Customs collector steps down after 40 years

| 23/05/2012

Collector Powery.jpg(CNS): After over 40 years in the department Carlon Powery, the customs collector, will be retiring on 31 May. According to a government release, Powery has said his decision to retire before the compulsory retirement age in the civil service was to provide an opportunity for senior staff to advance. He began working with customs over four decades ago in the early 1970s when customs collected a few million dollars in revenue each year. As he approaches retirement he is responsible for collecting over $150 million at government’s single biggest revenue earning government entity.

“We’ve taken this task very seriously. We want to ensure that whatever revenue is due to government is collected. And we have no extravagances here, being really prudent in ourexpenses over the years,” Powery stated in a government release.

Although the department has grown significantly during his tenure, the staff is 100 percent Caymanian, including 12 new officers who joined in April this year. Powery himself began as a recruit after high school, joining the team of nine staff members in February 1972.

First housed in a small office located near Hog Sty Bay, the department then moved to the old airport terminal and a small unit located in the General Post Office, before moving into the Tower Building in 1984 and finally Customs Headquarters on Airport Road in 1993.

Powery rose through the ranks from clerical assistant to customs officer, then senior customs officer, followed by assistant collector and deputy collector before taking over the helm in 1988 and becoming the longest serving collector to date for the Cayman Islands.

As well as collecting revenue, Powery has overseen the evolution of customs into a major law enforcement agency. Customs now deals with border protection and control, counter-terrorism and combating crime, as well as collecting duty on imports. The department’s marine and K-9 units are among the islands’ main law enforcement resources.

With the advent of new technology and in particular the new sophisticated, non-invasive inspection system for containers, Powery recalled the early days of his career. He said when he joined, all cargo, even an automobiles, was off-loaded manually, using a block and tackle, and containers continued to be inspected manually.

“We have come a very long way indeed,” he said. The new scanner has helped Powery to achieve the goal of 100 percent inspection of all cargo entering and exiting the Islands.

Although stepping down from his senior post, Powery said he remains willing to offer his services in whatever way government can benefit from his 40 years’ of expertise but he was looking forward to family time, especially with his grand-daughters, his church and his hobbies —  gardening and raising cattle.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations. Dynamite news.

  2. Anonymous says:

    ok. So who's acting next month??


    • Anonymous says:

      16:15  Call them up and find out!!!  The same one who acted while he was on leave – just like in any other business – don't you have a little common sense???

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree Mr. Powery is a 'nice guy' but that is exactly why the customs department is so dysfunctional. While our Head of Departments need to be compassionate they also need to be held accountable. This department is one of the most essential entities of government they are the largest revenue earners for government (collecting duty)  but they also have the duty and responsibility to protect our borders. And you only have to listen to the media to know that drugs & gun crimes are rampant in Cayman, so in my opinion Mr. Powery and his officers have not carried out their duties.

    I hope his replacement will exercise more tenacity and require his 3 deputies to get off their a** and do their job.


  4. One West Baya says:

    Congrats Mr. Powery!! You came from humble beginnings and have remained humble throughout your career!!! We love you and wish you all the best for your retirement!

    I am not discouraged by the negative comments, The Bible reminds us in Luke 6:26 "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets"

    Just know that those of us who know you personally and/or have had a working relationship with you admire you and are certain that you are a true man of God!  You have been a tremendous asset to the Government and though we cannot be certain of what is to come or who is next to follow you as the Collector, we wish you a happy and healthy retirement and willcontinue to pray for your successor that he/she will aspire to be as honest of a leader as you are!


    • Anonymous says:

      Amazing how people always find ways to bringup their god and their bible.

      It is also very irritating.

      • Anonymous says:

        And, similarly irritating, is how some people take every opportunity to loudly trumpet their lack of faith in God…

  5. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations Mr. Powery, the negative comments on CNS are really no reflection of your character or the island on a whole.   We all know that you are a man of God, an excellent role model and of the highest esteem.   Anyone who knows anything about how the Civil Service works will know that you would have given 6 months notice of your desire to retire, its not your fault that a replacement is not named.

    Enjoy your retirement Sir, and May almightly God grant you many, many, happy years to enjoy  the efforts of your labour.

