Customs seize dress from bride on eve of wedding

| 01/05/2014

(CNS): The customs department’s efforts to clamp down on duty dodgers went a bit far this weekend when officers seized a wedding dress. The department has been accused of ruining a couple’s big day by confiscating a bride’s gown in an incident which could do serious damage to the Department of Tourism’s push to make the Cayman Islands the destination of choice for weddings. The customs boss denied that her officers did anything wrong, however, and stated that the groom should have declared the dress when he arrived and paid a deposit. Because he did not declare various wedding outfits and have a receipt for the dress for his bride, who is a resident on the island, officers seized it and demanded $500.

Scott Mclean, a former resident of the islands who met his bride here and wanted to marry in the place they fell in love, told Cayman27 that he had no idea about the deposit policy and was not trying to smuggle in goods.

“Customs confiscated my wife’s wedding dress and said we don’t have a receipt so we could not have it back,” he said, adding that no one in the wedding party was aware of the deposit rule or the need for a receipt. After what appears to have been an upsetting ordeal for the party, in the end the customs department relented on the hefty deposit and reduced it to $60.

Samantha Bennett, the head of the customs department, said it was normal procedure and deposits are returned when newlyweds leave Cayman. ”Had the passenger properly declared the item up front, I’m sure this incident would not have been blown out of proportion,” Bennett said in a statement.

CNS has contacted the Department of Tourism regarding the incident for comment on raising awareness about the need for a declaration and receipts regarding wedding attires and the need to pay duty or a deposit on the clothes on arrival for destination weddings.

See related article on CNS:

30% deposit on wedding gear (5 May 2014)

CNS Note: The article has been amended to reflect the fact that the bride was not in the group arriving with the wedding gown and that she is a resident on the island.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Local News

About the Author ()

Comments (242)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have a wedding booking for later in the year but won't be flying over now because of this. I understand each country has its laws and regulations in place but I simply cannot afford to pay another £1000 ( which is what30% woul be for me)on top of an expensive holiday and wedding, I am really upset that we have to go to another island but I do feel that this tax/deposit is daylight robbery.

  2. Anonymous says:

    As a Caymanian..and one that upholds the Laws of the land, I must truly say The Customs Department acted within the confines of the Law.  Part of the Officers duty is also to Protect and Collect Government Revenue.  Mr. Mclean was no longer a resident of the island after nine years, why now he find fault with the Customs Department…he well and knew he had to pay duties that's why it was not declared, and his wife being a resident was not entitle to an allowance because she was not travelling at the time with the dress.  Therefore duties had to be applied.  Since the dress was not remaining on the island and his wife still being a resident in order to secure government revenue a deposit of 30% of the cost of the dress had to be collect pending export.  These are well seasoned officers that  knew what they were doing.  It is sad to see the many negative comments against the Department without even knowing the facts and I know most of you don't even know the Customs Laws and Procedures yourself.   XXX

  3. Anonymous says:

    In March of 2014 a resident of Australia went on vacation and brought back luxury items that she had bought and wore she did not declare and the officers found the receipt.  Here is what happened (see the link below).  So for all you bleeding hearts who believe that our customs officers here should not do their jobs I have news for you and I would suggest go do that crap in Australia and see where it gets you or what the results can and will be.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good one.  Really does make you wonder where all these whiny blowhards are coming from.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The "dress" wasn't his personal property – it was an undeclared gift over his $350 duty-free allowance for a Cayman Resident.  In that context, HM Customs did exactly what they are supposed to do and I support their decision.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Customs, is our first line of defence, good job, keep up the good work.  To all who believe our Customs Department is too harsh look at this.  These people were returning from their honey moon.

    Caymanians need to stop worryingabout scaremoungers amoungst us that believe people don't go on the internet every day and see what happens in other countries.  The wider world will just shug their shoulders and laugh at the tempest in a tea cup.   No one will stop coming to Cayman because customs department did their job, absolutely not. So for those who want to come on these blogs and talk BS go right ahead smart people see right thru you.

    • Anonymous says:

      I will – sorry but I am in the process of cancelling a $10k booking.

  6. CaymanWatcher says:

    OK, as I understand it the groom was an ex-resident returning as a visitor to wed his fiancee who is a resident.  Anything that a visitor brings in for their own use and that they will take back with them is not subject to any duty.

    The groom was bring in something that wasn't for his own use and therefore was dutyable.  It doesn't matter that they were both then going to leave the island – that isn't allowed for in the law.  Therefore the customs officer was correct to ask/ascertain the value of the dress and get payment for the dutyon the dress.

    Of course, if the bride had bought her dress in Cayman, then this matter wouldn't have arisen!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dam foolishness! I spent over $6000.00 for my wedding dress 30 yrs ago for my second wedding.   Flew to Florida with it for my granddaughter to fit it for her ceremony.  Although it was  a lovely dress, the bust part was too small for her.  I returned home with it and had no hassle with Customs and my old dress and I am not parting with my dress.  I will be flying in and out of these islands with this dress until it fits one of my granddaughters. I spend too much money on this dress for me alone to wear it.  My only daughter did not wear it because she insisted on getting married in her uniform. Therefore, I had nobody else to wear my dress until all  my sons started to give me all these grand daughters.  As each of my granddaughter was born. I would yell  " Yes! One more little girl to wear my wedding dress".  My wedding dress is very special to me, so is my second husband.  I only hope I will never see the day that a Custom officer will have the nerves to insult my dress by reducing it to $60.00.

  8. Anonymous says:

    IDK, but if she is living on island then I think the customs lady was right!

  9. Anonymous says:

    CNS why did you have to go for the sensational headline . A btetter headline would have been"  "Groom upset after being asked to make a deposit on a wedding dress."

  10. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if the Premier and the Regressives have taken note of this ugly situationa and cranked up their PR Machine to diffuse this before Cayman gets a worse black eye.

    This sh#t is now all over the international press and it didn't need to be.

    These two were like two spoiled children along with his Mom who spolied him. they both had been living here. They were not vistors!

    Alden, stop hiding and step up!

    • Anonymous says:

      The groom most certainly does not have Cayman at heart and perhaps it is best he doesn't plan to return.  I brought in a graduation gown, I paid duty in it.  I expect to pay duty on the wedding dress too- someday.  The bride is a resident! The dress, like mine, might be staying here.  Consider the uproar if someody found out Caymanians are charged duty and foreign residents are not. If our image as a wedding destination is tarnished, it is not about policy or the customs law, it's about  the grooms attitude  and the way it was covered in the media. A resident was charged import duty, so was I!  He took it to the press, I did not – Nor did the other dozens of Caymanians and residents who came in on the same flight, and duly declared their purchases.

    • Anonymous says:

      "Groom angry because his failure to comply with Customs requirements resulted in embarrassment". Isn't that a more appropriate headline? 


    • Anonymous says:

      "Groom angry because his failure to comply with Customs requirements resulted in embarrassment". Isn't that a more appropriate headline? 


  11. Anonymous says:

    If this turns off any tourists it won't be because of what happened itself but the biased way it has been reported by the press. This article pretendsthat the bride was a visitor who came to Cayman to get married and brought in the dress and it was seized by customs whereas she is actually a resident and her groom to be, who had himself lived here for 9 years, brought in the dress without declaring it.     

  12. Anonymous says:

    Having read all of the comments, I guess what surprises (and saddens) me most are the people who honestly don't see the great damage this incident has brought to the Cayman Islands' destination wedding industry.

    Apparently, people really can be that short-sighted…and actually be proud of it.

    Really quite disturbing.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The collector needs to be more concerned about her officers appearance and attitude. Make sure they brush their teeth and wash the duppy-crap out of their eyes before they go to work. Gone are the days when you went to customs and was greeted by caring, friendly, personable, understanding and knowledgeable people. Cayman didn't need no more negative images BUT we have shot ourselves in the foot with this.

    • Anonymous says:

      08:02.The negativity is due to biased and arrogant reporting in addition important information was put out and not corrected until it was too late by the Compass.

  14. Anonymous says:

    ON the world wide web aleady. The damage has already been done. How often must we say that Cayman is no longer the land that time forgot.? Any dirty linen we spread in public,will be seen well beyond the borders of the cayman islands. If we are so impressed with ourselves that we disregard good customer service we stand to loose a substantial part of our tourist revenue. Is it that we don't necessary care about the long term effect of how we treat our visitors? Do we think these visitors cannot go somewhere else to spend their money? we will be making an expensive mistake if this is the way we are thinking

  15. Anonymous says:

    If what I have read elsewhere is true and CNS knew the whole story then shame on them, I have lost some respect of their integrity. From what I have read the bride is a resident and on a permit, the groom is a very recent ex resident who was bringing in goods for his bride.  He should have declared the goods and paid duty, crying foul that he didnt knowhe should declare an mport is crap. 

  16. Anonymous says:

    You know, I encounter many a spotty "just out of HS" kid with a gun being rude to me every time I endure arrival at Miami airport. The punk deserves a good spanking over my knee, but what can i do? At least in Cayman the customs officer isn't armed to the teeth, so that if things go south there's no risk of getting shot.

