of smuggled goods the customs department has revealed. The channelling of arriving passengers through green, yellow and red areas, already common in many airports around the world was only introduced here last April. Assistant Collector of Customs Kevin Walton who introduced the system to Cayman said the airport had increased revenue by 6.7% April to December 09 as well as contraband. Although lower air arrivals in 2010 saw collections decrease the system itself has improved operations and the visitor experience.

Walton, the Customs manager of the airport and general aviation terminals explained that arriving passengers are now streamed through three channels – green for those with nothing to declare; yellow and red for persons who have goods to declare or should have but did not which he says improves passenger flow.
In the past customs officers had used a full confrontational approach and questioned every passenger coming through.
 “We found the outdated system had outgrown its usefulness. So we adopted the more modern primary/secondary clearance system,” Walton said, adding that the new system has generally speeded up customs clearance for incoming passengers.
“Whereas we had to rush before, it allows us to use our time more efficiently, and we’re better able to concentrate on those we are interested in verifying.”
Additionally, it does not hinder how officers clear passengers arriving on flights considered at higher risk for not declaring dutiable goods or smuggling of contraband, he observed, as the system has enabled the installation of extra tools to help officers screen bags, including an x-ray machine in the arrival hall.
“So far, we have received more positive feedback than negative from users, especially from tourists who state they have found the system to be very user friendly,” Walton said. “We strive to minimise negative experiences for honest passengers and I apologise if some have experienced any. But we are taking a proactive approach and we will continue to.”
Walton leads a team of 42 consisting of 24 customs officers, six senior customs officers, four cashiers and eight porters. The system, he said, has also improved job satisfaction for his staff, especially front-line officers who are no longer in a rush when clearing arriving passengers.
Customs Collector Carlon Powery said he was pleased with how the system had improved efficiency.
 “This system has already proved to be an asset by enhancing our capabilities and improving operational efficiency at the airport. Our hard working officers are able to offer better service to visitors and residents alike while also being more capable of dealing with those who break the law,” he added.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    Glad the system is working out well. Now continued efforts must be made to train all our customs officers, and I mean every single one of them, to be polite and welcoming to visitors. Remember, first impressions count, and if putting a smile on your face and being cordial is simply not in your nature (even when you’re having a rotten day) then forget it – ask for a job in a back office or something. You are no good to us, I don’t carehow much stuff you discover. Being polite, respectful and cordial are not characteristics at odds with doing an excellent job, in fact quite the contrary. and if you think they are, well then get another line of work, please. And if the customs officer who reportedly shouted at that extended visiting family a while back (letter to the Compass as I recall) I certainly hope you’ve either matured up or left the service, for all our sakes!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Cayman Customs "steals" from those who are entering the country.  They’re excuse is that "the product is not allowed" or that "they don’t know if it is allowed", and then you will never see it again. This is the only reason for an "increase of contraband" on hand and found. 

    Cayman Customs agents do NOT know what they are doing… they have NO knowledge of what is legal or illegal.  On three occasions, I’ve had to find the Law myself, and then take it to the airport to show the customs officers that it is Legal.  This only means that Cayman Customs agents are just a lazy and uneducated as the rest of the Cayman Government.