  6. Mo Money says:

    In the interests of the Cayman Islands, this vacancy should be filled by an expatriate.

    • Anonymous says:

      In your interests, SOMETHING needs to fill that vacancy between your ears.

      • Mo Money says:

        I’m willing to place a significant wager that the revenues would be dramatically increased.
        Any takers?

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes they would indeed, at cost to the Cayman public, which we certainly don't need, thank you very much.

          • Mo Money says:

            And therein lies the entire point. As Caymanians, we are entitled to not have to pay what we legally owe.

            • Anonymous says:

              You really need to get off the air. If you are in fact suggesting you're a Caymanian you should be ashamed of yourself since you're really not doing either yourself or your country or anyone in it any good by suggesting that a position like this that has been filled for the past forty years by a born and totally capable Caymanian now needs to be filled by an expatriate. You are a disgrace to this country and 'your' people.

              • Anonymous says:

                Surely you understand that only one thing on earth matters to people who go as far as branding themselves with names like 'Mo Money"?

        • Anonymous says:

          No they won't because there is not a chance in hell of that happening.

    • concerned caymanian says:

      The position was quite capably handled by a Caymanian of Integrity that could not be bought or sold and would not bend, bow or burn [even at this time when he is under much pressure to stray from good Godly morals and work ethics).  Why then does the post have to filled by an Expatriate?  We have many such Caymanians e.g. his Deputies!!!!!  And no, i do not work with  Customs or favour them, it is just the mere facts.

      We will see and please qualified Caymanians, do not hesitate to apply for this post and maintain his standards!

      Well done Chuckie and I  sense your frustration that led to this early retirement!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Early retirement after 40 years in Government service?? Jesus, didn't you read the article? He's been in Customs since he was in short pants!

    • Anonymous says:

      Because of the stellar job they do anytime they run any govt. department, right?. Look at the police, for example. And the prison service is completely free from corruption.

      Put an expat in charge of Customs "in the interests of the Cayman Islands"? I can only assume that you were joking. Expats only look out for their own interests, most definitely not the interests of these Islands.  

  7. Anonymous says:

    Good luck to you Mr. Powery and enjoy your retirement. You certainly deserve it after 40 years!

  8. Anonymous says:

    What is amazing is that there is not one word mentioned as to how his replacement will be determined.

    I have not seen the position advertised and would have thought that this announcement would have coincided with the such an ad. In turn, the announcement would have been that he was leaving in say 4 or 6 months time when the recrutment of his replacement would have run its course rather than leaving at the end of the month – a week from now. Seems very odd to me. Can someone tell us what is going on here?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Life in the civil service can suddenly have a short fuse and you're out ! Shock and Awe !!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Congrats Carlon….you certainly went out with a bang !

    That was an unexpected dynamite announcement BoBo.

    I hope that those below you have learnt from this. No politician is above the law and when you are asked to do something by a politician, follow the law and you will never go wrong.

  11. EC says:

    It's so amazing how some people just thrive on anonymously making ridiculous comments, hiding behind the screens of their computer! 

    You are completely ignorant to the fact that this man has held his career for 40 years and is the longest serving Collector of Customs in the history of these Islands!  Is that not worth commending him for?  He is an honest and hard-working man, and if my opinion matters- I don't think they will ever find a suitable replacement for him as he has truly been one of a kind.  Especially in these trying times when so many "leaders" in Government are corrupted by decisions and actions carried out for their own financial gain.  Here is someone who has carried out his profession with dignity and honesty and is now eager to continue his life after retirement by spending time with his family and enjoying his hobbies while he is still relatively young and has his good health!  Who can blame him?!  I hope to be able to do the same one day.

    If you want to discuss dynamite, do so on the appropriate articles within this site.  Otherwise; treat a positive news story such as this one as an opportunity to thank Mr. Powery for his long service to our country!

    • Anonymous says:

      Can we talk about the drug smuggling case that's still going on?

    • Anonymous says:

      "It's so amazing how some people just thrive on anonymously making ridiculous comments, hiding behind the screens of their computer!"


      And who is "EC"?

    • I b tink'n says:

      Huh?? Huh??? Huh???…………and who are you???


      Where's your full name????




      Where you said???