    • Visa V says:

      The ones in Miami are mainly just off the boat. From Cuba. Most can barely speak the Queen’s English, much less Uncle Sam’s.

      But as you rightly say, they are packing guns and tasers and the last thing you want to do is mess with petty authority when it is armed and dangerous.

  17. Anonymous says:

    What a great way to promote tourism – way to go guys!  Where is your common sense????

    • Anonymous says:

      What the heck is this – adolescence week? The groom should have declared the dress, he didn't, he got (rightly) stopped at customs, instead of it  being confiscated he got an ever more generous offer, and somehow this is all so terribly unfair. Well, boo hoo. Try this stunt anywhere else, pal, and see how far you'd get on emotions for trying to break the law. My advice to the "hurt" party? Respect cusoms law from now on, then you won't get your knickers in a twist and your future mother-in-law won't wonder if her daughter is marrying the wrong guy, okay?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Maybe Cayman should advertise itself as a nudist destination.

  19. Anonymous says:

    How many toursits bring in and did not declared for ipad, tablets, cameras, expensive clothes/jewellery who rich people stayed at the ritz? It prove customs have NO feelings or don’t like cayman islands. Leave people alone who bring wedding dresses….aim people who bring drugs and guns who willing to destory many people lives.

  20. Anonymous says:

            I understand that the groom was recently rolled over,if so, then it might explain his behaviour .Certainly it seems that if he wanted to get revenge by giving Cayman a black eye ,he was successful in doing so.There is absolutely no way that he lived here for 9 years and was unaware that receipts are often required ,to bepresented to HM Customs,even if he never travelled during those nine years ,there have been numerous occasions when the local media has been used to advise the travelling public to make full declarations and to have receipts available for presentation to Customs upon arrival.Also the bride to be is said to be working on island and did not travel with the groom on the day thus increasing the possibility that the dress would be remaining here.If it is not known whether the item will be remaining on island ,the normal procedure is to take a deposit which is refunded on departure, once customs is satisfied that it is not remaining on island.Very simple operation and no need to get all bent out of shape unless you expect customs to be naive and believe that every passenger is being totally truthful at all times.Unfortunately that does not always happen,hence the need for a deposit.So Mr Groom ,on your departure just show  the dress to Customs (before you check in) and collect your refund and you are and your way,none the poorer.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do we start ask all  divers to declare their gear and leave a deposit with customs just to make sure their gear leaves the island with them too? Fair is fair right?

  21. 4Cayman says:

    Ms. Bennett did you charged duties on the rings? How about the paper and ink they wrote their vows on! This place is getting worst to live.

    We  are certainly going  down a road of no return. We give concessions to the Big Rich persons and companies with the hopes development will occur and the money stays and reinvested  on island yet, we charge the little man who wants to bring his family  and his new bride here to spend money and get married. The money spent on the flowers, the drinks,  the food  and so on is an immediate injection to the  economy. There's no waiting on  buildings or roads to be built.

    Seems to me discretion and common sense got lost somewhere in this whole mess.

  22. Zuccotti Ebanks says:

    Occupy GOAB!

  23. Anonymous says:

    On the radio today I heard some incredible foolishness that the Compass should apologize to Customs for reporting on this wedding dress incident.

    How much money would it cost to put out the amount of negative publicity this Customs officer achieved with his hard hearted treatment of this visitor here to hold his wedding?

    Then when the head of Customs, Samantha Bennett had an opportunity to smooth the waters and show some Cayman kind she chose to support the ill treatment of the groom.

    There is some real local hostility in the country that needs to be addressed with more than the shallow Caymankind PR campaign.

    When will the radio hosts address the local hostility on air?  Are they worried about future votes?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes everything here is hinged on votes! thats why the place is so corrupted. Reason why no one can get anything legally done!

  24. Observer. says:

    Samantha be prepared that some will use this episode to try to make you and Marlon relax rules and regulations so drugs can come freely into the islands. It is about bashing and shaming you and then when you are lowly at heart, allow certain birds to fly over the kookoo nest. Be careful, respectful to all, put God first – country first, and take care of yourself. It's not what you do; its "how" you do it that leaves an impression.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Penny wise and dollar foolish.

  26. Anonymous says:

    CNS,why have you contacted Dept.of Tourism? The Tariff Law clearly states on page 223, that personal attire of a visitor is free of duty. If the definition of the "personal attire of a vsitior" is up for interpretations, it is not up to Dept.of Tourism to define  it. The Law is the Law. Ask a layer if CI Customs understand this Law correctly.

    • Anonymous says:

      The bride is a resident, not a visitor

    • Anonymous says:

      Obviously it was not his dress or personal effect of his.  It was essentially an undeclared non-exempt gift >$350 Duty Free allowance for a CI Resident.  The law is clear on this: unless the dress is made of books, leather, wool, gold, or china plates, it would not be exempt from duty or deposit under the current law.  Wedding rings and any honeymoon leather bondage equipment would be exempt.  

    • Anonymous says:

      16:01.A layer might be able to tell you about laying eggs ,or a layer might be able to tell you about laying tiles,but I doubt either  one can help you with the Customs law.Have you been consulting a layer? Might explain your confusion.

  27. Anonymous says:

    How did they go from $500 to $60?

    • Anonymous says:

      It's called being magnanimous, given the situation. Can we begin to be adult about this incident, please?

  28. Anonymous says:

    Too much power and greed. Please do not ruin us!!

    I live here and it is the first I am hearing about a "wedding deposit".  Poor excuse. Your department need to use discretion.  They are obnoxious, rude and stinking attitude is making you Ms, Samantha look very bad.  While we do have some evil people on this island who tries to evade custom duties, we also have honest people who have  nothing to hide. However, upon clearing immigration who are warm and friendly, we then encounter these rude custom officers who treats everybody like criminals. 

    They also try to play smart when families of 7 are travelling and declare their $1659.02 with the supporting evidence on one declaration form.  What the officers are doing is charging the entire $1659.02 to one person and pretend as if they are smart or ignorant of the fact that all 7 in the party are allowed their $350.00 duty free allowance.  Therefore, for you wicked custom officers you very well know that your calculation should be $1327.22 CI after converting ($1659.02) and then you divide that by $350.00 (allowed duties) times 7 equates to – NO charges to the passengers.  But instead you wicked officers calculate $1327.22 less $350.00 (duties) and want one family member to pay duties of 22% of $977.22 to your department in the sum of $214.99.  How cruel!! when you bloody well knows that the party travelling is a family of 7. 

    Do you know that $214.99 can buy grocery to feed family of 7?   Learn to be kind and stop being hateful.  It is better for you to go get some training rather than expose your unkindness to returning residents and visitors.  Please post your signs up so we can all know what your rules are and do not surprise us when we arrive.  Ms. Samantha, you mean well, but some of your officers behaves as if the world is against them and they treat customers with scorn. There are plenty of us coming through those lines who are decent people and do not have anything to hide. So yes, search us but be decent when engaing with us.  If you do not have visitors or residents travelling, then the department would have to be downsized and many of you would

  29. Anonymous says:

    Ok, As a Caymanian who takes no side for the matter being discuss I would like to voice my views obvisiously base on the information provided by the press and Cayman 27.

    1. Are we getting the full story on this matter?The reason I ask is because everyday some new piece of information is given. The groom (yes a visitor) was bringing a wedding dress for someone who isn't a Caymanian BUT works here on the Island. There are laws in place and they should not only apply to Caymanians. If we go the the USA or any other Caribbean Island don't we have to adhere to their rules and regulations, also do we question or ridicule  the officials for doing their job? 

    2. Do we know if the dress is going to exit the country? They are no different from any other person who brings in items that are not duty free. Yes promote tourism but do not lose ourselfs or sell ourselves short just to get a visitor. If they can't appreciate the fact that we have laws and yes a deposit would be shocking but darn it pay it, go get married, collect your deposit and go home. Everybody Happy!!!!!!

    3. If this was a Caymanian who was suggesting they were mistreated by any government entity would they have been afforded the said opportunity to let the matter known? NO!!!!!! Everyday Caymanians return home and a few would say they had bad experiences but no one gives them television time or so much space in the newspaper. Was there a connection here?

    4. The only thing I can say Customs need to address is not that a deposit was charged but the fact that  the individuals felt like they were handled the wrong way (if this is indeed correct). Lets reflect a bit, everyday you walk the beach ordrive by, some visitor is getting married and do you hear any complaints about the way they were treated by either Immigration or Customs? Don't this story make you wonder as to what we are not being told and as to why the individuals decided to go straight to the press with this story? Why is he no longer a resident of our Islands? Is this his way of getting back at us for him not being here anymore (say his permit was not renewed for example). 

    Anyway, I hope that we realize that it's not the groom that is dragging Cayman down, he just started the fire and we (CAYMANIANS) are adding the gasoline to make it affect us. The media do what they do best and report things that honestly is small compared to the big issues we have such as jobless people and worse, crime.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I bet anyone who was thinking about coming here for Medical Tourism is also having second thoughts. Well done Customs. Keep up the good work.

  31. Anonymous says:

    this is bad news for Cayman, perhaps some things need to be revisited!  If that was me I wouldn't want to come back.  It is that simple.  Tourist coming in to spend money and because of the negative impression/event we end up losing morethan we earned. 

  32. Anonymous says:

    I am a bit confused by the facts of this story.  One article states that the bride was living and working on the island and was not travelling with the groom.  Another article states that the bride was travelling with the goom and was here as a visitor (the fact that they both used to work here being irrelevant).  In the case of the latter then I agree it is completely ludicrous that a visitor would have to pay a deposit or duty on a dress they were bringing with them, as they would then return home with it.

    But in the scenario where the bride was living and working here and wasn't travelling with the groom, then Ithink the customs agents acted accordingly.  As a resident you are subject to duty on items being brought in for your use.  If I go off island and buy a bunch of clothes I am required to declare them, and this case is no different. 

  33. Anonymous says:

    How did they reach from $500 deposit to $60??? Not consistent at all seems to me they bend rules if they want to. New collector focus is publicity! Love lime light so I'm hoping she takes good and bad!

  34. Anonymous says:

    Ignorance of the law is the same in any language, race or creed here is a example of customs vigilance that works.  I just hope that our customs officers and immigration keep up their good works.  Thank you Ms. Bennett and the customs department for a job well done.  Here are some examples of what Customs and Immigration officers have to deal with on a daily basis.   Enjoy the show

  35. Anonymous says:

    Wow!! When will it end? Another one Cayman can trace back directly to the McKeeva years. If that buffoon and his little Mac fries had not bankrupted the country for decades to come with their stupidity perhaps Customs could be a little more lenient now! 

    Instead because of the UDP's failed policies and overspending these hard working Civil Servants have to be so strict that it makes them out to be the bad guys.  They are OBVIOUSLY trying to make up for the massive defecits left by the multiple Big Mac administrations.  And yes they do it to locals too.  I do not mind paying a few dollars in Duties to support our current HONEST government.  The shame is most of it is going towards trying to get rid of the Bush red ink!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Back to politics again….UDP and PPM both overspent prior to this Government. What does that have to do with this topic? 

      Regarding the wedding dress….as many commented good judgment and discretion was sadly lacking in this unfortunate incident. In my experience some customs oficers are friendly and professional whilst carrying out their duties, but many are grumpy and sour no matter what, and sourness creates a lasting memory as naturally expected. 

      The way the incident  was handled resulting in it making international and local news, clearly is bad for our image. It will damage Caymans image no matter the law with regards to a deposit being required, it should never have reached that point.  

      There are many other destinations tourists can choose to visit to spend their hard earned dollar. We need them to choose our country, and at this rate some will not, and even if it's a few, it all add up, or down in this case.

      Samantha, whilst in theory your oficer may have been correct, and should have insisted the deposit be made, surely you agree it could have been handled better. We, that is you on behalf of Customs should seriously consider apologizing, let us not be too proud.

      I would hope re training or strong reminders have taken place since this incident for all front line staff.  It is so very important that in the very immediate future, Customs Department, can look to ensure that this never ever happens again, so if something of this nature crops up that it is handled professionally.

      I am certain that we all would wish for tourist to continue choosing Cayman as a destination of choice, not only for their wedding but also for vacation business conferences etc. Remember we need the tourist not the other way around.


  36. Anonymous says:

    Martini anyone?

  37. Anonymous says:

    What a stupid system. While they were arguing about this probably 100 suitcases full of new clothes and toys from Miami would have gone through undetected.

    • Anonymous says:

      All you thumbs up folks, that's a huge assumption on the part of the writer. Is there any evidence to support it?

    • Anonymous says:

      The clothes are not new ifyou wear them immediately after purchase and scrunch them up in a ball with dirty underwear.

    • Anonymous says:

      I just purchased 2 new bikinis for my summer holiday trip to Grand Cayman. Will I need to pay a duty tax when I land at the airport???

    • Anonymous says:

      No reason to believe that. I think the case and the recent drug busts reflect that Customs has got tougher generally. 

    • Anonymous says:

      10:23.You say " While they were arguing about this probably 100 suitcases full of new clothes and toys from Miami would have gone through undetected." In fact the opposite is true,the chance of more dutiable goods getting through is increased if we allow people to simply file through Customs just because they are foreign and claim to be getting married.

  38. Anonymous says:

    'Visiting bride tries to smuggle in wedding dress to get married on an island wanting to be known for their destination weddings.'  Well if we wanted to get the word out we surely got it now!  Thanks HMS Customs, perhaps you can advise the Dept of Tourism on other marketing ideas?  What a bunch of maroons…. and to have the head maroon back it makes this even worst.  I would love to know what the deposit is for?  Is this in the event the bride who probably spent more than $1500 on a dress at the minimum, because she will always want to remember the day and perhaps pass it to her daughter someday, randomly leaves it in the hotel room and the maids place it at Mount Trash Forever More???  Seriously??

    It is always said, you cannot teach common sense.  Here's another perfect example. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Radonmly leave your wedding dress in a hotel room. You got jokes! The deposit is a good idea but it should be higher than the duty itself.

    • Anonymous says:

      A "maroon" is a former slave who escaped to the hills of Jamaica. There are villages with their descendants. My Grandmother was a Maroon. A "Moron" is an idiot. Thank God my Maroon Grandmother was not a moron

    • Anonymous says:

      10:20.Why do you insist in saying the bride was a visitor when in fact she is a guest worker here.(in other words a foreigner on a work permit)

  39. Well done now to fix a silly issue says:

    Yes, the law is the law.  Yes, the groom should have known better (if he lived here for 9 years.) Sorry for the trouble.

    Easy fix for this nasty PR fallout?  Make wedding dresses duty free so we can save face and keep our booming wedding industry!

  40. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like Ms. Bennett need to study the Customs Law before making comments.. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like you need to study the Customs Law before making comments. Ms. bennet did her job and applied the law.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Customs department will charge certain people for everything, while others come in and bring stuff and are not charge.  Crooked department

  42. Customs Officer who is also appreciative of Mrs. Bennett says:

    I want to take this opportunity to thank Mrs. Bennett as The Collector of H.M. Customs Department for being the leader that she is. She will decipline us Customs Officers when she has to, when we need it, at the same time I am very appreciative/grateful of her support to us, a Hard WORKING and HONEST PEOPLE held with the responsibilty of PROTECTING OUR BORDERS AND SECURING OUR FUTURE!   Ms. Samatha please do not get too discouraged to the point where they want to get us (we do not want to go where some of them want to see us and that is down hill). I will continue and also having others join me to pray for you as a human being first and foremost in order for you to continue to be the leader you are. Thanks for being there with us through thick and thin. It is the additional encouragement from you and you being on the ground with us and you too rolling up your sleeves and willingness to humbly get your hands to the physical hard work as well, to be digging/searching that assisted with the major  and most recent Drug seizures. We are humbly asking for an appoloy from all who are trying to distroy (Mrs. Bennett our leader The Collector of H.M. Customs) who we find to be a good leader and other hard working Honest Customs Officers.  Thanks for your time in reading my contributions. Have a God blessed day and weekend !      

    • Anonymous says:

      Seems many LAZY and DISHONEST FREE RIDERS did not like your TRUTHFUL comment very much.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not everyone in the department feel this way.. So kindly speak for yourself.. 

    • WillYaListen! says:

      "PROTECTING OUR BORDERS"   From runaway wedding dresses? Let's hope nothing like drugs or guns slip by.

      Usually Custom officials are pleasant and thorough – sometimes there are misunderstandings – this is a PR disaster and a gesture should be made to the couple to make us look less like bumbling idiots with an attitude. Usually they are nothing of the kind. Usually.

    • You are missing the point says:

      I tried to keep myself away from the subject but im not really good at that.

      I also congratulate her and any honest officer that perform their duty, but that is not the whole cake. are custom fees negotiable? can you hustle for a bargain? has every person carrying a wedding dress by you guys been charge a fee? a negative answer to all of them is practically obvious.

      And now the cherry, what happend on that ecounter that TOURIST WERE CRYING OUT OF SADNESS AND DESPERATION!!!! are you kidding me? are all of them drama queens? no they are not, your crew made mistakes, for sure, not every people that get fine by customs cry and go to the news to report it, ONLY THE ONES THAT YOU TREAT BAD.

      Prove us wrong, releasethe security video showing that you treat them with respect and profesionalism and while you are there EXPLAIN HOW FROM 500 WENT DOWN TO 63 DOLLARS TO BE PAID.

      take that!

  43. Anonymous says:

    They are former residents not returning current residents, why would they declare clothes in the wardrobe? Regardless of whether or not they have worn them before. Most people on holiday have new clothes.  It is not like they were importing them for sale or gifts.

    • Anonymous says:

      From reading the story on the other site it would appear that he's a former resident and she's a current resident and in employment here.  So hubby is overseasand comes back here with the dress to give to his bride who is a resident.  As it stands now he's a visitor bringing in something for a resident, nothing special about that, except that he didn't pay duty, or declare the dress, or have a receipt.  Does that change your view.  Changed mine.