    • Danonymouse Man says:

      EC, what are you saying? XXXX you are also enjoying the same anonymity as the others you berate. Mr. Powery has earned his well deserved retirement and he is a role model for many to follow, including many who are older than him.

      His announcement of his short departure date at this time, is bad timing, and the public deserves more notice of such a major announcement for the longest serving Collector of Customs and one of our most beloved people. I would have thought that there would have been many pre-retirement parties for the other Civil Servants and the public to attend and reminisce in the good and the bad times. I know we are living in times that are anything but good, we must expect the  unexpected, but this announcement leave me sad to see him leave his position when he has so much to offer, despite what others may think. Mr. Powery's leaving just leaves  a lot of speculation in the ever enquiring mind of the restless people of these islands.

      • EC says:

        The point i was getting to was simply the old saying, "if u have nothing good to say, don't say nothing at all".  Remaining anonymous while commenting is everyones choice, but don't use that as a conveinent way to protect your identity while making negative or rude comments that you would not choose to make had your real name been required to do so.

        There are many positive comments on here by Anonymous posters as well. I don't blame anyone for wanting to remain unknown on such a platform as CNS b/c as is clearly visible- regardless of what good you may have to say, someone else will ALWAYS find something negative to respond to you with.

        I'm just not interested in being another typical Caymanian crab in a bucket- dragging others down!


        • SKEPTICAL says:

          Beginning with a Double Negative did not help endorse your cause.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Congrats  Chuckie, Enjoy your time you deserve it to the fullest .

  13. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if he will get his full pension…or did he cut himself out of it the way so many of us former Customs people were cut out of ours when we were forced to retire at age 60!

    This comes with such interesting timing, within weeks of the dynamite scandal. Seems fishy to me!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Good job Chuckie. Congrats on your retirement. You have indeed served us well and deserve your retirement. Too bad that you were misguided in your belief that the Premier is in fact the King, and that the King can do no wrong. At least you can say you went out with a bang (well almost!).

    • Anonymous says:

      07:23  Please explain "misguided" what proof do you have of this – he served a long time before we even thought about a Premier!!!!!  Use common sense before posting – 40 years goes way back!!!!  Can you remember how old you were then????

  15. I b tink'n says:

    strange timing, coming on the heels of the 'dyno-mite' fiasco but is enough to make an honest man with morals leave his job!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Powery's retirement was planned way before the dynamite fiasco.  Stop making assumptions and search for facts. 

  16. Anonymous says:

    Here we have someone to be proud of. A hard working, honest, intelligent christian man. A role model for our young men. A good son, husband, father and grand father. Enjoy your retirement Chuckie, God bless you and your family. Very proud of you.

  17. Anonymous says:

    A very nice man deserving a good retirement. If he has worked over 40 years and is still not 60, it means he joined when he was under 20 years of age, possibly like so many others in Customs, Immigration, Fire and the Post Office (the all Caymanian services), right out of school. Let us hope that eventually these departments will have senior management teams with tertiary education standards and knowledge of what "management" is. And in the case of Customs, can we hope the new Head is not called Powery?

    • Anonymous says:

      Congrats Mr. Powery and your well-deserved retirement.  You've worked hard, done your job honestly and with integrity and I know you've planned on retiring from about 2 years ago.  At 20:07 You must be just a johnny-come lately because I personally know Mr Powery and he is a very intelligent gentleman who has had extensive training over the years and knows his job. Those other depts you mention have very bright Caymanian heads of dept. also.  Mr. Powery is one of the best, if not the best, Collector of Customs in the region. The best person for the job is usually someone who has started from the bottom, which is so in his case, and I hope that the next Collector of Customs will be an officer who has been there for a long time rather than importing someone who will have to be taught by the local officers.  I don't care what surname the person has but as Customs is 100% Caymanian I'm sure I'll be able to recognise the name.  We have other smart and honest officers working at the Customs whom I hope will be given the opportunity to run that department which is the biggest revenue earner for government.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations. May you enjoy your retirement and be richly blessed

  19. Kosher Nostra says:

    Here's a proud Caymanian who has done well.  Enjoy your retirement Mr. Powery, you deserve good in life.  You have served well for 4 decades!