      • Anonymous says:

        I didn't realize the I had to have a reciept for everything in my suitcase when I come to Cayman, Is that true?

    • Anonymous says:

      Indeed, if they are not resident they are really going to leave that all here? Oh dear an RPG to crack a walnut, the film Dumb and Dumber comes to mind.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not.evident in this story but the bride is a resident, on a permit, and working. 

      • Anonymous says:

        In which case the groom is in breach of the customs law and should face the consequences. I am sick and tired of people pissing on our laws. They are fair and transparent and he was smuggling!

  44. Anonymous says:

    The saddest part of this story is that the new Customs boss, rather than admitting there is an obvious customer service problem and vowing to fix it, is defending this idiocy. All of CIG needs intense customer service training as they don't seem to realize who pays their salaries. So much for Cayman Kind. 

    • Anonymous says:

      You do not under the culture and history.  There can be wrongs done and everything must be justified.

    • Anonymous says:

      so now we are going to enforce people coming into the cayman islands to get married to put a bond on their clothes for the wedding….are you out of your minds??? they are spending money here in Cayman, hotels, food, rent a car…dont' look a gift horse in the mouth, word gets around weddings in the cayman islands will be history!!!!!

  45. Anonymous says:

    Does ANYBODY in Customs  and Tourism have half a brain?????  Get that vital piece of information out to  wedding planners (if they don't know about it already -but should),prospective wedding couples and their guests – in bold type in all the tourism advertising.  To the officer(s) that took the wedding dress out of it's protective covering – duty on socks and undergarmets – REALLY!   Show some common sense.  This could have been far less of an issue if Customs hadn't been so over zealous.   A black eye on a lucrative business and tourism. Here's a thought – why not take another look at this particular  duty and AMEND it accoringly – Customs and Tourism coming together to solve a problem…..I wonder.

    • Anonymous says:

       08:47.It seems that Mr McLain was recently rolled over and  I guess this is his way of getting back at Cayman.Why is it that no one is willing to allow for the fact that perhaps he was a man on a mission and thus acted in a disrespectful manner to get a rise out of customs officials and give him a chance to give Cayman a black eye ,which he did.

      • Need our share of business says:

        Has the bride now violated her work permit by her actions?  Sounds to me like a nine-year returning ex-pat should've known better and out of spite made this a big issue.

        shame on this couple for being such drama queens and ignoring the law.  It may be a silly law and perhaps we should be a country that allows wedding dresses to come in duty-free for events but right now these two are not blameless!

        • Anonymous says:

          Like everywhere else in the world, when you want someone's business, you need to swallow your pride a bit.  The customer, as they say, is always right.  After all, they are the ones we need to part with their hard-earned dollars to keep our country afloat.  It doesn't really matter whether they were drama queens or not.  They are paying…we are taking.  Good customer service would have resolved the matter quickly, to our benefit.

  46. Anonymous says:

    What ever happened to common sense and discretion? Focus on the local cheats and understand that Tourism helps pay your salaries. Don't let the rules get in the way of common sense and common courtesy. It's hard to believe that none of the senior level staff on duty had the training, discretion, and intelligence to deal with this on the spot. Wait now for the internet damage that will surely come. What idiots.

  47. Anonymous says:

    WTF Does Cayman want destination wedding tourists or not? Why is it no govt department seems prepared to use descretion and common sense…it's all very embarassing and can be avoided.

  48. Anonymous says:

    What do you call a banana republic without bananas? Lets start with incompetent.

  49. Anonymous says:

    Let me see. They are staying at the hotels. Someone in Cayman in doing the catering. Friends and visitors are coming to the wedding. They are all spending money here – money that stays here. Customs steps in and "enforces" a duty law.

    Hmmmm – getting married – GREAT!

    Spending the rest of our  lives togerher – GREAT!

    Paid the customs duty on the dress – C.I.Government gets $60

    Negative image to the Cayman ISlands – PRICELESS!!!

  50. And Another Ting says:

    Caymsn Kind gone out the window?. The reality of this is we can make concessions amounting to yow millions of dollars for developers but we can't make a concession on a wedding dress, shame on tourism. We should afford at least the couple a week end stay at the Ritz for the trauma eh, let me see dem thumbs ready to strike .And another Zting.

  51. Anonymous says:

    This is where we are lacking. Just the few days ago we are boasting of catching drug smugglers, now common sense has been left behind again. Did we just read that customs duty figures being declared was increased in the last year.? This would not have been on the new enforcer or the new hod, this was from the old staff. So it shows they were effective in certain ways, remember getting money to the Goverment was the priority. 

    Lets put a value onthat dress. So the material cost us$400.00 The real value and price goes to the dress maker and designer. So now we are taxing labor that is being done overseas?  Would it make a difference if Miss Reba sets up shop in Miami and make the dress there, will it be considered made by caymanian? God forbid if I travel away with one of my new jeans that cost me almost us$400.00 from a local CayBay store. Yes us$400 jeans, and those are the medium priced. And on return I am asked to show the receipt since I did not even wear it as yet and the price tag and shop location in CayBay is still on pants. How many times we have bought a few new clothes for travel purpose.?

    Come on Cayman, is this what we have become. We continue down this road. We invite people, we pay money to advertise and attract them, we encourage them to get married here. There was even talk about another "pillar"  for people getting married here.  Now they show up and we kick them in the gizzard. 

    This reminds me of similar suitations at the immigration counter when submitting documents. You have officers that will show you the missing n/a that needs to be done in order for it to be understood. They will ask you to make the n/a. But you have that one or two officers that cannot see beyond that. They just got to reject it and hand it back to you in such a manner that you would think the security gaurd has been called to dismiss you out of that building.

    Now that we seen this suitation, and see the potential damage, instead of spending so much money on awareness, is it not better that Samantha can look at that antiquated law and make some new suggestions. Trying to collect a deposit or force people to pay for labor cost of desingner and trinkets could have a very serious negative impact to this sector of visitors. Most wedding dresses are usualy stuck in the closets somewhere after being used. There are trends to rent or lease everything this days. The old rule that they will smuggle the dress here to evade customs is far fetched.  So the idea is to wear the dress when comming to Cayman Islands. After all everyone dresses funny.  I never heard of anyone being taxed for their clothes while being worn through customs.

    Now the officers will be watching every potential couple and suspisious if they are getting married here. Lets make that a new question on the declaration form. "Do you have any items for the purpose of getting married"? Add another line to answer to, "What is the purpose of your visit?"  Add choice of "Getting married."

    The more I read about this in the local news, all I can think is. "It just dont add up". It really makes no sense at all. But the Judge will remind you, lack of knowledge of the law is not an excuse. So pay up or buy another dress and find another Island to get married. Welcome to the Cayman Islands. "Get back behind that line, I did not call you as yet."  Ok, next in line please. whats your purpose of visit.?

    no time for spell check. if you spell checkers can be so kind. thanks.


  52. Anonymous says:

    thats the real caymankind……..

    if this happened with a private company , people would lose thier jobs……….but in the civil service all we get  areidiotic attempts to justify their ignorance and stupidity……..

    don't worry these morons will likely get an award from franz in the near future……..zzzzzzzz

  53. Anonymous says:

    Whoa!!! Seems they were not traveling together as visitors. A visitor was bringing an expensive item of clothing to a resident! Customs may need some sensitivity training but now it sounds to me like they were not off base. 

    • Anonymous says:

      He used to live here. She still does! You have to pay duty to recieve items if you live here either by post, FEDex, shipping, or at the airport if you carry something in. 

      Stand your ground on this one Customs!

  54. Anonymous says:

    Why would you pay a deposit for clothes that you are taking away again?  Does this mean that every person who's coming on vacation needs to declare ALL of their items that they brought and pay a ransom to wear them?  What a ridiculous position to take. The forms ask visitors about things they plan to leave here, like gifts, not things they're taking back. Unless there's way more information missing from this, like that the items were shipped here separately, and there is an actual policy set out somewhere that reasonably brings it to someone's attention, this sounds blatantly illegal. 

    • Anonymous says:

      To 07:10.You ask "Why would you pay a deposit for clothes that you are taking away again? " The answer is :To insure that they do leave, and protect Government revenue in case they do not.It seems that the majority of commenters on here are of the opinion that passengers are always truthful;not true.If these individuals were customs officers just imagine the state that we would be in.Let's look at an instance ,where an officer asked a passenger more than once if they were in possession of fruits or vegetables,only to be told no.When the bag was searched a number of yams wrapped in newspaper was found under a layer of clothing at the bottom of the suitcase .Guess what the same procedure was followed for a second bag ,and the result was the same.Another example is of a passenger arriving from Canada who declared on his customs form that he was bringing in a new bicycle worth US$200.However on closer inspection it was discovered that inside the box for a $200 bicycle ,was a racing bike valued at close to USD2000.Now on the face of it this individual did not look like someone who would need to evade Customs duty but was doing just that.So you see some passengers do lie and it is ignorant to suggest that Customs should simply take everyone at their word.I wonder if the groom in this case was Caymanian and did not feel that he should pay duty on a wedding dress,if the commenters would be singing the same song.Not likely;what we would be reading would be criticism of lazy Caymanians who have this overgrown entitlement mentality.That's just the way it is these days in the Cayman Is.

  55. Anonymous says:

    Penny wise Pound fool


  56. Anonymous says:

    Well, now doesn't that just take the cake…… 

  57. Anonymous says:

    Please dont ruin Cayman in the process of promoting yourselves. Some people will do anything for their own self benefit and self praise. This is ruining Cayman { SELF GLORY}. We the real Caymanians will pay the price when we loose our Tourists. After all her wedding was part of her clothing as a tourist to the Cayman Is. Mr Archer please fix this situation as we heavily rely on you as a sensible man. Alot of tourists are coming here to be married. You do have staff at the airport customs who are on a big high and all that they need is encouragement from Samantha. On the other hand you have some very decent and professional staff who carry out rules and regulations but in a sensible manner. I think we all get a taste of this madness at the airport. I too went to Miami just for a day returned the same night with two dresses one was my daughters prom dress that was beautiful but very inexpensive, the other just a casual dress. Upon returning home Isaid to the Customs boy "I only have these two dresses that I purchases". He then replied to me by saying "You mean to tell me that this is all that you purchased ?" I then replied by saying "Look ya you boy I go to Miami for lunch sometimes just to get out from Cayman sometimes". I guess since the two dresses was all that I had in my bag he had no other choice than to let me go. This situation needs to be fixed with intelligent staff.

    • Anonymous says:

      I guess your $18 airfare to Miami always you to have lunch in Miami!!!!

      Cayman Airways needs to stop these rediculous perks. As a current employee you should get one free trip a year (you pay the airport taxes) – 2-4 times 50% off, thereafter full price. No friends and family. CAL is loosing money hand over fist. I hear that at some times of the year 40% of the load is made up of people using airport tax only flights. We need to run an airline not a free taxi service!

      • Anonymous says:

        No, you cetainly have it all wrong. Dont judge everyone elses life style by yours. Do you know that there are quite a few Caymanians who can afford to go off to Miami with friends for just a day to enjoy a good lunch and good company. We are all situated differently.

    • Anonymous says:

      23:10.How rude and dis respectful of you.By the way could it be that rudeness and lack of respect for Cayman Law enforcement officials was the real cause of the problem in this instance.

    • Anonymous says:

      23:10.She was not travelling with him and is not a tourist ,but rather she is here on a work permit.Get the facts straight before posting.

  58. A-nony-mouse says:

    Extend foot, pick up uZI, take careful aim, destroy foot!  What assinine procedures these are!  First it was visitors' laptops, now this.  As someone who derives a large percentage of income from destination weddings, I ask "What the HELL has gone wrong with these vexacious policies?" Are we going to charge every visitor who arrives with a suitcase full of designer clothes and a personal laptop a HUGE deposit?  Come on folks, use your brain for something other than a hat rack!  That is just that much less a visitor has to $pend in the local economy!  Wake up and smell the hemlock….

  59. Anonymous says:

    It's hard to imagine anything more stupid than Customs trying to charge duty for something like a wedding outfit, when the person is a visitor and can prove they're here to get married.  Do they really think people will want to come here if that's going to happen.  Use your commonsense, Customs officers.


    • Anonymous says:

      22:36.Do you know for a fact that he had proof that he was coming here to get married.

  60. Annie says:

    This is about the stupidist thing I have ever heard, And I have listened to a whole lot of foolishness in my life. What, on God ‘s Green earth could these officers have been thinking?? This defies logic exponentionally.

    If I understand the customs response, it is the standard procedure to harrass tourists, so therefore it is okay. Unknowing tourist, should prior to visiting Cayman, search arcane Customs regulations. None of which are easily accessible online. They must than declare all of items broughton Island, from chapstick to swimsuits, bring receipts for all of their goods, pay a deposit for said items, deal with what I am sure is heinous bureacracy to get their deposit funds returned, at an adminisrative cost that far exceeds any duty collected.

    Idiots to the 10th power.

    • Anonymous says:

      21:31.Annie  you say  that persons collecting a refund of deposit"deal with what I am sure is heinous bureacracy to get their deposit funds returned," without bothering to check it out first.Instead you chose to cast Customs in the worst possible light .That was not enough for you, so you continue with your lack of respect and hatred by calling Customs officials "Idiots to the 10th power."Now that your bias and flawed thinking has been exposed ,how would you like it if I called you an "idiot of the 100th degree".FYI it is a really simple procedure to collect a deposit refund.1) On the day of departure  take your deposit receipt and the goods being exported to the customs area at the airport.    2) Have an officer verify your item(s) against the receipt and invoice 3)Collect your refund and pack your goods in your luggage. That is it.Quite simple really ,that is why one has to ask why Mr McLain made such a scene.

  61. Anonymous says:

    Talk about Customs and the Cayman Islands looking foolish and mean spirited to a bridal party for God's sake.

    How many weddings will not come to Cayman because of this mess?

  62. Anonymous says:

    This is a distortion of the story. The bride was not visiting; she works here and she didn't bring in the dress. "They" did not arrive; it was brought by her fiancee. Accurate, unbiased reporting, please.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Too late the damage has been done with the story as it is written, but if you are correct then we should be jumping all over the media and not customs!

    • Anonymous says:

      So what if she resides here, it could have still been handled more professionally. We are missing the point. 

      This is bad for Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        The "so what" is that Customs did their job and the media misreported the incident and that is what is bad for Cayman.

  63. Anonymous says:

    Bullshit! I have lived in cayman for a couple years… and if this happen to me I would kicked someones ass! Always wanting money!

    • Anonymous says:

      20.40 sound like your couple of years were a couple too many, 

    • Anonymous says:

      20:40.You should try it some time it might just open your eyes,or maybe they will be closed  (as in swollen shut).

  64. Anon says:

    Again just plain old stupidity. We spend how many dollars on advertising, and then we get a few wanna- be, self important, ignorant persons to undo hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of effort. Nice.

  65. Anonymous says:

    Really now! A wedding dress?? Did she look that poor that she would have to sell her dress order to leave the island? I have never heard of brides coming her and selling there dresses before they leave..This is a very sentimental item for brides that they want to keep forever.

    Come on Cayman this is not the kind of press we need!

    Why not just let them bring a letter from the marriage officer saying they are getting married.

    This is just so stupid and sounds like the new Customs MADAM is flexing her the wrong manner!!


    • Anonymous says:

      Abuse of authority, carried out by the people in the public service.

    • Anonymous says:

      She, the CI resident, and gift >$350 recipient, did not accompany the dress!  

  66. Anonymous says:


  67. Anonymous says:

    Avoiding customs fee is wrong no matter if it was socks instead!

  68. Anonymous says:

    department of tourism=FAIL, customs department= FAIL, cancelling my wedding plans in Cayman=WIN!

    • Anonymous says:

      So true. On my insistance our future bride and a friend visited Cayman as a short tour to assess  wedding destinations for 2015. Having finally cleared the immigration/customs obstacles she visited Pedro St. James. Deserted. No-show from management. The final decision was made when she observed the grounds with feral dogs pooping everywhere and threatening them. So…wedding  of 40-50 guests will be in Jamaica. 

  69. Anonymous says:

    Change this stupid law before it hits the international press…

  70. Anonymous says:


  71. Anonymous says:

    This is horrible. This would scare me as a vistior. If I bring my computer or Ipad with me do I need to give the Government a deposit. This is ridiculous!

    The Cayman Islands needs to hang out a sign that reads…

    Welcome to the Cayman Islands…Bring lots of cash for deposits on all personal items you intend to bring with you…


    CAYMANKIND at its best…What a black eye for Cayman!


  72. Anonymous says:

    This absolutely ridiculous! Government needs to change this draconian law right away. the dOT is promoting Destination Weddings, what are they going to do know put a disclaimer in saying that you are welcome but you can't bring your dress unless you are prepared to bring an additional $500 for government…Asinine, absolutely, Asinine!!

  73. Anonymous says:

    How sick is that to take a bride's dress!!!

  74. Ms Piggy says:

    This makes me so embarrassing to call myself a Caymanian. This couple should receive a free honeymoon package on government's expense for the stupidity of a customs officer being so greedy for money. I think this is taking a bit too far and unfortunately, couples all over the world reading this won't ever want to marry in cayman. I trust this won't ever again to a resident much less tourist.

  75. Anonymous says:

    The money and the rules are not the problem.

    The problem is the attitude of the people at customs.

    The loss for cayman will be a lot more than 500 $.

  76. Anonymous says:

    They won't be coming back . . . .

  77. Castor says:

    The oldest defence trick in the book: Blame the victim. Oh well, just no more wedding dest6ination. Just wait until this article is picked up on the news wires.

  78. Anonymous says:

    Cayman, 1 step forward, 8 steps back. what a mess we are in.

  79. Anonymous says:

    The usual abuse of power by government officials……….same thing with immigration on visiting rollover expats that are told they can't stay longer then 2 weeks at a time. They have it coming for them, there are several lawsuits in the making!!! What an embarrassment for all of us living here!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      17:33.What an entitlement mentality by these rollover people.We give them 7,8,9yrs and still they want more.Now they want to sue us and if they don't get PR they will hate us and maybe try to give us a black eye out of spite.

  80. Anonymous says:

    What a disgrace for our tourism product!!! Let's have all the tourist pay deposits on all valuable things like cameras, dive equipment, kits surfing gear, expensive clothing, handbags etc. forxxxx sake somebody like DOT do something to address these issues ASAP. Between immigration and customs I am amazed that we still have tourist coming here. 

  81. Anonymous says:

    "Cayman Kind" – Caymanians at there true best

  82. Anonymous says:

    Are visitors expected to declare socks and underwear??? I never heard of a requirment to declare items of clothes that are not staying in the country you are visiting, with the exception of samples used by sales people.

  83. Anonymous says:

    Idiotic civil servants with no initiative!

  84. Anonymous says:

    What the !?

    Seriously? Do you want people to come here or not?

    • Anonymous says:

      No, We don't…We want Cayman for Caymanians Like it used to be..

  85. Anonymous says:

    Is this what was meant by Cayman kind?

  86. Anonymous says:

    It is time to simplify the system. Clothing imported by tourists staying in hotels and for their own use shouldbe exempt. Anyone lying should be prosecuted.

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course that would not have helped the groom to be in this case since I don't think the weddingdress was for his own use ;-). The bride did not travel with him.

  87. Anonymous says:

    I get the impression customs have made up their own rules, either that or this 'requirement' isn't in any publicy available information.  The customs form exempts …normal wearing apparel…which are reasonable for their vistit (I've paraphrased), I would have assumed that a wedding dress is reasonable for their visit if they are getting married here.

    • Anonymous says:

                       16:41. I hope that your impression is not that passengers never lie,or that    individuals are always truthful when dealing with Customs.Some people do lie and so a     process has to be put in place to insure that an item that is supposed to leave the island ,does just that .Just because someone says that they will be getting married here ,does not make it truthful;or if a passenger says that he will be taking his goods out of the country,that it will actually happen. Once these goods leave the customs hall there is no way to insure that they do not remain on island. A deposit makes it the responsibility of the passenger to prove that his goods are indeed exported.I wonder how many of the people posting on here who are so biased against Customs,would allow a customer who is a stranger, to leave their business with a valuable item and simply take him at his word that he would bring it back.I am pretty sure that he would not be allowed to leave  without  leaving a deposit.So why expect Customs to do otherwise.

  88. Anonymous says:

    WTF!  Seems a bit ridiculous that tourists coming here to get married and leave have to declare and pay a deposit on clothes that are leaving the island with them again shortly.  I strongly believe in paying Customs what is due to them  and I have always done so without fail, but word on the street is that coming through our airport/Customs Dept. is now similar to what one would expect to endure entering communist China……  

    • Anonymous says:

      He's a vistor, she's a resident on a permit.  She's living and working here. He's just trying to avoid paying duty.

  89. Anonymous says:

    Seriously? Are we the only place in the world where you have to declare what you're going to wear and produce receipts as a tourist? Absolutely ludicris!! Just when I think it's getting better….opps… here comes Stupid! I hope DOT is paying attention, considering all the money they're investing in promoting the Cayman Islands as a Wedding Destination! 

  90. Anonymous says:

    The Customs officers involved should be dismissed. End of story.

  91. Anonymous says:

    if i go to Malaysia i know i can't piss on the side of the road.. Learn the laws of the land before you travel there, dumbass..

    • Anonymous says:

      Smartass.can you be more specific  and point to the line of the tariffs Law about wedding dresses? Aha,there is none! It is a personal attire of a visitor and is duty free.

      • Anonymous says:

        16:05  Unfortunately the bride is not a visitor.The visitor is the groom ;not sure if he wears wedding dresses .If not he is not entitled to duty free allowance.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or chew gum, apparently.

    • Anonymous says:

      Come back once you have mastered basic grammar.  We might have a considerable wait.  Dumbass.

      • Anonymous says:

        You may mock the grammar ,but I am sure you understood exactly what was being said.

  92. Anonymous says:

    How AWFUL for these visitors to have had such a horrible welcome to our shores where we preach and promote CaymanKind…..this is a good example of that NOT happening…and how disturbing that the Customs Officer AND the Collector of Customs do not even seem to know the scope of the laws they are supposed to uphold, nevermind the spirit of welcoming guests to our shores.  This is an abomination and a terrible embarrassment on every level.  I wish to apologize to these guests and let them know I completely understand their never wanting to come back here.  This is NOT the Cayman that our forefathers and tourism ambassadors would have ever conceived happening in this place.  Our Department of Tourism is going to have a lot of damage control on their plates when this story goes world wide.  Thank you Customs for your lack of knowlege of your job and for costing us more in bad publicity than you could have ever legally collected in duties this year… ALL  should be the second group who should be made to attend ALL Tourim courses such as PRIDE and KYKY…..the first group being Immigration, however if you have no ability to decipher what is dutiable and what is not then there is little hope this would help you.  If Government would tax DART and other millionaires and billionaires instead of giving them concessions on EVERYTHING we would not have the outrageous Customs Duties to pay to make up the difference and maybe Customs would not be so dollar hungry and pound stupid.   Shake my @#*#*@#* head….   

    • Anonymous says:

      15:28. I guess it is a good thing that you are not the collector of Customs,because you would probably be very popular with drug smugglers as you would likely instruct your officers not to harass couples coming here to get married and not to search their luggage.Imagine a drug dealer going abroad hiring a couple to act as mules and bring in his drugs for him.He would then tell them that to avoid getting searched they only needed to tell the Customs officer that they would be getting married here.Now that is really protecting our tourism industry ,while failing to protect our borders.Brilliant strategy on your part.

  93. Anonymous says:

    Am I reading this right?


    If I intend to visit the Cayman Islands as part of a wedding Party,and bring a new dress with me  just for the occasion I have to declare it,and pay a deposit? 

    I can't believe this is true,it does not make any sense,I buy new things to look nice when I go on vacation,I have never been asked to leave a deposit just because they are new?

    please some one explain.




    • Anonymous says:

      He's a visitor, she's here on a permit working, he's bringing in the dress and should have paid duty, and declared it. The exact details are not in this story, and maybe weren't evident when written, but they appear to be now.

    • Anonymous says:

      15:20  Let me explain.  If the new outfit is to be worn by yourself as a visitor then no deposit is required.If it is intended to be worn by someone who is on island ,and then taken out of the country right after the wedding (perhaps a rented item),then a refundable deposit will be taken.This will be refunded on the day of departure  once Customs is presented with the deposit receipt and proof that the item is being taken out .If the outfit is intended for a resident and is likely to remain on island then duty will most likely be collected and is not normally refundable.However ,should you change your mind and decide to take the dress with you on departure then you may apply for a duty refund which will take a bit longer to process.To apply for your refund you would need to present the duty receipt and satisfy customs that the item is leaving with you.You will probably need to provide your foreign address so that a cheque can be mailed to you.Hope this was helpful and clarifies the process for you.

  94. Anonymous says:

    Well thats it!  We have allofficially lost our minds!  Just about EVERY govt department is now behaving in this manner.  Senior Govt officials that you would expect to know and behave better have now left their senses behind and gone tribal.  Mr Manderson its time that you start to pass down your own good work ethics to the heads of your various depts NOW! I cannot think on a single GOvt department that is functioning normally and efficiently.  Its time to get out the life rafts. This vessel is sinking!

  95. Anonymous says:

    There is nothing in the Tariff Law about wedding dresses of a passenger-visitor.  In fact, the actions of the Customs officers are illegal. A wedding dress of a visitors falls under "wearing apparel of a tourist" and is free of duty (page 223)  just like his or her personal belongings. 

    Someone have to to explain to custom officers what a word "import" means.  

    • Anonymous says:

      You forgot one word: "the normal wearing apparel…". In this case the bride didn't travel in with the dress it was her groom to be. That is surely not part of his normal wearing apparel. He was essentially bringing in a gift for a resident and failing to declare it. 

    • Anonymous says:

              15:10.Do you believe  that a wedding dress brought in by a visitor can only be worn by said visitor,or that all travellers always tell the truth? or are you willing to admit that it is  possible for a person to lie,and that it is possible for others to wear the dress?It has been said elsewhere that the bride to be was not travelling with the dress and is in fact not a tourist  but is living here and on a work permit.That means that there was a possibility that the dress would remain on island, and also this made it impossible to observe if the dress was of a comparable size as the bride to be .(For example if a couple is travelling together and the dress was a size 2 and the bride to be was more like a size 12,a customs officer would be justified in thinking that somebody was not being truthful.If it is believed that the passenger lied about exactly who the dress was for ,then it could be reasonably assumed that  the truth was not being told about the dress not staying on island.) It is now plain to see that the matter is not as cut and dried as you seem to think.

    • Anonymous says:

      15:10.You are incorrect ,this was not the wearing apparel of the groom ,who was a visitor,but rather was intended to be worn by the bride to be who is not a visitor , but a resident work permit holder.The dress would therefore more likely fall under the category of gift for a resident or ,if the dress was actually brought in at thebrides request, then it might simply be ruled to be third party  goods and liable to full duty.So unless the groom is in the habit of wearing wedding dresses it could not be classified as "wearing apparel of a tourist".Sorry.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is not illegal. You missed the word "normal wearing apparel".

  96. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I think this is a bit over the top, although I am happy to see the Customs officers finally doing their job.

    We do have a destination wedding industry and quote a dollop of discretion was needed here.  That  is the problem with front line staff — they just don't know how to use discretion when they are given their marching orders.

    I suppose the Customs Director is taking the standard position of supporting her staff, but I doubt the couple was trying to conceal the wedding dress.  I am sure they did not have it in a false bottom of the suitcase.

    Let us be reasonable in applying the law, please!


  97. Anonymous says:

    I saw this stupid and most embarrising situation coming! I posted a comment in this regard on April 27th (just 5 days ago) to Marlon regarding the CNS article "Ex-cop clamps down on drug smugglers" . I pointed out the after shock this sort of behaviour by his uncouth officers will do to tourism in these islands. I agree to uphold the law 100% BUT be polite. You don't have to be insolent and rude, just carry out the law, and stop this embarrasing behaviour, it is not "Caymanian kind" Hell No!  I have come to the conslusion not any and everbody can be put in front line for Customer Service. I often wonder just how some people can hold a job with their frozy long face and useless obnoxius behaviour. I trust some form or counselling i provided to your rude officers before this matter turns into a bigger nightmare. May God help us, banks failing and now tourism feeling the bite by rude Custom officers.

    • Anonymous says:

      What Law?? They (Customs) breaking their own laws by imposing duty on a duty free items.

    • Anonymous says:

      11:46 Your post is so true. There are so many Government Departments where front line people think that they are a blessing to creation. Immigration stands out so strong in my mind. But there are other places as well such as some Insurance Offices. When people are sick it is most distraughting to have to be insulted and go through such drama in order to get assistance. Cinico seems to be the most popular one. When an office wants to be popular they have to use intelligent, caring, polite, and educated staff at their front desk, even some beauty at times helps.

    • Anonymous says:

      14:46. I have to wonder why you were complaining about Customs clamping down on drug smugglers. Please explain what is wrong with that.

  98. Anonymous says:

    Correct me if am wrong wouldn’t a wedding dress be a personal item??? I quite sure she was taking the dress back when she was leaving……………….. so why should she need to leave a deposit ???


    Only Cayman

    • Anonymous says:

      Mmmm…not for the groom who actually brought it in, not the bride.  

    • Anonymous says:

      14:31.You say that " I quite sure she was taking the dress back when she was leaving…"   That makes you one very sharp indivddual ,just the type needed to be a customs Officer….Imagine you were not on the scene  but you are able to tell that an individual (who was not even the passenger) is honest and trustworthy.Just imagine how much more effective you would be if you were actually on the job.Now imagine a young man shows up at your Customs checkpoint with a suitcase full of guns and you say "I know your mommy and daddy and I am quite sure that you would not bring in real guns ,so I am quite sure they are all toys ".Or a customer approaching your bench and showing you a bag of white powder and you say "I  am quite sure that is baking powder" so on your way.WOW, what an officer..NOT..

  99. Anonymous says:

    Don't mess with the dress!

  100. Anonymous says:

    Welll we certainly can't let those pesky foreign visitors get one over on us. How dare she decide to get married here in Cayman and not declare her wedding dress – or her stockings, garter belt, wedding shoes, veil, etc.!! And what about her engagement ring and wedding band – did she claim that? And what about those sexy clothes for her wedding night?  If she wants to get married in this great place, she needs to pay her taxes, just like everyone else. She was obviously trying to get out of paying import duty and we all know that no Caymanian ever does that!  She was probaby planning on selling her wedding dress immediately after the wedding so that she could use the Cayman Islands to make a nice little tax-free profit, just like so many of those other foreigners. Well, missy, we're on to you. You can just go home and tell your friends that we in the Cayman Islands aren't fools. You've got to get up pretty early in the morning to pull one over on us. We'll be watching you and all those other would-be brides who want to come here and try their sneaky ways on us. Good job, Customs! You really sure showed them! And way to stick up for your people, Samantha. It shows the world that from the top down, we're not pushovers, nosiree!

  101. Anonymous says:

    I live here and it is the first I am hearing about a "wedding deposit".  Poor excuse. Your department need to use discretion.  They are obnoxious, rude and stinking attitude is making you Ms, Samantha look very bad.  While we do have some evil people on this island who tries to evade custom duties, we also have honest people who have  nothing to hide. However, upon clearing immigration who are warm and friendly, we then encounter these rude custom officers who treats everybody like criminals. 

    They also try to play smart when families of 7 are travelling and declare their $1659.02 with the supporting evidence on one declaration form.  What the officers are doing is charging the entire $1659.02 to one person and pretend as if they are smart or ignorant of the fact that all 7 in the party are allowed their $350.00 duty free allowance.  Therefore, for you wicked custom officers you very well know that your calculation should be $1327.22 CI after converting ($1659.02) and then you divide that by $350.00 (allowed duties) times 7 equates to – NO charges to the passengers.  But instead you wicked officers calculate $1327.22 less $350.00 (duties) and want one family member to pay duties of 22% of $977.22 to your department in the sum of $214.99.  How cruel!! when you bloody well knows that the party travelling is a family of 7. 

    Do you know that $214.99 can buy grocery to feed family of 7?   Learn to be kind and stop being hateful.  It is better for you to go get some training rather than expose your unkindness to returning residents and visitors.  Please post your signs up so we can all know what your rules are and do not surprise us when we arrive.  Ms. Samantha, you mean well, but some of your officers behaves as if the world is against them and they treat customers with scorn. There are plenty of us coming through those lines who are decent people and do not have anything to hide. So yes, search us but be decent when engaing with us.  If you do not have visitors or residents travelling, then the department would have to be downsized and many of you would be out of a job. You understand? 

  102. Crab Claw says:

    SMH, you could have seen this coming from in the distants, with all the enforcement chest beating going on recently, you all better start lining up to declared those laptops, tablets and phones as been export items before each flight you take as well, it is amazing the many stupid laws we have on our books when we let overzelous burecrats and the enforcement depatrments to write the laws.

  103. Anonymous says:

    This makes absolutely no sense to me.   From a visitor perspective, when the form asks if I have anything to declare, I would presume it was talking about importing something onto the island that was going to be consumed here or left here.  In a million years, I would have never known that I needed to tell Customs about something I brought from home that I would be wearing or using (dive gear, camera equipment, etc. etc) with the intent of going home with it.

    Now as a resident, I always provide information on new stuff that I have purchased abroad and pay the duty on it if it is more than $350.   So its not that I am naive about the Customs process.

    Visitors should never be treated this way.  If they are trying to smuggle in stuff to sell here, that is a different story.  But if it is personal stuff and will be taken back to their home country, don't penalize them! 



    • Anonymous says:

      He a former resident, she is a resident, still works here, leaving soon. But, now I know about the option of just paying a deposit instead of duty so long as I take stuff home with me… 

  104. Anonymous says:

    Let's see our Minister for Tourism do something with this civil servant for doing her job. 

  105. Anonymous says:

    WTF Cayman – you do like shooting yourself in the foot don't you! UNbelievable. Will be intersting to hear what the Minister of Tourism says abouth this one.

  106. Anonymous says:

    What absolue and utter hogwash – really you couldn't make this sort of thing up. All the countries in the Caribbean are trying to get a slice of the wedding market and look what we go and do. This just beggars belief and am sure will backfire on all the hardwork Ms Brown of Celebrations has done in putting the Cayman Islands on the map as a destination wedding. If this is the law, then it needs to be changed. Really.. SMH in disbelief!

  107. Anonymous says:

    The problem with front line custom officers is that they appear to operate in robot like mode (without any sense of wisdom or the ability to use discretion). This apparently is not a problem only limited to custom officers but other front line personnel in government positions as well. That problem will always occur when people without basic common sense are hired for such positions. Their inability to interpret and apply the law for the way it was intended will be evident as this case clearly highlights.

    Surely with a little bit of wisdom, any level headed, common sense custom officer would be able to decipher someone bringing in a wedding dress for the purpose of selling on island, from a visitor coming in with a dress for her own wedding.

    This incident has certainly left a bitter taste in the perception of Cayman to any visitor reading this or hearing about it, especially those that would want to come to get married here or honeymoon. Moreover Ms. Bennett's statement shows she is clearly not concerned about the negative image tourists may have of her department and that the backward mentality is sure to continue with her at the helm.

  108. Caymangrind says:

    Petty authority and common sense are often mutually exclusive concepts.

    We are in the tourism business and our immigration and customs departments need to avoid overly aggressive policing, particularly where visitors are concerned.

    Having said that, the US immigration and customs officials are universally aggressive, rude and ignorant. All the more reason for ours to be better.

  109. Anonymous says:

    Customs lack of respect for visitors and locals entering this Country is totally disgusting. I can actually imagine how awful they treated these people just because they felt they were right and doing there job. There is a proper way to treat eveyone and that is like a human being. Cayman Customs manage to get this wrong majority of the time. What's interesting is if these people stop coming they will all be unemployed. Collector of Customs I believe you all need to learn to use common sense on how to screen and deal with passenger, and pass this on to your employees as this has gotten worst since you have taken the job. 

    • Anonymous says:

      13:03.  I note that you speak of respect fot travellers but not of respect for officers of the law.Could it be that this whole incident escalated due to a lack of respect for Caymanian officers of the law by an individual who was recently rolled over? Might explain a lot.

  110. Anonymous says:

    Why would nonresidents be required to declare a wedding dress? Do they declare their flip flops and dive gear? How would a nonresident even know of the need to declare it?

  111. Anonymous says:

    I am so confused.  Can someone please clarify? The groom and bride no longer live in Cayman?  Correct?  Both of them reside in the USA and were just here for a trip and wedding vows? So, does this mean that any time a bride and groom go to Cayman get married, they have to declare the wedding attire? Why? If, as a tourist, I come in with a suitcase full of Armani suits and Prada shoes for my own wearing, do I have to declare those, too?  This seems implausible.  What makes a wedding dress different?  Is it because they may have sold the dress after they used it? So confused….

    • Anonymous says:

       12:45.The groom no longer resides,the bride does.Meaning he is a visitor,she is not.Certainly a suitcase full of a particular item suggests a commercial enterprise and should be investigated.

  112. Anonymous says:

    Im so sorry that the Hard working people in the tourism industry is being torn down by irrational decisions like this!!.. 

  113. Anonymous says:

    What a mess. I am so proud of Scott for stepping up and putting this out there. The front line staff who are in charge of following the mandate of the new head of customs are completly ill equipped and untrained. 

    The airport experience for returning residents and visitors is probably the worst in the region. 

    Immigration staffing is another issue, but now with the gift tax, having somebody wait in line 45 minutes to pay a $10 duty bill is pathetic. If watching an officer open a childs birthday present from a visiting Grandma is not bad enough, wtatching the poor cashier hand write the import form, hand write a reciept… It is painful.

    NO information is provided on the outdated customs forms handed out on the plane saying that a gift tax is required and to present a receipt, NO information is on this form stating a deposit should be made for incoming personal possessions of tourists ( yes this family used to live here, but they entered as tourists!). NO information has be deseminated in anyway to the Caymanians and residents that may have family and friends return home for a visit so we may prepare them.

    Total incompetance top to bottom at the airport customs office. 

  114. Anonymous says:

    Incidents like this will single handedly ruin our tourism industry. Out of control, over zealous officers who cannot see the larger picture are going to kill the goose that paid the golden egg.  This is an atrocity when other neighbouring islands are opening their arms to tourists who contribute to the economy. There wont be funds to pay customs officers salaries if they kill the tourism industry, how short sighted and overly bureaucratic.

  115. Anonymous says:

    While I feel sorry for this couple, I must say that this sort of "CaymanKind" service by Customs is something Caymanians go through every time they enter Cayman.

    However, in this situation, it warranted national attention. For that, I am glad it did happen.

  116. MEM says:

    Yikes, I think in certain matters they have to execute some sort of understanding. This CI$500 will cost Cayman hundreds of thousands in tourism, imagine how much that couple invested in Cayman in order to come here and hold their wedding? Absolutely disgusting decision by customs!

  117. Anonymous says:

    I have had friends who have had a similar "welcome" to the Caymun Islands.

  118. Anonymous says:

    Caymankind at its finest!

  119. Knot S Smart says:

    We need to change our advertising to:

    'Get married in the Cayman Islands but dont bring your wedding dress'…

  120. Anonymous says:

    This is a good way to promote tourism and destination weddings!! Can't a little discretion and common sense be applied sometimes at least.!!

  121. Anonymous says:

    This is a good way to promote tourism and destination weddings!! Can't a little discretion and common sense be applied sometimes at least.!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I have always admired two very good Officers over the years at the airport. Dont know their names but can describe them. There is a chubby guy that sings at so many funerals so beautifully and plays the piano. Then there is an officer whon I am told is the grandson of the late Mr Earl. Guess he is following in the footsteps of Mr Earl who was also a very reitable Custom Officer who carried out law and order in a professional way. The chip dosent fall far from the block. You would have thought that a nice guy like him would have been choosen to be the head. The Officer who behaved in such a manner should be made to apologise to the Couple and to the Caymanian people whom he so embarassed.

  122. Anonymous says:

    obviously the wedding planner dropped the ball here.  she should have informed the bride and groom of what to expect.

  123. Anonymous says:

    Typical of Customs at the airport. Lately I've noticed their officers have been on a bit of power trip. Ironically, they still let the who's-who pass through with 6 full suitcases and nothing declared, but God help us if someone smuggles in a wedding dress even though they have an outbound ticket and the likelihood of their selling the dress during their honeymoon on island is incredibly small.

    What's even worse is if you ever correct them about duty rates on specific items. One would think they'd know the duty schedules better, but I've had to bring a printed copy before just to ensure I wasn't overcharged. That of course led to a full luggage search despite my declaring items for duty in a transparent and responsible manner. Petty doesn't begin to describe some of those officers.

    They could really all do with some serious training and oversight, particularly as one of the first points of contact for tourists.

  124. Anonymous says:

    Are you kidding me?  Have they gone crazy?  I went to a conference on Marriages in the Cayman Islands and we are ranked in the top 3.  Doesn't customs realize the amount of revenue these people bring to the islands when they have invited hundreds of people to attend?  That's it!  From now on if anyone asks me where I'm from I'm picking another country! 


    • Anonymous says:

      12:06. If you do it is likely to be the one that you are really from and not Cayman.

  125. Anonymous says:

    This is absolutely ridiculous.  Someone lacks common sense and some supervisor lacks balls.

    • Anonymous says:

      "lack's balls"? Could be you're being a lot more factual than you might suspect. A lot of women hold senior ranks in customs. I ain't one of them 'cause I don't work for customs and I'm a guy, but please have some respect for women.

  126. Anonymous says:

    Kudos, Customs Department this should be fair warning to everyone, everyone should take responsibility for what they sign and declare. Take you Customs,  get us all if we choose to do wrong no exceptions.  That is why I love to watch the Austrailian Border Control and to see effective customs and immigration at its best.  For all those who will come on here crying about how it will affect tourism this is crap.  Take a look at the link about Australia and let everyone in Cayman know how bad a vigilant customs department is for Australia and how many complaints they get on TripAdvisor or how many people don't go there because their customs department is strict.

    Cayman need to return to what once made us great.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nice one. Thanks for the link.  The trolls love to jump on the bandwagon anyway they can to bring Cayman down.  Jealousy is really something.  EVERY country has their laws.  If you plan to travel learn to respect them.

  127. O says:

    Well the law is the law… I don't like some of the laws here at all, but what can you do?  If you break the law, you encourage others to break it too and then imagine a society with no respect for its laws. Perhaps we can review certan of our laws that are harsh and see how they can be conducive to circumstance that requires fair discretion.

    • Anonymous says:

      What Law? Point, please! The law says "personal attire of a visitor is  duty free"

      • Anonymous says:

        16:20.I believe the law refers to normal personal attire of a visitor.Since the groom was the visitor I sure hope that a wedding dress is not his normal personal attire.(the wife is a resident,not a visitor)

  128. Anonymous says:

    Why contact DOT? Why should rules be bent for tourist?  The US won't bend the rules if we go there and do the same thing.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is a difference. THE U.S DONT NEED US.

      • Anonymous says:

        Great so we can bend all the rules for US citiziens. Well, in that case, since I have dual citizienship, I refuse to pay taxes too.

  129. Anonymous says:

    On what basis do you have to declare goods that you taking with you when you leave?  To claim they should have known they needed to delcare their own clothes is ridiculous.  Are visitors also then required to declare their golf clubs, laptops, iphones, jewerly, etc?  Retarded.

    • Anonymous says:

       11:40.You say " Retarded." Sorry to hear that. Hope you are not discriminated against.

  130. Anonymous says:

    What a disgrace!  Where do Customs tell visitors to the island about this?  Oh, that's right, they don't.

  131. Anonymous says:

    Are you telling me that the CI Customs Department:

    1) Effectively ruined an entire Wedding Event;

    2) Effectively DESTROYED THOUSANDS of potential Tourism DOLLARS and;

    3) Effectively eliminated any desire for these people, AND THEIR MONEY, to return?


    All over a "Deposit" that would be RETURNED!!!!

    Great Job Guys; Way to use the ole' wit to "get" all of these "criminals". 

  132. Anonymous says:

    If my wife had shown up to the alter wearing that hideous thing, I would have turned and run the other way as quickly as possible.

  133. Anonymous says:

    "Deposit Policy"?

    Truly idiotic and a total waste of money.

  134. Anonymous says:

    Ok. So now are we going to start charging the tourists for the clothes they bring with them too? This is madness. Customs, this is truly embarrassing.